Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

If you're anything like me, you watched the Oscars last night and gawked at all the stars walking down the red carpet. "Wow! Look at Charlize Theron, she has great style," you might have said during the pre-show, regarding her Christian Dior dress and the incredible bling adorning her fingers and draped around her neck. She did look amazing. And there's nothing quite like watching tens of thousands of dollars sparkle under the Hollywood spotlights. There's one very, very, very important thing to keep in mind, however, while idolizing the icons of the silver screen and their glamorous wardrobes: they didn't buy any of these things, nor do they own them. Hell, they didn't even pick them out! A stylist picked out the dress, got it on loan from the designer, and borrowed a year's salary worth of diamonds that will all be back in the jeweler's safe by sometime this afternoon.

"Wow, I wish I could own that necklace," your wife might have whispered while munching some popcorn. Well guess what? Charlize Theron said the same thing last night.

It's important to remember that most wine and spirits critics don't actually pay for the products they taste. Everything is comped 100% of the time. Of the 5,000,000 new amateurs who started reviewing wine and whisky this year, many of them are either doing so in exchange for samples directly from the brands, or trading 50ml sample vials with one another in the mail. Everyone appears to be buying and enjoying their booze, but most people I know who write about alcohol don't buy very much these days. Just like the stars you see on television don't buy clothes, they receive clothes. Actors and actresses are living, breathing, walking advertisements for brands and designer labels. Not that I have a problem with that whatsoever. If I could take photos of Charlize Theron drinking K&L single malt selections I'd be there in two seconds. If I could get Kim Kardashian to Instagram herself with a bottle of Faultline gin we'd be sold out by the end of the day. That's how the fashion industry works, and the booze industry (like I've said many times) is no different. It's all about trends, public perception, and marketing, but we all like to pretend taste is what's most important.

I tasted a lot of great products last week, but what did I actually buy? I'll tell you, and I'll continue to tell you periodically in a new column I'll be calling "Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is." I have enough free booze on my desk right now to last me until 2039, and if I really wanted to I could drink for free for the rest of my life. But that would mean drinking what's available rather than what I actually desire and I'm not enough of a cheapskate to make that sacrifice. In the fashion world, the most popular articles talk about where the stars actually shop, rather than what they wear during the awards season. So without further ado, here's what I spent my own hard-earned money on this past week:

- one bottle of Caol Ila 12 single malt whisky

- one bottle of 2009 Les Allees de Cantemerle (now sold out)

- twelve bottles of 2012 Thomas Coyne mourvedre

- two bottles of 2014 Bodegas Puelles Rioja blanco

- two bottles of 2009 Louise Brison Champagne

And a bottle of Campari, but I buy one of those every week.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll