Why my Bottles are (Almost) Never Full

Scotch CollectionIf you peruse through my reviews (that sounded cool, right?) you’ll notice that a lot of my images show bottles that are opened; sometimes with one drink vacant, sometimes completely vacant except for one drink.  There are reasons for that.

First and foremost, I like my blog photos to be real.  Oftentimes when I’m searching through other whiskey review blogs (and yes, I do that quite often), I’ll notice that the reviewer just took the bottle shot straight from the distiller’s website or good old Google images.  Certainly not an arrestable offense, but it gets me thinking.  It brings up the question of authenticity.  Did the reviewer even buy a bottle of the whiskey in question, or did he have a sip at the bar and decide to write the review?  This is a wild allegation I’m sure, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t cross my mind.

Now, let’s pretend that the blogger in question did in fact pick up a bottle.  Why didn’t they take a picture?  I think that having your own picture of the whiskey you are reviewing makes it a little more your own rather that just some words on a website.

Okay, so clearly I like pretty pictures.  Aside from that, why are my bottles (almost) never full?  The best answer that I can come up with is because I drink them.  Plain and simple.  Whiskey is meant to be drunk, and anybody showcasing a picture of an unopened bottle is showing me that they are collecting – which is fine; to each their own.  Just not my thing.

As I’ve gotten deeper and deeper into my personal obsession with whiskey, I have come to learn that it is a living thing.  It is intended to be analyzed and spoken about but most importantly it is meant to be enjoyed.  Anybody who “collects” whiskey is missing out on the most fundamental part of its existence.

So bloggers – take pictures of your bottles.  Make sure you crack it open and let it breathe with you.  Your whiskey is getting lonely without you.




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  1. I object! (just a little, don’t worry) Most of my photos are of unopened bottles. I take the pretty pictures during the day when the lighting is good, usually shortly after I bring a bottle home, that way I’ve got a nice pic ready to go when I want to do the review (which is, of course, after I have opened and had some to drink). And I also think that unopened bottle pictures look prettier than ones that are partly empty. Then I do miss out on some “bottle with dram in glass” pics, but mine never turn out well because the lighting is no good at night when I pour a dram.

    So, yeah, I know that wasn’t really the main point of your post, but I had to stand up a little for us un-opened-bottle-picture-takers. 😉

      • Ryan on February 16, 2012 at 8:00 am

      I had a feeling you would object (a little)! I also take my bottle shots during the day. I guess your situation is a little different since a lot of your pictures are of miniatures and it’s tough to take a drink out of those without killing the whole thing.


    • Tom K. on February 18, 2012 at 1:15 am

    For the handful of reviews I’ve done, I’ve generally used an image from the distillery, since they take much prettier pictures than I do.

      • Ryan on February 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      C’mon Tom – I bet you can pull out your camera phone and snap an interesting picture! I’d rather see a grainy picture that is unique to you and your experience than a copy-and-pasted photo!


  2. I’m with you Ryan. I like to see real bottles, with real drinks taken out of them. When I review I do the same. I like to see old bottles, interesting bottles, label detail shots, liquor color shots… The only time I use factor shots is when I have… ahem… misplaced the bottle before I bother to get a shot of it…

      • Ryan on February 21, 2012 at 7:57 am

      Here we go – I’ve got one with me! I really like the pictures on your blog, Josh. It shows that you, in fact, drink your whiskey. Thanks for the comment!


  3. I do all my own photography on my blog, but the opened bottle isn’t always a shot i use – mainly for the same reasons that the other ryan states above. however, whenever i try a dram that i don’t own, i almost always resort to the “bottle in hand” shot, if the bar/tasting session/owner of the bottle will let me.

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