Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year!


The above poster appears on the wall outside of the office of a colleague of mine.  She is a very kind lady who is an ocean of calm in a workplace that is often anything but.  She placed the poster on the wall one day simply because she liked it.  She did not know the history behind it.  I did.  

Back in 1939, the beginning of World War II cast a shadow over the lives of the British people.  The government of the day designed three posters that were intended to function to improve the morale of the citizens.  The first two posters were: "Freedom Is In Peril.  Defend It With All Your Might" and "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory." These two posters were printed in great numbers (400,00 and 800,000 copies respectively).  Moreover, they appeared everywhere in the British public.  You have to remember that in those days posters were a major form of media consumed by the public before television, whose popularity was in its infancy.

The purpose of those posters was to improve morale and also serve as a message from King George VI to his subjects.

The third poster: "Keep Calm and Carry On" was printed up too.  Specifically, the British Ministry of Information printed 2.5 million copies, with the intention of posting it everywhere, in the event of a national catastrophe.  The posters never were put on public display even though the British suffered bombs dropped from above and of course the tremendous loss of loved ones.  If that was not catastrophic enough, I am unsure what they were waiting for.  Probably the Ministry of Information simply forgot about the posters.  The war ended and nearly all the posters were used for pulp.

However, in 2000, a bookstore owner bought a box of books at a nondescript auction.  Among the books was the old war time poster, the third one, that never got posted.  The bookstore owner's spouse liked it so much, she framed it, and placed it on a wall in their bookstore.  Soon customers were asking how much it was?
















The bookstore owners printed up the posters and started selling them.  And how they sold!  Then other entrepreneurs got in the game and suddenly you see it on all manner of knickknacks. 

. . . 

"Get to the point Jason," I hear you say.  

I hear ya.  I do.  Really.

"Keep Calm and Carry On."

Really.  It resonates today, as much as it was intended to more than seventy years ago.  And, I guess that is my New Year's wish to you.  Hopefully, the New Year will be good for you.  But, if it is not, borrow some of that great British sentiment, and with dignity, persevere my friend.  Things are good and will get better.  You will encounter challenges, but keep positive, keep your head up, and you will be all right.  Every culture has some bits of wisdom worth embracing and this is one for us.













Cheers and all the best to you in the New Year!

Jason Debly

16 comments:

  1. Happy New Year Jason to you and your family!

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    1. Thank you Laurent! All the best to you.

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  2. Happy New Year Jason.

    Looking forward to reading your continued well-measured impressions from the hustings. With four blog years in tow now, your taste and perspective has perhaps changed somewhat since your earliest reviews were written. Any interest in a possible selective, ummm, retrospective ? I'd love to read of a revisiting as it were, even of re-reviews of whiskies which framed some of your earliest blog entries, written from the perspective of your current tasting experience. As my tastes have evolved and been shaped 40-ish plus years (gulp), perhaps your taste is similarly not where it once was as well. Cheers ! JK

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    1. Some of those very early scotch reviews I did on this blog kinda make me cringe but I do leave them there as a record of early impressions. I think will take your suggestion and revisit some of those early reviews. Matter of fact, I think the first will be an old favorite "Teacher's".

      Happy New Year!

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  3. Hi Jason!
    Happy New Year! And keep writting; your whisky notes are one of the many good things I expect for 2013.
    Cheers!
    Juan.

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  4. Happy New Year. Jason, have you seen this blog? http://caskstrength.blogspot.com/
    The Keep Calm and Carry On banner is indeed the basis of their logo. Good blog too. Thanks for your whisky thoughts!

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    1. I haven't seen that blog, but I will visit it soon. I find that writing for this blog takes up much of the time that normally would be spent reading others.

      Thanks for commenting.

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  5. Hi Jason, I would like to wish you and the family a Happy, Healthy and Malty 2013. Saude! Jan

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  6. KCCO Jason!
    Keep calm and chive on!!
    www.thechive.com

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  7. I'm a fellow maritimer and only recently acquired a taste for the scotch experience. Your blog has been incredibly helpful, insightful and just plain entertaining as I try to develop my palate. Thanks for the great site, and I hope you have a prosperous new year. Cheers from Port Williams, Nova Scotia.

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    1. Thanks Walrus! I do try to take the whisky review genre (if there is one) and take it in different directions with use (misuse) of literary devices (analogy, allusion, pop cultural references, etc). Glad to read that some readers get it.

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  8. Jason,

    Another year of rare quality contributions to the whisky world! Looking forward to those updated impressions of Teacher's you just teased at, at an earlier comment. I've noticed a bit of an unfortunate downgrade over the last 1-2 years. Less complex and slightly thinner tasting to me now. Still a solid buy for the $14.99 I can grab it at here.

    -Yochanan

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    1. $14.99!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a crazy steal!

      I have noticed some variance but that is understandable given the gigantic volume. Recently, it has been a little tamer, but a couple of years ago it was too rough, so I dunno. Right now I find it to be pretty good, but will review it. Have a good one, and I always appreciate your comments. Cheers!

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  9. Happy New Year Jason! We here in Western Canada enjoy your blog and before we buy a new bottle we make sure to check "Jason's" before we do. Now, I know you're not a big fan of the value behind Johnnie Walker Blue Label but I have begun to appreciate its smooth, sweet, richness and nose and I even enjoy the marketing for some reason. However, if you got past my enjoyment of Blue Label you will probably want to crucify me for this next part. My wife went all out and bought me a bottle of JW Blue Label King George V Edition for Xmas (take that quizzical expression off your face Jason!) and I'm trying to find tasting notes on it as a build up to opening the bottle some day. Have you tried it? Any thoughts on where I might find something? My wife also bought me a bottle of Mackinlay's Scotch and I'm curious if you have any thoughts on it as well? I have to say this is one of the finest scotches I have ever tasted! Wonderfully balanced smoke and sweet flavor with a long finish. These are my once or twice a year very special occasion scotches. As standards go my wallet is a big fan of JW Black Label but my palate craves Highland Park 18!

    Thanks for the entertaining blog Jason!

    Wayne

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    1. Hi Wayne!

      I must say that I agree with you with respect to the marketing campaign and beautiful packaging that Diageo (corporate owner of the Johnnie Walker brand) have produced with respect to the Blue Label. Nice bottle, nice box, love the sea green glass bottle, just dont like the price.

      Don't get me wrong. Johnnie Walker Blue Label is good scotch whisky. It is refined and certainly appeals to consumers who like the gentler flavor profiles. That said, it should be priced around $70, not $250. I would be far less critical if it was priced more reasonably.

      As for Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V edition, I have tried it and it is very impressive, as it should be for approximately $650 a bottle. The decanter, the box, everything beautifully done. As for the whisky itself, I liked it a lot and suspect that you will also as it is a gentle yet complex flavor profile. No nasty bite of mouthful of Laphroaig like peat. Nor it is overly sherried as say Macallan 18. I think King George attempts to recreate the taste of fine scotch (blended) at the time of his reign. So, it is a sort of scotch time travel machine as Diageo would have you believe. I am willing to indulge in such a fantasy and enjoy the wonderful dram so long as it is someone else paying for it.

      With respect to Highland Park 18, yes it is very good, but why not try the 15, my personal favorite and one I suspect you may enjoy even more since it is more restrained than the 18. be daring! Give the 15 a go. It's great!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Readers also benefit from your thoughts.

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