The author Jim Murray was accused of sexism and vulgarity in his popular annual collection of whiskey reviews, Whisky Bible.
"In the 2020 edition there are 34 references to whisky being ‘sexy’ and many more crudely comparing drinking whisky to having sex with women," Paskin tweeted, citing a series of passages from the book that liken a spirit's quality with sex and women's bodies.
Murray responded in a story in The Spirits Business, an industry trade publication, condemning the accusations as not sexist and "an attack on free thought."
"This is not a matter of alleged sexism on the trumped up charges against me — which have clearly been concocted for very clear purposes — this is an attack on the very essence of what it is to be a critic in any sphere, be it music, art, sport, wine or whisky. In other words: an attack on free thought and free speech," Murray said to the publication.
The controversy comes on the heels of the whiskey industry making a conscious effort to support inclusivity and gender equality, like The Glenlivet's Founder's Reserve advertising campaign and a number of new scholarships and initiatives aiming to bring diversity to the category.
We have reached out to several people in the industry, including Murray, for further comment. This is a developing story.