But I do not accept Sku's resignation. In fact, none of us should.
Fans have bemoaned the situation, rightfully, asking why he's throwing in the towel. They thanked him for his decade of loyal service to spirits and honest reviews. They politely asked him to rethink his decision. It was a collective mourning.
I'm taking a different path: I'm declining to accept this new reality. I've convinced myself this is like when bands "retire" but are immediately planning the comeback tour. Sku is just the Beach Boys or Black Sabbath, and he needs a couple of months to clear his head.
"Don't worry," he assured us. "I'll still post on Twitter, LA Whisky Society, and Facebook groups." Fair enough, but we need RecentEats too. If anything, he should be expanding to YouTube. If Ralfy can routinely produce 40 minute reviews of Glenlivet 12 and Elijah Craig, surely Sku can crank out a view 4 minute snapshots of Baraillon.
There's such a paucity of decent palates in whisky, let alone those honest enough to give "D" and "F" grades to garbage bottles that deserve it. Sku is a rare find, along with Serge of WhiskyFun, Ruben of WhiskyNotes, the members of the LA Whisky Society, and a few others.
In short, he doesn't use grade-inflation to kiss ass to retailers or distilleries, and he's got great taste.
Most of the others reviewers are either shameless industry shills (Drinkhacker, most of the crew at WhiskyAdvocate, and Jim Murray, to name a few); or they seem oddly afraid to give a score below 83, likely because they consider the entire grading system a "cultural construct of the patriarchy" (Chairman MAO); or just have terrible taste and don't "understand" brandy or rum.
His tasting notes are also brisk and to the point, as compared to one well-intentioned blogger who reviews every whisky at cask strength, then reduces it down to 50%, then 46%, then 40%, and provides extensive notes on every version. How tedious and overwrought!
Sku has been the leading edge of the Golden Age of Brandy, pushing K&L's fantastic Armagnacs before anyone else. He's now repeating that with rum, alerting me and others to the magic of Hampden. He's a thought leader in the cultural vanguard of spirits.
So much of what I'm doing is a poor imitation of his work, a half-assed homage.
He also trawls the TTB for new labels, alerting us to upcoming bottles. If you don't live in LA's Koreatown, his food reviews aren't particularly helpful, but hey, maybe one day I'll visit. And I've used his tips on NYC to find some great spots, like The Doughnut Plant.
Finally, he's a fantastic guy who's generously shared many samples and bottle splits with me.
So, yes, thank you Sku, for your years of service. A huge portion of what I know, I stole from you. But you can't quit. We, the whisky community, are like the President who can reject your resignation and force you to stay on. Or, perhaps we're like the cult members who won't let the Dear Leader leave and install barbed wire to keep him on the compound.
When the comeback tour happens, I'm ordering front row seats.