“Stories of sexist remarks, sexual comments and instances of inappropriate behavior from consumers are often spoken about among people in the industry, but always behind closed doors,” Ms. Paskin said. “Now some women are feeling empowered to talk about their experiences publicly.”
Ms. Paskin, 37, who helped found an organization called Our Whisky, dedicated to making the industry more inclusive, said she wasn’t planning to go after Mr. Murray when she got a call from Mr. Schrieberg on Sept 17. He had seen one of the reviews from the latest edition of the “Whisky Bible,” in which Mr. Murray used overtly sexual language to describe an Indian whiskey — “The end of the experience is like after you have just made love and you are unable to speak” — which struck him as odd. He got an electronic copy of the book and began to search through it.
“I hit control-F for ‘woman,’ and all of a sudden I could see, he does this a lot,” Mr. Schrieberg said. Together with Ms. Paskin, he documented scores of similar references, many comparing whiskey to women, often in sexual terms.
“If whisky could be sexed, this would be a woman,” Mr. Murray wrote in his 2021 edition about a single-malt Scotch made by Glenmorangie. “Every time I encounter Morangie Artisan, it pops up with a new look, a different perfume. And mood. It appears not to be able to make up its mind. But does it know how to pout, seduce and win your heart …? Oh yes.”
Describing a bottle from the Famous Grouse, a blended Scotch, also in the 2021 edition, he wrote, “The texture is silk normally found on the most expensive lingerie, and as sexy as who you might find inside it.”
In addition to Beam Suntory, three other global spirits companies, Bacardi, Pernod Ricard and Diageo, quickly released statements distancing themselves from Mr. Murray’s book. The Scotch Whisky Association, the trade body that oversees the Scottish whiskey industry, released a statement calling Mr. Murray’s language “offensive.”