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Discovering secret world of gin

Every once in a while, I encounter a piece of information that jars me with the realization that large pieces of the human experience are going on completely unbeknownst to me.

Such as the world of new gin.



Having finished all the reading material in the house the other night, I was reduced to reading the liquor ads on the back of slick magazines. One of the ads was for a new variety of gin. The ad, as you might expect, was filled with all sorts of accolades, including this one: “Voted the year’s best new gin.”




Those six words part the curtain and allow us to see a world we didn’t know existed.

If this product was voted the year’s best new gin, then we have learned that last year saw the invention of a number of types of gin. A competition to determine the year’s best new gin couldn’t be conducted with only one new gin – there are laws against this sort of thing, aren’t there? – and it would have been silly to have a competition involving only two new types of gin. So it’s fair to assume that 2001 saw the introduction at least three new gins.

And you went all through the year 2001 thinking that nothing at all was happening in the world of gin!

We can assume, too, that the competition to pick the best new gin is an annual affair. Otherwise, the advertising agency would have said the new product was chosen as the best new gin of the decade or the millennium or whatever.

So this means that at least three types of new gin have been rolled out every year. By now, there must be hundreds of types of gin on the market. But your purveyor of fine spirits – that’s one of my favorite lines in all of advertising – probably carries only a half dozen varieties of gin. This means that some purveyor of fine spirits somewhere – Kutztown, Pa., perhaps – carries hundreds of brands of gin that you’ve never tasted. Your mission, should you choose to accept it …

And while we’re considering the world of new gin, I wonder how we’ll get solid information on how the best new gin is selected. Do the members of the panel hold lifetime terms? Are a third of the members appointed each year? What’s the application process? What qualifications do they seek? How does an applicant find someone who will give him a strong reference concerning his ability to drink gin? Can you use these references for other jobs, or are these gin-job only references?

If all this is happening in the secret world of gin, just imagine what’s happening in all the other secret worlds. Next week, we’ll visit The Secret World of Dental Floss.

John Seelmeyer is editor of The Union, and his column appears on Saturday.


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