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Past times weren't better
I agree with your remark about whisky (and many other products) in past times not being better than today's. The contrary is a cherished belief for many people, but the reality is that industrialization has improved the quality of many of the products we consume. Are some good things gone? Yes, maybe. Do *some* of the new techniques produce something that is just an imitation of the true thing? Maybe. But overall we have better hygiene, better production techniques, better quality control.

Particularly among whisky reviewers I usually find the idea that there is a decadence and they long for a time when whisky was supposedly more authentic though they don't say exactly what time was that. After some reading about whisky's history I can`t identify that golden age either, unless I look to the present.