This year, after years of procrastinating, I finally began to write down my thoughts on whiskey. Just shy of four months isn’t a long time, but in that time I’ve received enough comments, compliments, complaints, shares, and whatever else to make me feel like it’s been worth it. Thank you all.

In the small amount of posts I’ve published, I’ve written positive reviews, a few negative ones, and some other pieces I hope you found different and/or intriguing or, at the very least, entertaining.

At the end of the day I just want to know that I call ‘em like I see ‘em, and that I contribute things of value to the growing community of whiskey enthusiasts.

But I must be honest, I hardly know much of anything about nothing, or at least that’s the way I like to see it. I’m a student, and writing this blog is only one way I can apply (and share) what I’m always in the process of learning.

And, I wouldn’t have learned anything without the generous folks who have helped me along the way.

I’m fortunate to say that some of those folks are involved in the industry but, in reality, those who aren’t have had the largest impact. While I greatly appreciate the time those much busier than I have spent showing me around and answering my questions, I’ve learned more from those of you reading this than many of you may know.

Your comments about flavors I couldn’t place, details of history that were new to me, and questions that went beyond what I thought I knew pushed me to fill in the gaps of my own knowledge and inspired me to look at things in new ways.

The friendships I’ve made over this past year have been nothing short of stellar. And that’s what this is all about. On that note, I’ve been waiting to share something with all of you and I can’t think of a better time than now.

A few weeks ago I logged onto Facebook and actually read something worth reading. A new member of the Lexington Bourbon Society who, due to some of life’s many circumstances has yet been unable to actually attend an event or meet any members in person, wrote a long and heartfelt comment in our forum about how the collective good-nature of our members (as he’s observed over time on social media) has already had a positive impact on his life.

The gentleman wrote:

“After retiring from the Army and moving to a city in which I have never lived, I often wondered, outside of church, where my wife and I would find friends in this new chapter of our lives. The genuine kindness and good heart-ed nature displayed in the simple fellowship of social media postings and communications is such a nice alternative to the sometimes detached, too busy mentality of an arguably large portion of society. I am anxiously looking forward to getting into the swing of things and meeting you all.”

That’s an incredible comment, and we look forward to meeting you, sir, and others like you.

You see, I didn’t get into this scene years ago to become a collector, to flip bottles, or to constantly hound the people and/or corporations making the products we enjoy (or don’t) for the truth. Those things inevitably tend to happen in varying degrees over time, but I pursued a deeper interest in Bourbon and all things whiskey simply because I enjoy it, and because I have an innate desire to learn as much as I can about the the things I love.

This is why communities like ours are much greater than we often think. Sharing knowledge is what pushes us all to grow, and that growth manifests in the friendships we create based on a simple common interest shared amongst us.

As we move into the new year, let’s remember this: If we continue do what we’re supposed to do, and we do it well, it’s inevitable that our community will continue to grow. Let’s call bullshit where we need to, there’s always a time for that, but let’s first raise a glass to the knowledge we’re yet to learn, the friendships we’re yet to make, and the experiences we’re yet to have.

I’m thankful to have met so many great people in 2014, and hope to do the same in 2015. That’s what it’s all about.

Cheers to great whiskey, and all of you.

Happy New Year!