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The rise of AI-generated bourbon review websites

The rise of AI-generated bourbon review websites

Artificial Intelligence is everywhere in the world right now. You can’t open any news source these days without seeing an article about how they’ve found a new industry to apply it in. But we’re a bourbon review website, so why are we talking about AI? Because it’s finally creeping into the landscape here as well.

I’ll start by admitting that when ChatGPT first came out, I wanted to see how it would write a bourbon review. So I fed it all the parameters I wanted to about a particular bottle, the style of writing I wanted it to be, the length I wanted it to be and even some key words I wanted it to use. The result was a boring, flat, uninspired blob of words.

One main thing I noticed about ChatGPT’s bourbon review was that it sounded like it had no knowledge of the product it was talking about. Maybe I don’t fully understand how it works or how to make it type exactly what I want, but it seemed to pull no new information anywhere from the internet. I made the assumption that bourbon reviews would probably be safe from AI for a few more years.

An argument with an internet stranger makes me realize AI-generated bourbon reviews are already here

Last year I got into a “minor disagreement” with a rando on a local Facebook group. The person had claimed to know the Blanton’s mash bill (he said it was 68% corn, 20% rye and 12% malted barley). I asked him where he got that information from since it’s never been revealed. He sent me the following link: Blanton’s Bourbon: A Single-Barrel Whiskey From The Blanton Family.

^ Another article from the same website ^

I opened the link and my eyes instantly began to bleed. Not only did the sentence structure read like it had been translated to foreign language and back again to English, but the information was just plain wrong. Have a look for yourself:

Blanton’s Bourbon is a single-barrel bourbon whiskey produced by the Blanton family in Frankfort, Kentucky. The mash bill for Blanton’s Bourbon is not disclosed, but is thought to be around 68% corn, 20% rye, and 12% barley. The Blanton family has been in the bourbon business since the early 1800s, and they started bottling their own bourbon in 1984. Blanton’s Bourbon is aged for at least six years in new, charred oak barrels. The barrels are hand-selected by the Blanton family, and each bottle is hand-numbered.

Because of its origins, Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon is frequently regarded as the original single- barrel bourbon sold today. This bottle, labeled bottle 183, was discovered on 5 October 2013 by a man named Rick 38 at barrel number 333 in the rick number 38 garage. mashbill #2 is used in Elmer T. Lee, which is also a slightly higher rye mash (rumored 12-15%). Barrels in this Single Barrel Bourbon are made of metal rather than wood or brick. A well-balanced bourbon with just a touch of sweetness. It’s slightly thinner in texture than I expected, but it still retains a bright flavor. The author wishes the story were told in more detail, but it is enjoyable.

Is Blanton A Wheated Bourbon?

Blanton’s is a wheated bourbon, meaning that wheat is used in place of rye in the mash bill. This results in a smoother, more mellow flavor profile.

Bourbon with a slight grain is known as wheated bourbon, and it is commonly found in plain sight. It is not necessary for a distillers to mark the bourbon as wheated. Wheated bourbon, on the other hand, is frequently associated with mellow, smooth, and easy-to-drink terms. To be labeled a bourbon, a whiskey must be wheated. To get started in the bourbon world, even if it’s straight or neat, you can learn how to make wheated bourbon. When a grain is malted, it produces enzymes that are used to feed the germinating seeds and ferment them. Malted barley in the mash bill allows the wheat starches to be broken down.

Oh. My. God.

Where do I even start? For me, once I read the part about how the “Bottle” was “Discovered” “by a man named Rick 38″… “In the rick number 38 garage” is when I lost it. Who the hell was writing this crap? More importantly, who would read this and quote directly from it? Anyone in the hobby for at least 6 months should realize that every part of this “review” is wrong. It only got more insane after it calling Blanton’s a wheated bourbon after quoting the mash bill to be 68% corn, 20% rye and 12% malted barley. Even if you wanted to believe that Blanton’s was a wheated bourbon (it’s not), both statements can’t be true!

AI isn’t harmless, it could be the only source of information people read before making a decision

Ward III (or ward3) – the website that I found this information from – was crawling with thousands of articles full of nonsense. To the untrained eye, it’s easy to skim over their links and find the key words that appeal to you. But in reality the whole thing is a geared towards drawing clicks from certain bottle names and buzzwords. The meat and potatoes of the articles have no substance. Even if I didn’t know what AI was, it would still read like a robot wrote it.

Umm, are they blending together drinking bourbon and heroin use?

The problem with using AI to write articles is that it’s pulling information from other websites with no sense of context. I assume the person who owns/runs Ward III doesn’t know anything about bourbon, so they can’t fact-check the things that it’s writing. And even if you want to argue on points like “well how do you know Blanton’s isn’t wheated?” there are still so many outright false things in article that are at odds with information in that same article.

But to an AI program, which was likely told which buzzwords/keywords to include, it’s a brilliant tactic. The information doesn’t have to be right as long as it’s using the right words. This actually brings me to my next point…

Why do these articles sound so odd?

At the present time, Google reins supreme for how people look for and find their information. There might come a time when all of that changes and AI-generated search engines will take over as the dominant choice of search engines. But until then, most blog writers – including yours truly – continue to work within the parameters of unseen algorithms that determine if you’ve hit enough keywords in your reviews or if your SEO is good enough to rank higher than your competitors.

And just to answer a question you might be asking yourself: no, bloggers don’t have access to what the Google algorithm looks for. That secret is locked away better than the USA’s nuclear launch codes. But there are clues and some how-to forums that have good ideas on what your content should include and how it should look. It’s also assumed that Google’s algorithm constantly changes (perhaps every few months). This is probably so that if one website does eventually figure it out, they can’t dominate the top search results forever.

Total Wine reps eating this article up

Readability affects how highly you can rank on Google, too. But if AI-generated website articles consistently hit on other key elements needed to secure a #1 spot on Google, then their readability scores usually don’t matter much (which is usually the case).

What else does AI have in store?

At the current time, AI-generated written content is far better than audio/visual content. But don’t hold your breath that it’ll remain like this forever. There are actually some websites out there that you can enter words and it will generate (stock) video clips and even some music. The production value looks somewhat polished when it’s all said and done. How do I know this? Because my partner-in-bourbon, Mike B. has already tinkered with them! Check it out here for yourself.

These are low-budget alternatives that don’t have the same appeal as a human face, but they’re a start. And as AI “Deep Fake” videos get better and harder to distinguish between reality, the WhiskeyTuber’s out there are going to face an onslaught of content videos that they won’t be able to keep up with. Of course, those guys (and gals) will have their core audience, but I’m sure they’re finding out that the more crowded the segment becomes with videos, the less views they’ll get. After all, each person only has a finite amount of time to watch whiskey videos.

And if they get less views, they’re going to get less money which brings me to my final point…

Why is AI generated content a net negative for content creators?

I’m going to pull back the curtain just a little bit and give you the honest truth about anyone with a bourbon website or YouTube channel that has ads – we do make money from ad content (and no, we don’t get paid by distilleries). The amount of money is different for everyone and a lot of it is derived from how many people look at your content.

Another AI giveaway, it jumps around from topic to topic with no explanation why

A lot of writers and YouTuber’s started out by giving their opinions and educating the masses on the history behind the brands because they were passionate about it. I started this way myself. I didn’t care if anyone paid me to do it, I just enjoyed doing it. But when I did start getting paid (through ads) for it, it made life easier. For starters, I didn’t have to personally absorb the costs of every bottle. I also felt more at ease with dedicating more time of my free time to writing and picture-taking. I am sure this is the case with 99% of content creators out there.

But if AI moves into our space too much and begins to leech readers/viewers away from human creators – even if it was from a new enthusiast who doesn’t know any better on the source of the content – that’s one less view for our content.

Less views equals less money and that would probably make writers and YouTubers quit in droves. This vacuum of quality, human-produced content will only be replaced by more AI offering terrible content for the low fee of the cost of owning and maintaining a website URL.

The point I’m trying to make is that those content producers you like might seem seem happy right now, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stick around if the revenue dries up. As a personal anecdote, I’d probably write much less if my the ad revenue this website generates was cut off.


I know that many of you probably laughed at the Hollywood Writers and Actors strikes back in 2023. But if you looked into one of the core issues that they were fighting against, it had to do with the future of AI-generated scripts and movies.

Sure, it was great that The Fast and The Furious salvaged the movie when Paul Walker died halfway through production. If you didn’t know, they used an AI-generated face and put it onto his brother’s body. But there were much larger implications. It was a peek at the future where actors might not have to even star in a movie to be in it. AI-generated scripts might seem impossible nowadays, but when they do eventually nail the formula for summer blockbusters, thousands of writers will be out of a job.

Did you know that Jack Daniel’s is “actually classified as a rye whiskey?”

The Hollywood strikes fought for rules and regulations to all of this so now before it got out of hand. Many other job sectors that aren’t unionized might not have the luxury to fight back. Just look at how Sports Illustrated fired almost all of their staff and went to AI-generated sports articles. It’s not just a matter of “if” anymore – but a matter of “when.”

So support your local bourbon reviewers, no matter their format. Learn to spot and recognize AI-generated websites and don’t give them any more of your time scrolling through their content. There are no shortcuts in creating that magical elixir we call bourbon and there are no shortcuts in producing quality content.

A running list of all the AI-generated review websites to avoid

This website is actually not a bourbon website, but it has some bourbon articles sprinkled throughout. All articles on this website, whether they’re for people seeking healthy lifestyle tips or for bourbon, use the same article generation styles as the rest. They’re utter crap. Here’s one screenshot:

This website didn’t even bother to figure out the name of “Basil Hayden’s Master Distiller.” Probably because such a position doesn’t exist.

Bourbon Dose

The creators of Bourbon Dose did a little bit of homework. They found out that Buffalo Trace was the most searched bourbon brand, so they geared their website towards it (and a few other highly-searched bottles as well). The website is still chock full of errors though. Did you know that Benchmark Bourbon is also a wheated bourbon?

Ward 3

It’s clear to see what Ward 3 does here. They use websites designed to feed related words and terms together for what people are searching for. Then they use AI to generate articles about the topics. This lack of understanding led them to create not only Wild Turkey articles, but articles about using bourbon in Turkey recipes?! It’s so stupid, I just have to laugh.

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