Do polar bears drink alcopops? Do gnu settle down after a hard day wandering the tundra with a fine cognac? These were the images that filled Musty's mind recently when she received a press release from some over-excited Australians, claiming that their Shiraz had been named 'Penguin wine of the year'. It turns out, in fact that the release referred to the well-known publishing house of the same name, rather than the cute little flippy-floppy water birds themselves, but it goes to show how careful one needs to be with words.

A lesson which has been utterly lost on two sets of young British parents who have decided that none of the several zillion 'proper' names on the planet are good enough for their offspring, and have named them instead after Scotch whiskies.

Macalan (sic) Paterson is unfortunate enough, but don't be surprised if the parents of young Phoebe Bunnahabhain (no really) are murdered in their beds by the unfortunate girl as soon as she's strong enough to carry a carving knife.

It could have been worse, however. If Musty ever has a child (and with the piss-poor display of masculinity available in the drinks industry it would have to be an immaculate conception), she will name them Wild Turkey if it is a boy and Black Bush if it is a girl. Why? Because they're worth it.

Something which isn't usually worth it, of course, is Cognac. Overpriced rubbish made by tweed-suited Frenchmen with mouths like a cats butt and a penchant for sodomy.

There's not much can be done about the tweedy stuff, but Cognac Frapin has hit upon a great new way to scotch the 'overpriced rubbish' tag once and for all.

Now, anyone spending just $400 on a bottle of their Extra, will receive a bottle of Frapin perfume ABSOLUTELY FREE! Let Musty repeat that - you can receive not just a bottle of booze, but also a totally unknown perfume for a little more than you'd spend on a two-hour plane flight. Bargain!

Beatrice Cointreau, MD of Frapin, and creator of the smelly stuff has said she wanted to "create a perfume which told the story of the aromatic joys of my childhood."

We can only assume that this won't include episodes such as potty training since Madame C has already thoroughly taken the piss.

And now a round of sympathetic 'aah's for Diageo please…
Come on - put your backs into it!

Oh really, you're such a cruel lot.

Even Musty's stony heart was moved by the recent news that a counterfeit batch of Johnnie Walker Blacks had been contaminated with methanol. If drunk, the company warned that the dodgy bottles would lead to "dizziness, blurred vision, vomiting and the risk of coma" and would taste strange.

So no change there then.

But Musty is seriously concerned for her fans in Diageo, she fears a plot is afoot. You don't believe her? Then try typing Smirnoff into the predictive-text function of Nokia and Samsung phones. Is it coincidence, or something more sinister, that your phone will translate your typing as the word "poisoned"? 

Yet in these uncertain times of bottle-tampering and dubious perfume, is it any wonder that sometimes our paranoia gets the better of us.

After all, it was only last week that the brand manager of Amaretto Di Saronno decided to promote his brand by pumping the smell of the liqueur through the London Underground.

It was a brilliant scheme, thwarted only slightly by the fact that panicking passengers thought that the almond smell was cyanide and tube services had to be suspended for the afternoon.

Memo to Cognac Frapin: "Don't pump the aromas of Beatrice Cointreau's childhood through the Paris metro" - it might lead to a nuclear strike on Baghdad.

If you turn off the TV and listen very carefully you can probably hear a soft tapping sound. Well, my friends, that is the sound of self-congratulatory back-slapping - and it's coming all the way from the Arctic Circle where the folk at Finlandia are thrilled at the news that James Bond has chosen to switch his brand of vodka.

Never mind that Bond is a fictional character and his opinion might, therefore, have less to do with personal taste than, say, a promise of lots of money from the Finlandia marketing budget. Or even that he doesn't ask for it by name, but just gets given it by default in an 'ice bar', the Finns are jubilant.

"Bond is associated with the best things in life," said the brand's marketing director. 'The best cars, the best women and the best vodka."
In which case, Musty would like to know why, if he's so discerning, he drank bloody Smirnoff Red for 40 years? Or is it Poisoned Red?

Alas the smugness of the Finnish booze barons is not matched throughout much of Europe, where most wine makers have had to endure a dismal 2002, with hail, mist, fog, torrential rain and, quite possibly, plagues of frogs.

Now, imagine you work for one of the countries decimated by such freak weather, and that TV screens all over Europe had been filled with images of rivers bursting their banks, vineyards being washed away and families paddling down the street in old bathtubs. It is your job to write a press release describing this biblical decimation to the press in a way that makes it look positive.

Impossible job? Not a bit of it. Here's how the Austrian Wine Marketing Board interpreted the wholesale drowning of half their population.

"Conditions for an outstanding vintage were ideal until early September… Rain and cold spells in early autumn caused some uncertainty."

Still, the floods weren't all bad news. Robert Parker, was touring the Rhone when the worst downpour struck - the subsequent floods nearly overturning his car and forcing the über-powerful wine critic to struggle through the deluge to find shelter.

"I could have taken losing all my year's crop," said one fictional Chateauneuf vigneron, "if only the flood waters had washed that bastard away as well. I'd have considered it a fair swap."

Finally, a word of warning to French, Italians, Spanish, Australians and any other non-English speakers. Please make sure that you run any important press releases by a reliable Anglophone.

Recently Musty received a press release from a very excited Riojan winery with a page of information about their new premium wine.

Now, maybe the Spanish have different tastebuds to other Europeans, but describing your wine as "balanced and tasty with sickly-sweet flavours" really isn't the best way to establish its bona fides.