On the sidebar menu is a listing of whisky reviews. Listed by the Distillery or Whisky-maker name, each review is just to document my personal journey and exploration. The scores represent my own personal opinion relative to other whiskies that I’ve tried. (Note: on occasion, Mike D., and perhaps other folks will post a review….this will be clearly stated to avoid any confusion). While the majority of reviews on this site are predominantly focused on Scotch Single Malt whiskies, there will be the occasional review of American bourbons and ryes, Irish whiskies, World Whiskies from India, Japan, Taiwan and other countries, a few scotch blends, the occasional “other spirit”, and even some craft beer. There will be distinct categories for the various styles or spirits to make searching easier – should you decide you want to waste enough time to go back in history.
As to the rating system, I try to follow the somewhat typical conventions for tasting practices, documenting tasting notes, and the ratings I apply. The 1-100 scale is common, so that is what I will use for rating whisky and any other spirits. For other spirits, if I assign a rating, to maintain a like-like comparison basis, it will be relative to something in the same style that I’ve tried and set as a “standard” range for the type. Beer will be rated on a 1-5 scale, including 1/2 point ratings since this is similar to an app I use to record my tastings…..yes, I’m lazy!
Please note that assigning a rating to the reviews is simply to provide a reference. As we all know, good whisky can be expensive, sometimes very expensive, but I try to rate the individual whiskies without regard to price. That being said, I will inform you in the review about the cost of the bottle, when known, so you can make up your own mind about possibly seeking out your own bottle. Finally, the rating system I am using here reflects my own personal impressions and the ratings are “relative” to other whiskies that I’ve tried; certainly there can (will) be opportunity for debate, but that is part of the fun!
Here are my definitions for the ratings:
- 95-100 = Earth Shattering – one to try at least once, even if you have to sell your first born child…okay, maybe its best not to go that far…..unless its been one of those days!
- 90-94 = Excellence in a Bottle – wonderful examples that set a standard – never turn down an opportunity to try one of these!
- 80-90 = Good to Very Good – offers a truly memorable nosing and tasting experience. Certainly worth having in your collection (or collection of experiences)!
- 75-79 = Reasonable – generally a good quality, although somewhat simple, spirit. Often there is a cost-to-quality experience factor at play with these whiskies. No major flaws or defects.
- 70-74 = Experimental Only – something to try (once?), something that is slightly different, worth trying solely as a one-off experiment. In most cases, to me it is not worth seeking out an entire bottle….or maybe not even to pour a second glass.
- Under 70 = Pass – to me, these are just not worth the effort to find or for the cost of buying a bottle or a even just a single dram.,,,and it might be smart to pass entirely, even if offered a free glass. Thankfully, I have not come across too many that fall into this category!
Admittedly, any rating system is skewed by personal preferences, but I do try to be consistent in a relative rating application. Ratings and impressions can also be affected or influenced by other outside or uncontrollable factors such as location, the type of glass used, other whiskies tasted, or simply my own personal mood at the time. Also note that some tasting notes are made in situations such as group tastings where perhaps I had less time than I might have desired, which may impact my conclusions. I do try to separate the wheat from the chaff as I go through the process, but I can’t promise you that I can eliminate everything.
When all is said and done, what a whisky scores in review really doesn’t matter beyond perhaps a general reference. Your tastes and preferences, experiences and conclusions, very likely will differ from mine…..and that is okay, no its more than okay….after all, trying new whiskies, talking about their pros and cons is all part of the fun!
So grab a glass and just enjoy yourself!