So… it seems you’re curious about the scores I give in my reviews. Fair enough. Taste is subjective, I hear you think, so what does it matter if I grade a whisky 1 or 5 stars? The answer is simple, it doesn’t matter whatsoever. I don’t pretend to be a Jim Murray or a Dave Broom, and my scores are as subjective as my taste buds. You may love a whisky that to me tastes like stale pond water and vice versa. But that’s the beauty of whisky, there’s something for everyone. For me that something usually involves lots of smoke and preferably a finish in a port or sherry cask. When reviewing, I try to take a whisky at face value, without letting my own predispositions influence my opinion. I mostly fail at this, so it could well be that my scores for Islay whiskies are somewhat inflated.
In short, my scores are purely based on my own inexpert opinion. But hey, here’s one benefit: at least those opinions are my own, free of any commercial pressure and influenced by no one but perhaps some drinking buddies. Lastly, I believe drinking whisky is about the overall experience, so I’ve not given sub-scores for nose, body or finish. To make giving the scores a little easier, I try to keep the following legend in mind:
Awful – Best pour it down the drain.
Underwhelming – I’ll avoid drinking this again.
Good – Wouldn’t mind owning a bottle of this.
Great – Welcome in my collection any time.
Exceptional – Must try!
Of course, if price were no issue, you would always buy the best whisky you can find. Sadly (at least for me), this is not the case. This is why I also give each whisky a value for money score. I realise each person is on a different budget, so again, these scores are meaningless. What’s affordable to one person may be well beyond what someone else is willing to pay for a bottle of whisky. Even so, I wanted to be able to give some kudos to distillers who manage to put a great but affordable product on the shelves, so here goes:
🤩 Daylight robbery
🤩🤩🤩 Fair deal
🤩🤩🤩🤩 Good value
I hope this explanation helps you to interpret my reviews. But again, taste is highly subjective, so whether you agree or disagree, be sure to leave a comment to let me know what you think of a particular whisky.