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Saturday, 26 September 2009

... an update on 'whiskyreviews' marks calculations

... ooo! er!
... it seems that my Marks for all the Spirits reviewed have caused some confusion with many folk.
Why score Blends as high as Malts? Why score Rums like Whiskies? Why give scores at all?

Importantly, all marks from any source are opinion, either informed or otherwise !
Marks (out of 100) essentially give an instinctive/educated snap-shot of a spirits worth.

I attach a mail from 'raytownloc' regarding this after mentioning to him in a mail that price is a factor in Spirits' assessments, but I now appreciate that I have moved from a local to global context when reviewing, ... and have altered calculations in my Scoring as a result.
For re-calibration take three marks off Blended Whiskys and Rums, and two marks off Blended Malts.
Add one mark for Cask-strength natural Whiskies.

Rating System
I think that in the end you'll find it best to keep price out of the rating system, as most wine critics who use the 100 point system tend to do, You often hear a critic say something along the lines of "I'm going to score this wine an 89, but for $100 a bottle, I think its a pass... I think that you can find 3 or 4 California Chardonays of equal or greater quality for under $40" (for example).

I think I figured it out... you are more rating the producer, than the whisky itself. To be honest, I dont know why i get so hung up on it, its just numbers, but I like everything else about your program. the people you meet and interview, the on location tastings, the insight into production and enjoyment, even your quirky little sense of humor... so I guess I should just let it go.

But my suggestion is that you think about what your ratings are trying to accomplish, and think about how your viewers might use them to make purchasing decisions. My main argument is that for example, I live in Argentina and pay 33 pesos for Teacher's, 65 pesos for Black Bottle, and 225 pesos for Highland Park 12 y.o. If I were to use your rating system exclusively, I would never see a reason to spend the 225 pesos on Highland Park.... and how I would be missing out!!!!! And why would I (theoretically) be deprived of that pleasure? Because you were scolding the distillery for adding coloring, using a bourbon bottle, or using chill filtration (which im sure is also used for the malts in the blends). See my point? In any case something to think about, but keep up the good work I'll be tuning in as long as you keep it going! Just wish I could get all the malts you can!

Re:Rating System
... you have clearly put thought and time into your message, ... thanks.
... and what you are saying does make me think more about the context of marks. They come from buying and drinking in Scotland which was fine at a local level, but now, thanks to the internet, the context is global !!!
Prices vary hugely Internationally, ... here BB is &14 and HP12, £22, when buying economically.
The drinking experience seems also influenced by altitude, heat, food diet and other stuff so a global reference will vary more than a local one.
I found that my Johnny Walker green label smelled/tasted 'different' when sailing on the Nile and sitting on the Great Wall of China, and was 'odd' when I was in Havana, Cuba.

What I will do is listen carefully to the feed-back from everyone including yourself, and cool-off on the cost factor. Also, I will focus the scores a little by giving 'Blend Marks', 'Malt Marks' and 'Rum Marks' e.t.c.

Thanks again for your time on this matter & could I use our Message as a 'whisky stuff' Blog Item ?
... ralfy

Sure use it, I'd be honored. And thats a good idea, rating blends against each other would probably yield better results... have a good one!

.... and have a 'good one' too Raytownloc.