Producing WhiskyCast has given me the opportunity to taste some really amazing whiskies, and I’m pleased to share my tasting notes with you here. You can search my entire database of tasting notes from this page, and I hope you’ll find it useful.
My scoring system is completely subjective, and I don’t pretend that it’s anything else. I score based on my impressions of a whisky’s nose, taste, and finish. I want something discernible in all three — in other words, a whisky that noses and tastes well, but has a flat finish will score less than what I consider a well-balanced whisky that has all three elements in tune.
I’ve often been accused of being a “high scorer”, but let me explain the scale I use for assigning scores. I decided to use the same scale as the academically rigorous high school my daughters attended. While most high schools would rank any grade above 90 as an “A” and scores between 80 and 90 as a “B”, our school sets the bar higher at 93 points for an “A” and 85 points for a “B”. By the way, an “A+” is anything 97 points or higher. Using that scale, only 23 of the 1,200 whiskies listed here would get an “A+” grade. Here’s how the scale works:
Finally, please don’t take these ratings as anything more than what they are: the grade of one individual whisky lover. If you want to use them as a guide, that’s fine…but remember that everyone has his or her own sense of what a great whisky should be, and these scores are nothing more than my own academic exercise in that pursuit. There is no way to fairly compare scores and notes from different whisky critics, since each of us has our own unique sensory memories and scoring methods.
You can search by the brand name of a whisky, distillery, or a specific country using the “name” and “country” boxes only.
Scotland and the USA (and use “USA”, not “United States”) are the only countries with regional designations, and entering terms like “Speyside” or “Kentucky” in the region box will return whiskies from those regions only.
“Type” refers to the type of whisky, such as Single Malt (all countries), Blended Scotch, Bourbon, etc. “Bottler” refers to the company responsible for bottling the whisky, and official distillery bottlings are labeled as “Distiller”.
You can also enter the name of an independent bottler in this box to see results for that specific company, such as Gordon & MacPhail or Duncan Taylor.
Finally, entering a number in the “Score” field will return all whiskies with that specific score.
This week's Whisky Photo of the Week shows a part of the distilling process that's hard to see, since most distilleries cook their mash in closed mash tuns. This photo shows the inside of one of the tuns at Speyburn Distillery, and I shot it during a visit there in 2011.
Brad Halpin posted this note on the Your Voice page at the WhiskyCast web site...it's been several years since I've been to Vegas, and other than the Whisky Attic above the Freakin' Frog (which is only open by special arrangements), I don't have any good recommendations...anyone else have a suggestion?
"Mark, got a quick question. I’ll be in Las Vegas end of next week and I’m curious if you had a recommendation for where to go to try some fun and/or unusual malts at. I’m looking specifically for places that would not only carry interesting malts, but might also have a unique whisky based cocktail or two."