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.
Just finished updating the Calendar of Events at the WhiskyCast web site with a bunch of festivals and events for 2016, and have to admit that I'm going to feel sorry for people who will have to pick and choose about which events to attend (as well as the brand reps and ambassadors who have to make the same decisions).
Here's one example for the first week of March:
March 2: Whisky Advocate has its debut WhiskyFest in Washington, DC,
March 5: Whisky Live is also in Washington, DC,
March 2-5: Universal Whisky Experience "The Nth" in Las Vegas.
If you're in the DC area and can only afford tickets for one show, which one do you pick? Same thing if you're a brand that has to cover the costs of exhibiting at one or both...and was planning to have your people at the Vegas event as well.
If you're tired of rising whisky prices and looking for a suitable alternative, we may have an answer for you on this week's WhiskyCast. For the first time since 2007, we'll look at something besides whiskies...but it's the same spirit we looked at that year! We'll talk Armagnacs with Florence Castarède of France's Armagnac Castarède on WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, Sazerac plans to revive the Michael Collins Irish Whiskey brand, Glenmorangie and Utah's High West are sharing the name of a whisky, and what would you do if you had $125,000 to spend on a whisky gift for the holidays? Neiman Marcus has an expensive answer!