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 32 of the 1,884 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.
Click the "Search" button to bring up a window with the various search options.
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 is the annual Islay Festival of Malt and Music, also known as Feis Ile on Islay. While we won't be on Islay for the Feis this week, we've done the next best thing.
Back in 2010, we produced 10 special episodes from Islay and Jura during the nine days of Feis Ile. Those shows have been among our most popular episodes ever, and we've decided to create a special page featuring them along with some of my photos from that week that haven't been published before. If you've never been to Islay for the Feis, here's an idea of what you're missing. If you've been there, it's a chance to rekindle some of your memories!
This holiday weekend episode of WhiskyCast is nothing to sniff at! (Pun intended!) We'll be discussing the science behind nosing whisky with Drexel University food science professor Jacob Lahne. Dr. Lahne and his colleagues have been studying how people nose whiskies, and have found that the average person generally can't tell Bourbons apart from Rye whiskies in blind nosing. In fact, they're more likely to group Bourbons and Ryes by distillery and brand than by their mash bills.
In the news, we'll have the details on Brown-Forman's brush-off of a takeover offer from Constellation Brands and an update on construction at Islay's newest distillery as the annual Islay Festival of Malt & Music gets underway (along with a preliminary rundown of exclusive Feis Ile whiskies).
You may be able to tell different styles of whiskies apart by nosing them – when you know what you’re nosing to begin with. When it comes to telling Bourbons and Rye whiskies apart in a…