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”, their 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 38 of the 3,185 whiskies listed here would get an “A+” grade. Here’s how the scale works:
By the way, a little bit of math shows that only 6% of the whiskies I’ve scored have received 95 points or more. This proves my point that there are a lot of very good whiskies, but very few great ones.
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.
We’re humbled and proud that Whisky Magazine has named WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie as “Communicator of the Year” in the 2021 Icons of Whisky Awards! It’s only the second year that this award has been presented on the global level, and thanks to all of you for listening along with our sponsors. Without your support over the years, this wouldn’t have been possible and we are truly grateful!
If you missed last night's #HappyHourLive webcast with @springbank1828's Ranald Watson and Findlay Ross, you missed a lot – including confirmation of plans for another distillery in #Campbeltown! The on-demand replay is available now at the WhiskyCast YouTube channel, and the #podcast version will be available later this week!
@whiskyblenderdude created a special blend of @royalsalute 21-year-old to go with this special decanter design by Richard Quinn to kick off the brand's new Couture Collection. Sandy tells us about the process of creating that new blend on the next WhiskyCast #podcast!
The Whisky Fairy delivered a sample of the new @redbreastirishwhiskey PX Edition today, along with the @redbreastwhiskeyus Lustau Edition that make up the new Iberian Series! Tasting notes on the next episode! #whiskycastsponsor
The podcast version of our latest #HappyHourLive webcast with Ashley and Colby Frey of Nevada's @freyranchdistillery, actor @BethBehrs, and Gareth Howells of @DewarsAberfeldy is now available wherever you get your #podcasts, and it's our 900th episode of WhiskyCast, too!
I have lost one of my best friends, and the whisky world has lost a friend to all of us.
Peter Silver passed away overnight following a long series of illnesses…cancer, kidney disease, and in the end, it was an infection following surgery for a broken hip that took him from us.
In addition to being one of the original Malt Maniacs, Peter was a jazz trumpeter (I shot this photo during one of his band's concerts in 2011 at the legendary Blue Note jazz club in New York City) and a dentist…he was known as the "Jazz Dentist" and named his band "Blue Nitrous."
His apartments all had the nickname "Dram Central Station," and while you might need some time to search through his extensive collection of whiskies, he would gladly open and pour anything no matter whether you were a fellow connoisseur or a newcomer to whisky.
The last time I saw him, he stopped by the house a few months ago on his way to his nephew's wrestling meet nearby and brought a few vintage samples from bottles he'd collected recently. I poured him a few samples from my whiskies that he hadn't tried yet…when he left, he was optimistic about his prospects for a kidney transplant…and wanted me to stop by his place in Bayonne the next time I was going into New York.
Sadly, the pandemic has kept me from going into the city…and we never got to share another dram. I'll be pouring something special tonight from Islay in Peter's memory, and ask you to join me.
Our friends (and sponsors) at @Redbreast_US are unveiling a new expression right now! The Redbreast Iberian Series debuts with the new Pedro Ximénez Edition and joins the Lustau Edition in that range. Goes on sale in Ireland 9/27, UK/Finland/Global Travel Retail late September, and the US in November!
Ever seen a fermenter bubble like this? It's an indication of just how much #Bourbon is booming these days, and we have that story on this week's WhiskyCast podcast! Listen with your favorite #podcast app or at WhiskyCast.com
Pot stills are beautiful with their rounded curves, but there's something to be said for the beauty of a column still in its industrial design, such as this Vendome-built still at Nevada's Frey Ranch in our Whisky Photo of the Week.
I joked on Twitter the other day about wanting my whisky collection sealed for 90 years after my death…but the responses led to this question: What do you want your family to do with your whiskies when you're gone? Share your ideas, and we'll read some on the next WhiskyCast #podcast.
If you missed tonight's #HappyHourLive webcast with Colby & Ashley Frey of @FreyRanchDistillery in Nevada, actor/whisky nut @BethBehrs, and Gareth Howells of @DewarsAberfeldy, the on-demand replay is available at the WhiskyCast YouTube channel!
Join us today at 5pm NY time for this week's #HappyHourLive webcast! Spent a couple of days in Nevada this week with @freyranchdistillery 's Colby & Ashley Frey, and they'll join me on the webcast! We'll also talk with actor/whisky nut @BethBehrs about her work with @DewarsAberfeldy on protecting bee habitat! You can catch the fun on the WhiskyCast YouTube channel, our Facebook page, Twitter, and Twitch.