Believe only what you drunk yourself!
First of all, these are my very personal and honest views about certain whiskies. I do not try to be all objective or try to come up with how someone might like or dislike this whisky, I can only give my honest thoughts and opinions. And these may very well differ a lot from your experience and your thoughts. Guess what, taste and sensory experience are very personal. So keep in mind that my five star whisky can easily be your one star whisky or vice versa and we still both be right. I don’t think a low rating or a whisky I don’t enjoy, is of any lesser value than the ones I love. I – personally – just don’t enjoy it as much!
I love to try new things and would never turn down a drink or something else to try, keep an open mind and try to taste and experience everything you can.
I was never really happy with the scoring and giving numerical scores but then again I found myself being surprisingly constant when assigning numbers to a dram in different situations. Eventually though, after trying different numerical scores as well as a letter system, I found myself at peace with a five star rating system. It’s easy, pretty much self-explaining, you don’t have to compare certain scores and splits hairs over small differences.
To give you a feel, what a two or a four star rating means to mean, I give a description as well as an example for all categories.
One Star rating ★☆☆☆☆ : Well, it is whisky but I’m not sure if I would drink them again.
Two Star rating ★★☆☆☆: Nice Whiskies but not really my type of dram. I can definitely see others enjoy these drams quite a bit! I would drink them, if they were offered to me.
Three Star rating ★★★☆☆: Whiskies I like, recommend and drink. Most of the main bottlings from the Islay distilleries fall under this category as do many others. Examples include Laphroaig 10, Kilchoman Machir Bay as well as Glenmorangie 10
Four Star rating ★★★★☆: Whiskies I really like! Hitting all my soft spots. Typical examples range from early Kilchoman Loch Gorm releases to Highland Park 18 or older Ardbeg TEN releases.
Five Star rating ★★★★★: Whiskies I love! Exceptionally good whiskies, likely cask strength Islay from a wine cask. Examples include Meteorite – A Port Charlotte bottled for Ralfy.com, all of the Kilchoman Club Releases as well as a 2006 Sherry Cask Laphroaig bottled for Cooper’s Choice.
Hall of Fame (HoF) rating: Incredible, the best of the best for me, really special drams and way above all others.
Even though a certain whisky has a lower score than another, I might find myself longing for the lower scored whisky because in certain situations, I feel rather attracted by that one. That is especially true across the borders of whisky, hence my scores for Scotch, American and World Whiskies are not really comparable against each other. The reason for that is that I look for different things in different whiskies, one of the best examples would be the light fruitiness of tripple distilled Irish whiskies. If I reach for an Irish Whisky, I expect these kind of notes. For whatever reasons I usually don’t really like them in Scotch. I know, weird me but that’s how it is…
I hope that helped you a bit to understand my ratings. Let me know if you have any questions, want to know more or just totally disagree with what I said.
When I started writing reviews, I wrote down my thoughts on reviews and scores. Even though it is from 2015, it is still relevant. You can find it here.