My review philosophy is that I expect to like every whiskey I try until proven otherwise. The world of whiskey is diverse, interesting, and delicious, and each whiskey deserves a fair evaluation. You can expect receive my honest opinion and rating, but there is no guarantee that you will agree, and that’s ok.
Just like everyone else, I have my own preferences that are no better or worse than anyone else’s. While I like every style of whiskey, I tend to prefer those with stronger and more pronounced flavors, often, but not always, coming from a higher proof. I don’t mind the smell or taste of alcohol, and greatly enjoy smoke and peat that can be found in scotch. With food, I prefer spice, heat, and other stronger flavors such as from Sichuan, Ethiopian, and Korean cuisine where there are numerous bold and contrasting tastes. I almost always want more smells and tastes. Some may find these senses overwhelming, but I love it. Regardless of the whiskey, I will do my best to provide detailed and valuable details for your understanding and enjoyment.
My rating system is based on the whiskey’s taste, smell, and the other sensory attributes. Taste is the by far the most important factor for me. Ultimately, I have to drink the whiskey, and nothing can redeem a bad tasting whiskey no matter how good it smells. While price is a factor, everyone’s budget, perception of “value”, and retail prices in your area are different, so I can’t tell you if something is a good “value”.
There are five tiers to this system:
– The Glass Case (★★★★★): A truly exceptional whiskey with flawless smell and taste that should be treasured, savored, and shared with your closest friends. It makes me say, “wow, this is one of the the best drinks I’ve ever had”. Very few whiskeys will ever receive this rating.
– Top Shelf (★★★★): A great whiskey worth buying, with standout smells and flavors, but with some small flaws. It makes me say, “wow this is amazing”. Many of my favorite whiskeys fall into this category.
– Mid Shelf (★★★): A solid whiskey with good qualities, but lacks standout traits that makes it interesting. It also has significant flaws that detract from the overall experience. It makes me say, “this is pretty good”.
– Bottom Shelf (★★): A not very good, but drinkable whiskey. It has one or two positive traits, but significantly more flaws, especially with taste.
– Don’t Even Put On the Shelf (★): A bad whiskey not worth drinking. There is nothing good about it. Your money will be better spent elsewhere.
– In addition, the use of “+” is equivalent to 1/2 a star