I’m taking advantage of my down time with a head/chest cold to do some non-drinking whisky enthusiast activities. In this post, I want to point out my new Ratings Spreadsheet link in the side bar, which points to a Google Docs spreadsheet containing my ratings history. The spreadsheet lists the classification, numeric score and grade for each expression I’ve rated, along with a link to the blog post where I provided my tasting notes.
Why do ratings?
The whole point of the ratings is to help articulate my enjoyment of a particular whisky, both on a “good/bad” scale, and relative to others that I’ve tried. I don’t fancy myself a whisky “expert”, and I don’t believe there is such thing as a “universal” rating for whisky expressions that will apply to everybody. You need to understand the tastes and history of the person providing the scores for them to be useful. I talked more about this in a previous post on rating whiskies (and in the comments for that post).
About the spreadsheet
I created this spreadsheet as a convenient index for looking up previous reviews and scanning my ratings. The whiskies are ordered by Distillery and Age. If you’re so inclined, you can create your own Google Docs copy (if you have an account), or download to Excel (File | Download as…) to change the sort order. A little more info on some of the columns:
- Classification: This is a distillery classification from Whisky Classified: Choosing Single Malts by Flavour, David Wishart, Pavilion Books, London 2002. On the web, here. The idea is to group distilleries based on similar traits in their whiskies. In some cases, I filled in a different Classification than is associated with the distillery. I’ve marked these with an “*”. An example would be a peated expression from a typically non-peated distillery.
- Rating: This is the numeric rating that I gave to the expression in a blog post on a 0 to 100 scale. I discussed the scale in this previous ratings blog post.
- Grade: This is a less specific rating than the numeric one. If I only try a small sample of a whisky and don’t feel comfortable giving a specific numeric score, I’ll use this broader rating only.
- Blog Link: Note that if you click on this cell in Google Docs, you’ll get a link indicator on the left side of the cell that will take you to that blog entry.
Between the time I posted the spreadsheet and got to this point in the blog post (less than a day), I got caught in the cross-hairs of this Dr. Whisky blog entry (I do like his blog…you should check it out if you haven’t already). Therefore, I feel compelled to sneak some time on my lunch break, finish this post, and once again point out that I’m not publishing this spreadsheet as a “whisky expert.” I’m one of an increasing number of whisky enthusiasts taking advantage of blogging software to share a passion for whisky, and the processes and history behind its making.
[Update: Ok, maybe the good Dr. wasn't picking on my ratings, so much as just making the same point I just did...that there are a lot of folks on the web with opinions about whisky. It's kind of cool that he's aware of a bunch of us amateur enthusiasts, actually.]
Providing a grade for the whiskies I drink is a personal choice, and just a small component of what I’m trying to share on this blog. If you’ve decided to follow my posts, and you’ve discovered a consistent similarity or disparity between my preferences and yours, perhaps these ratings will help point out other whisky expressions that would appeal to you. I’d certainly encourage you to do additional research (check out my Whisky Resources page), or take a leap and try new expressions as part of your own discovery.
Oh, and if you accidentally stumbled upon my ratings list in search of a mythical “matrix” of whisky ratings by the closest thing there is to whisky experts, the least I can do is help you on your quest. Follow this link and hit the yellow or red “MM” buttons.Cheers, Jeff