Whisky rating system header

For all our ‘Whisky of the Week’ posts, we publish a whisky rating. This is based on our own whisky rating system. There are many whisky rating systems in use. The two that we are most familiar with are those used by Jim Murray and Serge Valentin. Jim Murray publishes the annual Whisky Bible and has reviews and ratings for more than 4,500 whiskies.

Serge runs the WhiskyFun site and lists more than 8,500 reviews and ratings.  Both Serge and Jim use a 100 point scale which takes factors like nose, taste, balance, complexity and finish into account and determines a score using a formula. Whisky scores can differ by half a point in these schemes. These guys are legends and John and I are just ordinary folk that like whisky, so we wanted a simple system that could convey our impressions.

My Whisky Rating System

The great thing about any whisky is that one person may love it and another may think it ordinary. It often happens with John and me! We don’t always agree.  John prefer peaty full-bodied whiskies and I prefer sweeter Speyside whiskies. A complicated whisky rating system makes no sense for us so we came up with a simple whisky rating system.

The whisky rating is assigned based on our reaction.  It is broken down as follows:

ORDINARY if we look at each other and go “oh dear”. We usually don’t finish the glass.

GOOD when it’s enjoyable, but forgettable.  One of us sometimes doesn’t finish the glass.

VERY GOOD when it’s enjoyable and memorable and we don’t mind having another glass later in the week,

EXCELLENT when we want to pour a second and third round,

DIVINE when we both go “OMG!!” and try not to finish the bottle.

When we don’t agree on the rating, we will take an average of both our ratings.  It may make Jim and Serge cringe, but it’s good fun for us!  And at the end of each year, we look back at the EXCELLENT and DIVINE ratings and choose our favourite.   We rated 3 whiskies Divine during 2016.  The Bunnahabhain 18 yo, the Ballantines Scapa Edition and the Glenfiddich Gran Reserva. You can read about our winner for 2016 here.

In 2015 we only had a  Single Malt of the Year.