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Which expert's judgement do you trust the most?

Poll ended at Wed May 31, 2006 4:31 am

Jim Murray
Malt Maniacs
Michael Jackson/Dave Broom
Total votes: 25

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Postby cwtrotter » Mon May 01, 2006 4:31 am

I am rather new to appreciating the variences is single malt whiskies. As with cigars, I have found that "independent" reviews can have little correlation to my personal opinion when I try the product myself. However, when I look for new bottles to try, I like to have some logic behind it, so I read the reviews anyway. I have looked extensively at the Malt Maniacs site, this site, and recently, Jim Murray's "Whisky Bible." Overall ratings for Cardhu 12 yo, Dalwhinne 15 yo, and Bruichladdich XVII vary by 14 to 21 points--a huge gap amongst experts. So, if your next purchase depended on it, who would you trust the most?

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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon May 01, 2006 10:50 am

Hi CW and welcome to the forum.
The simple answer is to trust them all. Each - and many others besides - bring a unique perspective to whisk(e)y and have a wide experience in what is a complex world.
Over time I suppose, you may tend to agree more with one experts view rather than another, but that doesn't, of course, mean that contrary views are any less valid. It ultimately comes down to personal taste and interpretation of what makes a whisky good, great, excellent etc.
I wouldn't get hung up too much on points systems either. They are only an indication and even though one person marks a whisky at 95 and the other 80, it is still the same whisky - and if you like it you like it, end of story.

If I were pushed though, I think just now I'd go for Dave Broom. I get the feeling that his views are based more with the consumer in mind rather than personal opinions.

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Postby Paul A Jellis » Mon May 01, 2006 11:10 am

If I had to trust just one of them it would be Dave Broom, his tasting notes match my own closer than the others on the list.

Last choice would be Jim Murray.

Cheers, Paul

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Postby Frodo » Mon May 01, 2006 12:59 pm

My strategy when thinking about most purchases would be to get as much feedback from as many sources as possible. What I look for is what they liked and didn't like about it. I currently use the "whiskies of the world" section of this forum together with Jan's structured tasting notes under the Whisky Tasting section. I also post specific questions if I'm really stumped!

Of the professional writers, my tastes most often agree with Michael Jackson although my Whisky Companion is outdated (1998), it does give some ideas on the distillery character. I also use Dave Broom's Whisky Handbook with a fair degree of sceptisism since he doesn't seem to be able to critisise too many drams, and will start using J. Murray's Whisky Bible. The thing to remember is that all of these writers have subjective opinions about what good whisky is. It is up to the reader to get a good read on this, and find out if there is a match between the writer's tastes and thiers.

Just my $0.02.

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Postby Choochoo » Mon May 01, 2006 7:11 pm

I enjoy reading reviews from all the choices listed, but find the most agreement with the Malt Maniacs site. Generally when looking for opinions of scores for bottles I own or may purchase, I trust the views from that site more than MJ's, or JM/DB.

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Postby Muskrat Portage » Mon May 01, 2006 7:14 pm

cw trotter:

When I started, I would refer to Michael Jackson a lot before purchasing. As my knowledge base expanded and I discovered Whisky magazine I tended to lean towards Dave Broom as being similar to how I would judge whisky. So that is where my vote leans, towards lil' Dave Broom.

At present, I tend to base my choices on what I either read in the forums, especially those who are trapped in the same distribution system as I am (LCBO) or from personal recommendations. For very special aquisitions though, (ie: Glen Albyn; my first Royal Lochnagar; Port Ellen; and the CS St. Maggy),I still run it past my buddy at the local LC. He's never steered me wrong and I've acquired 90% :twisted: of my collection through him.


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Postby Scotchio » Mon May 01, 2006 7:46 pm

As some people have already said just about any recommendation from an experienced enthusiast has a fair degree of validity whether they are pro's or the lads/lasses on here. I've been more influenced lately by Murrays Bible mainly as I like the clarity of his notes and the depth of his background knowledge in assessing bottlings of each distillery on it's own merits as an example of that distillery. Haven't come accross Broom's book yet but it sounds like a worthwhile purchase. I found Jackson a valuable starting point but if i had taken his ratings on face value I would have missed out on a lot of great whisky. My beloved glenugie being very much a case in point.

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Postby lambda » Mon May 01, 2006 8:00 pm

I also look at as much sources as possible. Who exactly that source is, is not so much a concern. Sometimes I agree with someone, sometimes I do not understand his or her tasting notes at all..

So I often look at the maltmaniacs matrix, where you get at least the opinion of half a dozen enthusiasts. If 6 persons like a whisky, then there's a good chance the 7th will like it too. It is also interesting to see if there is a consensus about a score or if it is more like a "hate or or love it" kind of malt.

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Postby Mr Ellen » Mon May 01, 2006 8:18 pm

I agree with most of the previous posters. I try to gather as much and varied information as possible and currently I trust all of the writers in the poll.
Over the years I have become quite familiar with their personal tastes and I often find my personal taste goes more in harmony with Michael Jackson and Dave Broom.
When it comes to writing I find Jim Murray's Whisky Bible a pure pleasure to read. His tasting notes can reach tremendous heights and are totally unparalleled.


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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed May 03, 2006 5:54 am

When I started, I had Jackson's Companion, and figured I would never bother with anything not rated at least in the 80's. I am amused by my naive younger self.

Let's see now...if you're questioning Jackson's, Murray's, Broom's, and the MM's judgment about whisky, ought you not also question our judgment about their judgment? Any one of them (or us) can turn you on to something good; any one of us can give highest recommendation to something you will hate. Ultimately, the only person whose judgment you can trust is yourself. Likewise, only you can decide if Murray (or whoever) is a genius or an idiot, relative to your taste. Hey, we've all bought bottles we were sorry for; it's part of the game. If you don't chance it now and then, you'll miss out on a lot. So relax and get on with it.

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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Fri May 05, 2006 11:44 am

It would be close between J Murray and D Broom for me but Murray slightly shades it for me. For my simple tastes I find M Jackson a bit over elaborate for me at times :wink:

I suppose Murray has a slight advantage over his counterparts because of his highly successful Whisky Bible and the vast amount of tasting contained therein.

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Postby Di Blasi » Fri May 05, 2006 11:55 am

Jim Murray is definitely who I look to when purchasing or even just tasting something. He is the first I began with and only a few times have I not been impressed with his selection. Perhaps him being Ardbeg's #1 fan also makes me like him, as Ardbeg Ten was what made me fall in love with whisky. I do like to also hear and read about others tasting notes and favorites if we like similar things. It's just that I have gotten use to and comfortable with Jim Murray, and no one else.

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Postby Di Blasi » Fri May 05, 2006 3:02 pm

And also, I recently heard that Michael Jackson is not the only one doing his tasting notes, he's got someone else doing them, or something like that. Like a famous photographer that doesn't actually shoot the foto or handle the equipment, but has an assistant do what he's told to by the photographer. I'm sticking with Jim Murray! His suggestions are mostly right on, and his honesty and silliness is a pleasure to read!

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Postby Jan » Mon May 08, 2006 8:37 am

I usually try to read as many notes as possible.

Murray, Jackson, WM notes, forum notes, Serge Valentin & Johannes van den Heuvel etc. As whisky tasting is highly subjective I think it is best to have more than one opinion.

If really in doubt, I just ask around here :D


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