it's true, there hasn't been a maximum score neither by Jackson, Murray nor Broom. The best score I can remember was a 9 3/4 score for the ARDBEG "Provenance 1974". But the thrill remains.....The question is: Why make scores at all, why not simply tasting notes (fruity, salty, peaty etc.). The problem is that people might be put off trying the more "unknown" distillery products and everybody is hunting after Macallans, Ardbegs, Lagavulins and so on, although that's o.k. of course, but we also have to thought about the whiskies which stand in the shadows of the so called big ones.
(I hope I´m not kicked out of this forum?!)
Some whiskies are very exceptional, so they score very high, like The Macallan, Springbank, Ardbeg, Highland Park, Rosebank etc etc. Just see for your self if you taste one day an exceptional nice vintage, you will give it a high score. Believe it or not: The Macallan is still popular, even to those who think otherwise here at the forum or attacking The Macallan here, you'll find a bottle of this stuff at their cabinets....But it's still up to you, to have your own opinion about this, and about whiskies from 30Y or older who happend to be matured in an oak sherry cask for more then 30Y(The Macallan also have a 1968 vintage, matured in American Oak). But I can imagine your feelings about the tasters: that they get some kind of "popularity bonus" or what so ever....But I don't think that it will work that way.
Where ratings could become a problem is when they are given too much importance, which I see more in the wine world rather than whisky world. One would hate to have it be taken as an insult or sign of bad taste to serve someone a whisky rated only an 80. But I don't see that happening, or at least not amongst the people I associate with.
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As I keep telling beginning scotch drinkers, you need some of your own experience before you can get much out of a tasting note or a score. Your impressions may be quite different from others. Professional tasters disagree but read notes and scores from many of them to see which ones line up more closely with your own so you can use them as a guide.
Even from day to day a whisky which was the best you've ever tasted may be not so good one day and back to being excellent another day. One taste of a whisky is not enough for a rating. IMO, you must finish a bottle, over time (certainly not an evening ) before you will know it well.
Can there be a perfect whisky? I suppose but I doubt it as I like different whiskies at different times, in different moods, before or after different meals, etc.
[This message has been edited by hpulley (edited 06 March 2003).]
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