I have to say that I think Michael Jackson's guide is *much* better.
His (MJ's) tasting notes are excellent and (to me) his ratings far more on target.
I was so surprised by JM's ratings for Grant's Family Reserve (94), Jameson's (95) and Teacher's Highland Cream (95) , that I went and bought the latter two.
I can honestly say that neither was a patch on any of the single malts in my collection (some of which he rates in the low 70's).
So JM, Teacher's is as good as a bottle of 18YO Highland Park.
The mind boggles.
So to me, scoring out of 100 is subjective and plain silly. By all means have tasting notes and impressions, but leave it at that.
Two days ago, I was given a "Talisker Cask Strength 20yo" as a (very generous) pressie. Jim Murray scores it 95/100. The same score as the cheapie "Teachers Highland Cream" off the shelf of my local supermarket. I find this bemusing.
I have various people claiming that the Rober Parker of whisky is Jim Murray/Pacult/Michael Jackson. Who do you think has the most influence?
It was a birthday pressie to me from my father-in-law. He's not really a whisky drinker and bought it on the recommendation of Edinburgh Oddbins.
I'm not familiar with "Talisker" at all, so would be very interested to know what to expect. Any clues?
I have contemplated such matters myself, and I wonder whether Jim scores each whisky relative to the category in which it sits?
In other words, his intention is to assess and score each whisky on its own merits, RELATIVE to the category it belongs in.
So as a blend, Teachers Highland Cream scores 95, and is therefore better than a different blend (i.e. Famous Grouse, say) which scores lower.
But this doesn't necessarily mean that its score of 95 should be compared against a single malt, because single malts are scored with different criteria. I.e. only compare scores for whiskies that are in the same category as one another.
Just a thought.
i generally favor jim's intrepidness in the whisky bible though, over mj's book, which also needs a fifth edition pretty badly. by next year it will become a history rather than a guide, sadly.
as a side note, i hate it when a title is literally titled 'the bible of' something. i believe that a book earns the title rather then ostentatiously declaring itself as such.
i really wish dave broom would come out with something, his take fits mine very well.
I would probably agree with you. He rates Knappogue Castle's malt, which he worked on, as a stupendus whiskey. I don't know anyone who rates it as highly as him, although it's nice.
However, didn't he leave certain publications because he felt his impartiality was being compromised?
Anyway, who knows.
When is his website going to have anything on it? http://www.whiskybible.com
Although they're both out of 100, you aren't comparing apples with apples.
JM score is an aggregate out of four features being judged out of 25 each, i.e. nose, taste, finish, and balance. If all 4 features are poor, a whisky can easily score less than 50. (And several do!)
MJ's scores start at 50 (you get 50 just for turning up in a bottle) and go up from there.
Unless you happen to be a particular vintage of Macallan, in which case your terrible score is ignored, and replaced with "Not Scored".
I am a new member and this is my first post. I have read a lot of posts and enjoyed them all. I would like to compliment the list for the polite and friendly tone that I have encountered. I have seen many different opinions put forward, but no unpleasantness at all.
I had a hard time deciding where to post first! I chose this thread because it is through Jim Murray's book that I have come to my new appreciation of whisky. I have enjoyed whisky for a long time, particularly bourbon. I thought I didn't like scotch until I tried The Glenlivet 12 some years ago and then I thought I only liked The Glenlivet. I didn't try many others and the ones I tried I didn't like as well. Mostly because they didn't taste like The Glenlivet. I also really liked Black Bush and Bushmills 10. I mostly drank Jim Beam and Wild Turkey. I tried a lot of other comparably priced bourbons, but always came back to those. I drank some Japanese whiskies, but as they are more or less scotch inspired and I thought I didn't like scotch I didn't much care for them. It didn't help that I drank the cheap stuff. I live in Japan by the way. A friend did pour me a couple of drams of high end Japanese malt, probably Yoichi, that I really liked. It didn't taste like anything I had ever had before.
I drank beer and other spirits as well. Too much in fact. I quit drinking entirely for a little more than two years. Recently, I decided to drink agian this time in moderation. So far so good. That was about six months ago. Mostly I drank beer, but then I bought a bottle of Black Bush and then a bottle of Bushmills 10. A little Tequila and a couple of bottles of Remy Martin. I started to search the web for more info about the whiskies I liked, mostly going to the distiller's sites. Those were somewhat lacking in objectivity...
I put whisky in Amazon's search engine and out popped The Whiskey Bible 2004. I ordered it and got my copy on Dec. 30. I started reading it on the Amazon site using the 'search this book' function before it arrived. I headed straight for the liquor store. I have spent a ridiculous amount of money on whisky since then. Mostly on things that Jim Murray scored in the high eighties or above. Of course, I read the notes, too!
I have not drunk all that much since I got the book. Moderation is still the watchword. Well, during the holidays I drank quite a bit, starting early, sundown, and drinking till late, but very very slowly, around one shot per hour. Since going back to work on the 6th I have limited myself to four shots per day. I am enjoying myself immensely. I have been drinking from two to four different whiskies per day. Sometimes two to four types of whisky per day.
Not much about the book yet...
Right now, it really is the Whiskey Bible. It is the Gospel according to Murray. He is the Prophet of the Water of Life. However, I have a number of other books on the way, I have been reading your posts and some of the articles that are on line here and, more importantly, I am gaining a lot of concentrated personal experience. I have liked everything Murray recommended that I have tried so far. I haven't always agreed with his ratings. For example, the Jameson just seems like an agreeable, easy to drink whisky. Nothing to rave about.
I just counted. I have twenty different whiskies, most of which I have bought since I got the book. Plus some duplicates. All of them are light by at least a couple of shots. I have to stop buying whisky! My wallet is hemorrhaging!
Nick, I expected Jameson's Standard Blend to knock me sideways, but it didn't. I had a few drams in a bar a few months ago and enjoyed it, but I had had quite a bit of Guinness before so that wasn't a fair test... After I read Murray's tasting note I was anxious to try it again. I enjoyed it but I didn't think it was anything special. I will return to it a give it another try. I suppose that it didn't taste like Bushmills and that is what I was expecting.
Has anyone else tried it? And what did you think?
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