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Ridiculous ratings

rendelius
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 29-01-2013 at 16:10 pm

Ratings here get more and more useless, I think. I don`t know what people are thinking when they rate a Lagavulin 16y with 94 points, or a Laddie 10 with 89.


Yes, ratings are pretty subjective, but they should serve as orientation - and with these strangely high ratings that are given here on average, they are getting, at least in my opinion, rather useless.

Would it be possible to change the average ratings in a way that, for example, the highest and lowest 10% of rates are simply ignored? I think that something has to be done to bring the ratings back to a useful and realistic level...
MARS
Expert Senior Senior Expert
Posted on 29-01-2013 at 16:24 pm

For the bottles you are talking, I don`t think it`s really important. The average note seems acurate to me. And I think we are able to see when someone give an unrealistic rating.

That said, I have always found this lagavulin 16 years old awfull(I know, I have a bottle in my collection but it`s because I buyed 3 when I started to buy single malt). But, it is a personal taste.
And, I still wonder how it happened that I gave 91 pts to the ledaig 10 years old. But as it was blind and I tasted it twice(blind); I can`t change(as it must be accurate to my taste)!

totalatool
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 29-01-2013 at 17:28 pm

Ratings are almost always only useful relative to the rater`s own scores and his experience. Not everybody has the same rating system, nor had similar exposure.

I believe the person you are referring to may be relatively new to the experience and in that sense these rates make perfect sense to me.
Furtia
Connoisseur Connoisseur
Posted on 29-01-2013 at 21:22 pm

It is very subjective indeed, that is why freedom of rate is compulsory. I totally agree with ignoring the highest and lowest 10%, as prevention from newbies or über-subjective ratings. That`d be fair. On the contrary, there`s an easier accessibility to whisky today than 10 years ago, it is more wide-spread, new countries are in for whisky and adapt their cultural likings to whisky as well, and even fashion in taste changes too with time... i don`t know, kind of a tricky issue anyway. e.g. I would not rate Dalwhinnie 15 over 75 but I know some friends that would give it a 86. both acceptable IMHO

Mveira
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 29-01-2013 at 23:15 pm

I think Rendelius was referring to me. 


I thought they were MY ratings of the whisky, not what "everyone else" thinks of it.
But come on, ratings will always be subjective - that`s the whole point of it.
Yes, I rated Laddie 10 as 89 because from my experience that`s where I put it.... And from looking at previous ratings, it`s been rated from 81-93. A huge range of results. 

I gave Lagavulin 16 94 (didn`t Jim Murray give it 95?!) because it is one of my favourite drams. Again looking at previous ratings it has been varied including results similar to mine 

I am relatively "new" to the whisky scene, and tried to stay away from sites like these because I was worried people might be cliquey, snobby and  pretentious..... It`s a bit of shame. Oh well, not going to stop me enjoying my whisky. Cheers
tomy63
Expert Senior Senior Expert
Posted on 30-01-2013 at 00:03 am

Please don`t take Jim Murray as an example ! He also rated Ballantine`s finest 95 !
Anyway, for the whiskys rated a lot of time, the average score is always interesting and good. For the whiskys only rated once, twice or a little more we must pay attention to the members who rated them. It is easy to see all the rates posted by a member. And whiskybase is since its creation a website where whisky lovers (experts or begginners) give their own rates and notes. There are many "small Whiskyfun or Whiskynotes", but only one whiskybase.

alectron
Connoisseur Connoisseur
Posted on 30-01-2013 at 01:11 am

Unfortunately ratings themselves are as subjective as the rating system people choose to apply... and on top of that comes motivation/reasons to rate as well (there are some users that obviously rate their `own` bottlings, or stuff they sell,  highly; and that of competitors from similar distribution-regions, very low on purpose... not pretty and one has to sink pretty low to go that far).
But I`ve also seen a few users who stoic-ly apply their own rating system (i.e where 5/50 = average/decent)... which makes sense from a solitary point, but much less so if applied by or within a community as it looses its` foundation (to be even understood/make sense). 
All of this means unfortunately there is no simple solution for any of these issues, let alone all of them... and blaming/critizising a new user for documenting his own impressions can`t be the way to go as there`s always the different experiences that come into play as well.
So props for Mveira to trying and adopt the de-facto rating range, where 94 is a very very good whisky, which as you can see is very true for him.
That this will shift with experience is inevitable... just remember when you first tried a Lagavulin, or whatever it was that got you hooked on single malts and how much you enjoyed it...

More on rating systems on WB from a while back...
http://www.whiskybase.com/forum.php?g=1&p=108

c.

Remember - whisky scores and impressions are highly subjective and situational by nature - so don't go and buy whisky according to someone else's taste...
MARS
Expert Senior Senior Expert
Posted on 30-01-2013 at 12:28 pm

Personaly, I may change my rating everytime I taste a whisky! (and I change my ratings often)
Anyway, I don`t have much problem with a score of 94 points to lagavulin 16 years old.

FedeBosco
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 30-01-2013 at 13:26 pm

It`s all about personal taste. First time I had a Laga, I gave it 85. Now it`s about 90 because I understand the real "value". Also I`m a better "drinker" now wink (sorry for my bad english)

My Collection
Edwin de Lange
Expert Senior Senior Expert
Posted on 30-01-2013 at 19:45 pm

Taste and apreciation is ofcourse by definition subjective. I agree with Mars and FedeBosco that even my own taste and ratings change from time to time. Depending on mood, entourage, weather, temperature, company, it`s my experience that the taste  and experience can differ greatly!

rendelius
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 01-02-2013 at 09:53 am

Mveira, yes - I was refering to your ratings, but don`t take this as a personal attack - I have the problem with the ratings here in general, and not only since a few days. If you compare the ratings here with other sources (maltmaniacs and so on), they are substantially higher. And I find this problematic. This is why I suggested a system like they have for ski jumping and figure skating - just ignore the top and bottom x% and then calculate the average rating. This would, in my opinion, give a much more "true" picture.
But I understand that when you start rating whisky, ratings are higher than when you are more experienced. My own ratings reflect this as well happy

Malteser
Expert Senior Senior Expert
Posted on 01-02-2013 at 09:56 am



What a discussion, come on, Whisky should be fun! <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comshockedfficeshockedffice" />

Don`t take ratings too serious. The most important thing is, if YOU like the whisky and not somebody`s score. De gustibus non est disputandum!!! A rating can be a guideline, but you have to know, how the other person scores and how similar the other`s taste is. I agree there are in my opinion strange ratings and hyped whiskies on whiskybase, but for me it is not a competition.

BTW I gave the new Laddie 10 88 points and I think Laga 16 is one of the best standards, this now for years! But this is my opinion!

Edwin is absolute right, taste is changing and it depends on so many factors!

And don`t forget: Whisky should be fun!!!!

karloff
Specialist Specialist
Posted on 01-02-2013 at 12:15 pm

I`ve been drinking whisky for twenty years now and i first tasted Lagavulin 16 yrs ten years ago and it was the best single malt i have ever tasted, ten years on and hundreds of malts later it still is my favourite malt and probably always will be and i gave it 99 points and well deserved it is. I`ve always loved the peaty ones and always scored them highly. These scores are my personal records, records i can refer to in the future, now if anyone else wishes to refer to them that`s fine, if no one looks at them i really couldn`t give a toss.

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy. Tom Waits
jdoucet
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 01-02-2013 at 14:52 pm

I don`t see anything wrong with these ratings...

Before the Spirits in the Sky festival we did a blind tasting of some bottles with 25 people. We scored them and watched what happened. 1 of the bottles had a score ranging between 40 - 92. Very ashy and peaty, an assault on the senses, some people like that very much, some not at all happy
People don`t always like the same thing. Scores might mean different things to different people...
peathead
Expert Senior Senior Expert
Posted on 03-02-2013 at 00:56 am

If you want to talk about ridiculous ratings, than what about Jim Murray??  That`s why I never read his books. 

Nezzer
Expert Senior Senior Expert
Posted on 23-02-2013 at 22:05 pm

I just found this site yesterday and have been transferring my own ratings into the system. After entering about half of them I began to notice that my own rating system typically has much lower ratings than what is listed here. A good example is Octomore Edition 02.1 /2_140. I find this whisky quite horrible but understand that others find it quite good. After my rating of (20) the next lowest is (76). I could be wrong with this assumption but it seems like the rating system most people use never rate whiskies below the 50 range. If this is the case, why have the option to start with a rating of 1? Not that it really matters, but my system goes from 1 to 10. 1= Horrible, 2=unpleasant 3=don`t bother, 4=Fine but gets old, 5=Fine for solo drinking, 6=Fine to drink, 7=good whisky, 8=would like to own a bottle, 9=fantastic, and 10=purely awesome.

I have more ratings to add but I am starting to feel self conscious because I know I have brought down the ratings for scotches that have relatively few entries.

I would use a system that other people use but do not know how to quantify any given number with how much I like a whisky. I tried looking around on this site for a help guide but didn`t see anything. Perhaps a better system would incorporate adjectives next to the number. Netflix uses this system and it looks something like this. 5=loved it!, 4=great, 3=average, 2=not good, 1=hated it.

www.whiskyhead.com
alectron
Connoisseur Connoisseur
Posted on 23-02-2013 at 22:56 pm

Hi & welcome Nezzer.
I too decided to adjust my rating system when I joined WB as the de-facto system used on WB / by most, is the 100pt scale (established by Michael Jackson and many other writers who successfully  introduced many people to appreciate whisky differently over the last decades). And as you pointed out, if people just apply their own system regardless of the community they rate in, their points very soon loose what they are there for - an abstract method to describe to others how much you enjoyed something.
As posted above, here`s an old forum post on WB about rating systems:
http://www.whiskybase.com/forum.php?g=1&p=108

But I agree and most actually do, having an effective scale of 70-100pts seems a bit silly, yes, but it unifies 2 approaches, the 4x25 system (25pts for each part, usually separated as Nose/Palate/Finish/Balance) and a single point system and makes them both valid within the same scale.
Which might be why the 100pts system has developed into the standard in the whisky discussion/rating world.
And, if you give the Octomore only 20 points (and I`m not a fan btw...), then you haven`t tried many really bad whiskies... there`s some evil stuff mostly from non-scottish areas that is called whisky/whiskey on the label too... and it`s....uhm... let`s say - educational... and explains why the sub-70 range isn`t used much, but it has its` right to exist!
This actually just means a good thing for us: most whiskies available are in fact pretty good/drinkable! But there actually are quite a few once you start looking that manage to re-define the bottom of the barrel... but how often do you go looking for those ?!
Slainthe.
c.

Remember - whisky scores and impressions are highly subjective and situational by nature - so don't go and buy whisky according to someone else's taste...
M.M. Soune
Member Junior Junior Member
Posted on 24-02-2013 at 00:19 am

A great topic rendelius, and a good read of a thread.

Overall I certainly agree with the sentiments shown by several of the posters before me: that whisky is to be enjoyed and whisky ratings are highly subjective. I do however use the website when I come across a rare bottling or simply want to buy something new, as a sort of litmus test of sorts. I of course search the web (and Jim Murray for all his faults) for reviews/tastings as well but my first stop is usually here. Ratings are subjective, however if you take the tastes/preferences of the person giving the rating into account they are a good indication indeed. For example Jim Murray certainly isn`t perfect, far from it, and I definitely don`t agree with him on many of his rankings, BUT over the years and with many tastings I know that his options on certain whisky types run same with mine, and conversely some others run opposite to mine, and with that in mind I find the Whisky Bible a good guide indeed. Same with ratings here, there are several members, who are very active in tasting/rating that I know that for a give type of whisky their perference, and hence rating, will run with mine. So when I look at a rating I will often look who were the members who gave it first.

The idea with discarding the highest/lowest 10% would also result is most likely even more skewed results. To be honest as most probably know it is a long well known fact in psychological research that any extra ranking choices above 3 are pretty much useless (which is why we find that most rankings are between 70 and 90 and hardly any outside those parameters). The problem I have with ratings it that there are a lot of whiskys with no rating or just one rating, often from a member I don`t recognize, it is then that the ratings becomes a gamble (in such a case I will usually go though that members ratings and compare it to my personal opinions). Like someone mentioned, with many or even several ratings the average is a well weighted indicator. What we need is not "better", or "less ridiculous" if you will, ratings but rather we need a greater quantity of ratings for each bottling.

And on that note I have decided to put time away next weekend and update my collection and ratings on here, and I encourage and hope more members also will do so.

M. M.

MARS
Expert Senior Senior Expert
Posted on 24-02-2013 at 01:50 am

Agree with soune and alectron.
Very interesting discution here.
The main reason why most of the rating are above 70 pts is because we mainly drink drinkable whiskies. Under 50 pts are for undrikable whiskies and as alectron said we tend to avoid these whiskies(at least, I try to avoid them).
I must say taht I prefer by far drinking whiskies that are above 90pts! happy

DramWhisky
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 24-02-2013 at 03:55 am

There is a lot that can be said about Whisky Ratings.  For instance on the 100 pt scale very rarely does anyone give a very very low score, I mean how many sub 20 or sub 30 ratings are there on Whisky base?  At the same time though I am a teacher, and the only things that get grades that low are things where people never really tried.  As these distilleries do this as their business, I assume they try and but a decent bit of effort into each whisky, to the point that each whisky should be somewhat thought out.

At the same time, the problem brought up in this chat is not unique to whisky, basically anything with ratings has this issue.  For those that are having problem with some ratings on Whisky base, consider looking at some of the whiskies you feel you really know and look for people who across several of those bottles have a similar impression of those bottles as yourself.  Once you find a few of those people, look at the other bottles they have rated, and that *might* give you some indication on how you will enjoy those bottles.  Everyone has a different set of preferred tastes, all anyone can hope is to find people with similar tastes and seek their advice.

Whisky
Specialist Specialist
Posted on 24-02-2013 at 11:44 am


Although Jim Murray has sometimes some ridiculous scores, his rating system is the many whiskylovers use:

0-50. Nothing short of absolutely diabolical
51-64 nasty and well worth avoiding
65-69 very unimpressive indeed
70-74 usually drinkable but don`t expect the earth to move
75-79 average and usually pleasant though sometimes flawed
80-84 good Whisky worth trying
85-89 very good to excellent whiskies definitely worth buying
90-93 brilliant
94-97 superstar whiskies that give us the reason to live
98+. Better than anything I`ve ever tasted

Nezzer
Expert Senior Senior Expert
Posted on 24-02-2013 at 13:33 pm

Quote by Whisky


Although Jim Murray has sometimes some ridiculous scores, his rating system is the many whiskylovers use:



0-50. Nothing short of absolutely diabolical

51-64 nasty and well worth avoiding

65-69 very unimpressive indeed

70-74 usually drinkable but don`t expect the earth to move

75-79 average and usually pleasant though sometimes flawed

80-84 good Whisky worth trying

85-89 very good to excellent whiskies definitely worth buying

90-93 brilliant

94-97 superstar whiskies that give us the reason to live

98+. Better than anything I`ve ever tasted



This is super helpful. Thank you for posting a rating system that can help! And thank you to alectron for providing the link to another similar description. The system that I use can easily be adjusted to this scale and I look forward to updating my ratings accordingly.

www.whiskyhead.com
totalatool
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 24-02-2013 at 15:28 pm

@Whiskybase team: wouldn`t it be a good idea to maybe introduce a whiskybase rating guideline, so members can try to use the same rating system? I`m sure Nezzer isn`t the only one who could easily adjust ratings to a more standardised format.

DramWhisky
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 25-03-2013 at 01:51 am

Totalatool,

While that sounds like a good idea, the truth is everyone will view things horribly differently.  I.e what one person views as an average whisky, someone else might find brilliant, such is the difference in peoples tastes.  I mean Islay, sherry casks, wine casks, other weird casks, etc. all have their fans and critics, there are those that love them, hate them, or not really moved one way or another by them.  So even with a "standardized" system, everyone has different tastes so it ultimately can not be standardized.

Prodigy
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 25-03-2013 at 14:01 pm
Jim Murrays has made a living from rating whiskies, writing books and doing tastings.
That would in a way make him incompetent  as some ratings will be rated after the size of your wallet.
Whiskybase rating will give you idea how other people like it, even though many ratings will be too high or too low in your opinion.

Another possibility: don`t mind others opinion and ratings - and live a better life  happy 

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