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Tasting Notes - Does Anyone do these anymore?

Ganga
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 19-09-2018 at 20:07 pm

I was looking for tasting notes on a particular bottle (https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/114131/port-charlotte-2002-whb) and there are ratings but no tasting notes.  Is this becoming the trend?  We give it a score but have nothing to say?

Take this whisky for example: https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/4128/dunglass-1967-mi .  Notice that there are notes for the two low scores but nothing for the higher ones.  At least you can understand why Mikey and I rated it low. I have no idea about the high scores.  Did we get a contaminated bottle?  Is there something else behind the rating of the others?  At least you have some basis to evaluate what the two of us thought.

I have found that ratings don't mean much unless you know the person (personally) and how they rate.  Otherwise you need to have some tasting notes (not sales pitch) to make some decisions for yourself.  

I'd love to hear from everyone.


lincolnimp
Connoisseur Connoisseur
Posted on 19-09-2018 at 23:37 pm

I think that some of the bottles on the base that have say 20 rates but no notes , many of the scores must be from whisky events and tastings so only a score is given, difficult to do notes on the hoof?

I agree with all your comments, it is just a number without words unless you know the person.

My 95 may be someone else's 85, without a few words it is difficult to gauge.

dram_on
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 20-09-2018 at 02:54 am

I added both scores and notes for the last 15 bottles of whisky that I opened, and plan to do the same for every future bottle I open. I opened the bulk of these during the 2nd half of last year, which saw my hobby start it's 3rd year. I reviewed much less often during my noob years as I didn't feel comfortable doing so, but since then, I've killed off enough bottles to feel more confident in my notes.


For my last few bottle purchases, I looked at not only just the available notes and average scores, but I also looked at the users that scored when using Whiskybase. In general, I look for a good reason NOT to buy. In particular, I look for those with a Junior Expert ranking or above. I look to see what else they've scored and provided notes for to see if their taste is anything like mine. It also helps my research if I see a bottle that I've killed in their list.

If I see that this user is consistently giving out low or high scores, especially for a particular distillery (or for a number of distilleries) or without a note, then I remove them from consideration. If I see that this user has no bottle kills (or very few) and a bunch of unopened bottles, then I remove them from consideration. It also helps if this user is a regular on the message boards here. If there are no notes or scores for a particular bottle here on WB, I then look at other sources to confirm that I won't be buying the bottle I'm looking at.

peatbogger
Specialist Specialist
Posted on 20-09-2018 at 03:01 am

Yup, just been having the same frustrating experience a couple of hours ago.

Picked out a dozen bottles I found interesting and wanted to check out what people have to say about.

Anywhere from 3 to 20 rates, but not a single tasting note on any of them.

Even 20 rates with an average of 85 becomes meaningless when you look at the individual ranging from 96 to 60.

I gave up, figured the only way to find out was to try them and ended up ordering all 12 happy

Might take some time, but I'll make sure they get my tasting notes.

 

  Edited on 20-09-2018 at 03:04 am
Ganga
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 20-09-2018 at 06:09 am

Cheers to all the replies.  I am trying to add notes as I can.  I am pretty sure that the Port Charlotte I listed never showed up at a show as it was a Spirit of Islay private bottling.  I am also pretty sure that some of the folks that rated it were cask share owners.  I also know a couple of cask share owners but really haven't gotten a chance to see tasting notes on it.


And thanks in advance for all the tasting notes you will be adding in the future.



peatbogger
Specialist Specialist
Posted on 20-09-2018 at 08:27 am
Ganga wrote:

I am also pretty sure that some of the folks that rated it were cask share owners.


Pretty sure that is the case, as I noticed 3-4 members with 10 bottles each.

That just make it even more difficult, as being a (part) cask owner most likely carry at least a little bit of bias.



praisethepasta
Expert Senior Senior Expert
Posted on 20-09-2018 at 11:23 am

I think that some of the bottles on the base that have say 20 rates but no notes , many of the scores must be from whisky events and tastings so only a score is given, difficult to do notes on the hoof?

I agree with all your comments, it is just a number without words unless you know the person.

My 95 may be someone else's 85, without a few words it is difficult to gauge.


I'm with you on that. scores without comments are pretty useless. I've pleated before that some sort of consistency in how to give points as a general guideline, wouldn't hurt this community. For me, the really good bottles start from 85 and up, but for others, anything above 70 might well be considered 'the good stuff'

  Edited on 20-09-2018 at 11:40 am
The turtle moves My Collection
Ganga
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 21-09-2018 at 08:11 am

Yes, I got my hands on a bottle of the SOI PC 15.  So here goes....


Nose: leathery sweetness, hints of cedar, cinnamon buns

Palate: there's a hint of sulfur (not sulfate, rubber, or other but really sulfur), cedar (very fresh), cinnamon, leather

Finish: not overly hot,  it lingers a long time a drifts towards cedar

This is great.  The sulfur is just a touch and is really an interesting note.  It also doesn't linger.  It disappears as you let the glass sit.  Little strong to say elegant but it is well balanced.  92.

tomjcollins85
Expert Senior Senior Expert
Posted on 21-09-2018 at 18:24 pm

You know it's quite interesting. I wrote some notes the other day on a 27 yo Clynelish (sherry cask), and I removed them two days later, as my second session with it it was significantly different. I know some people post additional notes as they go along (and that's probably a better way to do it), but there's probably quite a few people who want to see their bottle through, first.


So I can fully understand some of the more recent bottling having initial scores but without tasting notes.


With that said, when I see ratings in the 95-100 region, I find it impossible that the drinker should be unable to think of a few words to say about the drink!


I tend to to look for the large group of pink and red (ratings), and I'm more interesting in H2H's these days.

dram_on
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 22-09-2018 at 07:44 am

With that said, when I see ratings in the 95-100 region, I find it impossible that the drinker should be unable to think of a few words to say about the drink!

I tend to to look for the large group of pink and red (ratings), and I'm more interesting in H2H's these days.


I totally agree. Those whiskies with scores at either extreme should have at least a few words to explain the score.

I mainly go for whiskies in the 80s range nowadays, and I'm sure there are others like this...some whiskies will positively surprise to the upside and inch into the low 90s.

Likewise, I'm more interested in doing H2H as that's when you can experience the intricacies between distilleries, especially those from the same region.

whiskgeek
Member Senior Senior Member
Posted on 29-09-2018 at 02:30 am

I'm a man of few words, I guess. I can seldom come up with the words to do a review justice. I have trouble putting a name on flavors, and my nose isn't all that well developed. So while I often jot down some thoughts, I seldom write a whole review.

Slàinte Mhath
Administrator Administrator
Posted on 29-09-2018 at 08:44 am

I think everyone has a slightly different approach here. I have only reviewed some 100+ whiskies in depth although I tasted more than 500+ in recent years. That is, because I only review malts that I have tasted at least 2-3 times to avoid getting a wrong first impression. Some reviewers follow the idea 'the more the better', skip writing notes and just dish out a score.

I agree with most of the posts above that these scores alone are of very limited use when you try to make a purchase decision. Do I want to rely on a score of someone I do not know, who might have given this score in a bar after a brief taste of a 2 cl dram from a bottle that has been sitting on the shelf for years? Probably not. However, 20 ratings with no notes are still better than no scores at all. In these cases, as probably most of you do, I check additional sources like whiskyfun to get some supporting pro's or con's for my purchase decision.

-Slainte

“There is no such thing as bad whisky. Some whiskies just happen to be better than others.” (W. Faulkner)
lincolnimp
Connoisseur Connoisseur
Posted on 29-09-2018 at 10:30 am

I'm a man of few words, I guess. I can seldom come up with the words to do a review justice. I have trouble putting a name on flavors, and my nose isn't all that well developed. So while I often jot down some thoughts, I seldom write a whole review.


There are times I cannot write a lot, it just does not come to me, others I can write more but actually sometimes less is more in my view when doing a tasting note.

Some notes on here can be very long indeed but you take what you need from each note etc.

Personally a couple of lines is good for me just something to back up the score like `great mouthfeel, no off notes, nice fruity finish, that sort of thing.

I look for certain descriptors that I can identify with, certain aspects of flavour that I like when reading notes, it certainly does not have to be War and Peace, the point I am trying to make is any contribution, just a few words is much appreciated by the likes of me as it puts some meat on the bones helping me to decide if I would like that whisky.

I am writing less these days and do not write about every whisky I taste, I feel like I am repeating myself, much of the time but if I taste a whisky that has no notes I always will try to put something down.

karloff
Specialist Specialist
Posted on 29-09-2018 at 14:00 pm

I'm a man of few words, I guess. I can seldom come up with the words to do a review justice. I have trouble putting a name on flavors, and my nose isn't all that well developed. So while I often jot down some thoughts, I seldom write a whole review.


There are times I cannot write a lot, it just does not come to me, others I can write more but actually sometimes less is more in my view when doing a tasting note.

Some notes on here can be very long indeed but you take what you need from each note etc.

Personally a couple of lines is good for me just something to back up the score like `great mouthfeel, no off notes, nice fruity finish, that sort of thing.

I look for certain descriptors that I can identify with, certain aspects of flavour that I like when reading notes, it certainly does not have to be War and Peace, the point I am trying to make is any contribution, just a few words is much appreciated by the likes of me as it puts some meat on the bones helping me to decide if I would like that whisky.

I am writing less these days and do not write about every whisky I taste, I feel like I am repeating myself, much of the time but if I taste a whisky that has no notes I always will try to put something down.


"I feel like I'm repeating myself " This is an interesting point Linc and  is unavoidable. There is nothing wrong with it either. I think some people put down any old thing just to avoid repeating themselves. Whisky isn't that complicated. All the top whisky writers notes are short and sweet and yes at times they repeat themselves. 

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy. Tom Waits
Ganga
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 29-09-2018 at 23:39 pm

I really try to be as descriptive as I can.  "Grass" means a little but if you say freshly cut Bermuda grass,there is something more specific which gives more insight.  But that is me.  Some whiskies are really good and I can't get to a point where it is well clarified in the notes so I understand that aspect that some of you speak.  

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