As any graduate student in economics, I have a rather unhealthy obsession with data, and the statistics generated therefrom, that catalogue the preferences of people over goods. Economists tend to prefer to study goods over which preferences are easily ranked, as the data is much easier to analyze. Qualitative data, such as scotch tasting notes, is a nightmare in the sense that the notes vary so wildly, and it’s almost impossible to say objectively what reviews are right, or even “more right” than others.
To further illustrate the complicated nature of comparing scotch reviews, note that what makes a good scotch depends, in part, on your:
1) Mood – A wintry night may make you crave a smoke-heavy Islay.
2) Experience – What makes a good Scotch will vary as your breadth of knowledge (your own personal data set) grows.
3) Biases – Some Scotch tasters scoff at those who add water, or at whiskies that are too young, and thus may never experience those whiskies properly, if at all.
4) Personal tastes – Some folks love the earthy taste of peat, some hate it. What is subtly to some, is bland to others.
And these preferences may not be controlled for (disclosed) in the review. A great reviewer will do so, but it isn’t universal. There are other factors, of course, but the above illustrate just a few areas that make Scotch a very difficult product to analyze objectively. It is herein where the beauty lies, and this is why we need as much data as possible. Scotch is the more expensive of spirits, and to splurge on a new bottle without trying it first (as the story often goes,) is costly. This is why I feel the need to research a new bottle before I purchase it. Without whisky reviews, I would have likely made many terrible ventures into Scotch to date. So, as a thanks to all the reviewers to whose databases I’ve frequented on my journey (Ralfy, Whiskybitch, AllThingsWhisky, Chris and Adam @ LAWS to name a few,) I have decided to blog some of my own reviews to add to the wealth (and in some cases, dearth,) of information currently floating around the web.
Comments, agreements and dissents are welcome, as they only serve to expand the data set I am attempting to build.