Monday, June 4, 2012

Reader Poll: Reviewing the Reviewers

For our latest poll I thought I'd switch from judging the whiskey to judging the judges. Suppose you could only have access to the reviews of one whiskey reviewer for the rest of your life. Who would it be? Here are some ground rules. You can still access non-review articles by anyone, but you will only see reviews from one writer (so, for instance, if you don't pick Mark Gillespie, you could still listen to WhiskyCast, just not the end where he does the reviews). It might be the person whose judgment you trust the most or it might be someone whose writing (or speaking) style you really enjoy. It's up to you.

To make this fair, I have limited the choices to (1) professional reviewers who (2) review a variety of whiskeys, so you won't see a number of very excellent, very popular reviewers who are unpaid bloggers or who review only one type of whisky. Those are the rules, here are your choices.

  • Dave Broom: Reviewer for Whisky Advocate and Whisky Magazine.
  • Mark Gillespie: Producer of WhiskyCast.
  • John Hansell: Publisher of Whisky Advocate (though not the only reviewer for that publication).
  • Jim Murray: Author of The Whisky Bible.
  • F. Paul Pacult: Publisher of the Spirit Journal.
  • Other: Anyone else you would care to vote for who fits the criteria.
And folks, let's try to keep this from being a study in negativity. I'd rather hear about why you picked the person you did than why you didn't pick the others. Cast your vote!


Ryan said...

I'd take Hansell. I like the straight-forward, concise reviews, that are always more informative than just tasting notes.

Tim Read said...

Broom. Interesting writing, notes that intrigue me in a format I relate to.

Though honestly, I have read a lot of Murray notes for a wide sampling of notes and have noticed a lot of similar observations in my own (though I don't necessarily agree on score).

Anonymous said...

Hansell. Though there are some times when I wonder if his judgment is clouded by his industry connections, even if only partially, though those connections are also what often give his reviews the authority of insider knowledge on distillery trends. He has a deep perspective on whiskey that makes me feel he can truly compare what he's drinking to an extensive sample of what's been produced across the world for a long period of time.

Non-professionally... the choice is clear: Sku. haha! You have never steered me wrong yet.

Macdeffe said...

John Hansell, of the 5 mentioned he is the only one I actual follow. The other's I don't follow for various reasons, which is only for 1 of them the fact I don't like his reviews, the others are just the way they present their reviews just doesnt fit into my lifestyle or access possibilities. My main source of reviews is not these five professionals, but a BIG range of friends, online friends, forum contributors and bloggers, this forum of course included


Anonymous said...

If limited to one, I choose none. It'd get boring and minus the context of others reviews lack credibility.

Anonymous said...

Paul Pacult is my man. He's the reason I'm reviewing. I started going to his master tasting sessions at Keen's Steak House in NY (a superb whisky bar and historical landmark and one of the best steak restaurants in the city of NY - and thus the world). He taught me passion and vocabulary and tasting methodology and letting the whisky rest to air it and putting in just a drop of water... the whole shebang. I bought his books. I bought his iphone app. His journal is expensive and I don't take it anymore, but my love and respect remain strong. Pacult knows the entire world of spirits with a depth and sensitivity that is unmatched. He knows whisky deeply too and his tasting notes and ratings are very much in accord with mine.

He's my man.