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The Buying Guide provides ratings of whiskies from around the world. All whiskies currently available for purchase are considered for evaluation; a special effort is placed on reviewing new products and comparing them to established ones. Because we for the most part serve a U.S. audience, we prefer to review whiskies that are available there, but will also review whiskies unique to other markets. Whiskies are chosen for tasting from among those sent to our offices for review, and from targeted categories—a particular distillery, a particular age—we find of interest.
Ratings and Prices
Ratings are to provide a relative comparison of quality with reference to both directly competing products and whiskies in general. This is important, because some products achieve greater balance, character, and complexity than others. We urge you to keep in mind that the best way to learn about whiskies is to taste them for yourself and draw your own conclusions. There is no substitute for this; we are providing a guide for you to reach this goal. Please note that because of the number of new products on the market every month, the products listed in the Buying Guide usually reflect our most positive experiences in recent tasting. However, whiskies that score in the lower ranges will also be included at the discretion of the taster if they feel there is particular significance to that product. Prices shown reflect the suggested retail price. If that is not available, we will use a representative retail price; prices in your area and at different stores will vary. (Not all whiskies reviewed are available in the U.S., but they will show an equivalent price in U.S. dollars for comparison purposes. Check the review for actual availability.)
Each issue, we choose particular whiskies or sets of whiskies for a special focus. These may be from a single distillery, or be of a specific type, and more attention is paid to how these whiskies compare to each other. The whiskies are chosen by the reviewers and are not the result of any commercial transaction between Whisky Advocate and the producers of the chosen whiskies.
Our reviewers cover the following territories. (Reviewers are indicated by their initials at the end of the individual reviews.)
John Hansell (JH) is the publisher and editor of Whisky Advocate. He’s been writing about whisky for over 20 years. Reviewer at Large
Dave Broom (DB) has been writing about whisky in all its forms for over 20 years. A judge on numerous international tasting and competition panels, he also teaches sensory evaluation to trade and consumer groups. Speyside, Islay, Japan
Gavin D Smith (GS) is based in the Scottish Borders and works as a whisky journalist and author. He has over 20 books to his credit. Scottish Highlands, Lowlands, Campbeltown, and Islands (non-Islay)
Lew Bryson (LB) has been with Whisky Advocate since the early days. He has written on beer and spirits since 1994. Craft whiskey
Davin de Kergommeaux (DdeK) has been writing about whisky for over 15 years for various magazines and websites. Canada
Jonny McCormick (JM) resides in Scotland and has written for Whisky Advocate for nearly a decade. He regularly assesses whiskies for international competitions. Blended scotch, blended malts, grain, Irish whiskey, world whisky
Fred Minnick (FM) Fred Minnick is a Louisville, Ky.-based journalist, author, and photographer. He has served as a judge at several spirits competitions. American whiskey
Editor’s Choice John Hansell’s favorite in this issue, regardless of price.
Value Pick John Hansell’s pick, considering both quality and price.