The 100 point scale: maintaining some perspective
Let me start by saying that I like the 100 point system. I use it. It’s the most commonly used system by the most highly regarded wine and spirits reviewers, and it’s the scale that most people are familiar with.
But, looking at some of the comments over the past dozen or so whisky reviews (by me and the other Malt Advocate reviewers) here on this blog, I noticed something I felt I need to bring up and discuss.
Some of you seem to be making a big deal over a whisky review that is, say, 3 or 4 points higher or lower than what you feel you would rate it. You’re acting like you and the reviewer are so divided in how you both feel about a whisky.
In reality, you have more in common with the reviewer than you think. For example, if a reviewer rates a whisky an 83 and you think it should be an 87, they would both get an 8 on a ten point scale. And if it were a five point scale (or five diamonds or five stars or whatever), which is used by some reviewers, a whisky rated by one person as a 91 and an 80 by another person on the 100 point scale might both get 4 points. Instead of discussing how much we disagree with each other, we would probably be talking about how much we agree with each other.
I guess what I am trying to say is that, while I really enjoy using the 100 point system and am glad we can discuss and debate about whisky based on the 100 point system, let’s keep the proper perspective when when you and I (or one of the other MA reviewers) are four or five points apart in our rating of a whisky.
In fact, I think someone mentioned in my Ardbeg Alligator review, that ratings of 88-89 and 92 are effectively the same. (I’m not a statistician, so I don’t know for certain, but I think you get my point.)
I’d rather we discuss what we like (or dislike) about a whisky, and why. That’s when we all learn, grow, and mature as whisky enthusiasts.