From the Distiller...Reading Ratings

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I recently read an article on Scotchwhiskey.com where the author was concerned about the apparent focus these days on the numerical value of a review of a particular product, and nothing else. He saw a lot of this in peoples use of wine ratings and expressed a concern over this taking over in whiskey too. The article made me think about how I personally have been using wine and spirit ratings and had I been guilty of focusing on the numerical score. The author's point was the score is often merely a reflection of whether the rater/judge liked it and doesn’t necessarily tell the consumer much useful information. However, if you read the actual description portion of the review, that can really help you decide if you want to purchase a particular wine or spirit. In a personal review of my habits, I find that I often do in fact put more stock in the description, than the score. I will admit, that a high score does attract my attention, but that is not enough to sway me. If the flavors described sound good to me, then I’m more likely to buy it. If the described flavors are not what I’m looking for in that drink, say as a food pairing, then it doesn’t really matter if it is highly rated or not.

I then thought about some of the reviews of our products, mostly on distiller.com, and case in point, one of I think our better products, has our lowest score – the coconut rum – 78 pts. However, to read the text of the review, it is actually pretty useful and accurate.

"Coconut macaroon dominates the nose--think Mounds Bar with just a touch of chocolate if you prefer. The coconut candy sweetness carries over onto the palate where it's somewhat less welcome--but a squeeze of lime tempers the sweetness. Think Tiki. "

In fact, it does push it in terms of sweetness, and it does pair extremely well with chocolate and works very well in Tiki drinks. Plus, I’ve recommended to folks since we first released it, that is it fabulous on the rocks with a lime wedge, and perhaps a little seltzer. So just looking at the description I think it actually sounds like a pretty good review, with it being perhaps a bit too sweet. Of course, I’d like a higher numerical score, but I am pretty happy overall with the review as it gives the consumer thinking about maybe buying the product useful information about how it actually tastes. So, if you are one of the folks who like to post reviews of beer, wine, spirits, or anything for that matter, give a little extra thought and do your best to write an accurate description of the product, not just a thumbs up or thumb down. One person’s thumbs down may be another person’s thumbs up.