What is a 'Value Score'?
There are many whisky reviewers, they can be found on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, their own blog, even commentators on TV and Radio provide reviews (Under the community tab on the above menu we have listed some of our favourite whisk(e)y reviewers. Most, not all of course, reviewers will score a whisky according to their own tastes, this is usually a number, some like Stuart (Whisky Whims) scores either a Win or a Bin, others score out of 5, a fair few out of 10 and then the remainder out of 100.
When I was conceptualising my whisky review channel and website, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to give my own rating to a whisky review, I considered out of 10, however, I didn't want to give decimal places, which, you could always run the risk of doing, you have two whiskies which are so similar, you previously gave one of them an 8, the second one is better than the 8, but its not quite a 9, but you want to score it better than the 8, so you give it 8.1... before you know it, you are looking at 8.15, 8.2 etc. So I decided too use the out of 100 scoring system and if I felt a whisky was slightly better than another, I would say as much but either give it the next number in the sequence or score the same, in the example of the 8, it would be 80 and the second bottle would be 81. But whisky scoring is very subjective, it is a score from your own palate and preference. One reviewing can score a whisky highly, let say a 90 or a 9, but another could score 75 or a 7, but it doesn't mean that the whisky is poor in the second reviewers eyes, it could just mean that they have a different way of scoring, meaning two reviews scores can't necessarily be directly compared.
So as I was saying, before I started to waffle, I wanted something unique, as way that any whisky can be scored and have subjectivity removed, a way to look at a whisky and its key attributes, calculate a score but then use the same calculation to score the next whisky. So I created a value score, based out of 100 it looks at the whisky facts and removes subjectivity. What the score cannot tell you is if the whisky is any good, but as I mentioned, this is very subjective and depends on an individuals taste, as such it is important to take several reviewers points of view into account, before making up your mind about buying a whisky.
How is the Value Score calculated?
The Value Score looks at the following
- The Price
- The Age
- The ABV
- Chill Filtration
- Natural Colour
The calculation begins with a maximum score of 100.
We look at the price and calculate the price per year (Age).
So a 10 year old whisky costing £50 would be calculated as 50/10 = 5
We subtract 5 (calculated above) from the starting 100 so 100-5 = 95
Next we look at the ABV, since a whisky is non chill filtered at 46% or above, we use 46% as the base point, for every % below we deduct a point and for every % above to a max of 50% we give a point. So with our example whisky it is 43%, so we deduct 3 points 95-3 = 92
Next we look at chill filtration, this is a YES/NO/UNKNOWN answer
Yes we deduct 6 points
No looses no points
Unknown we deduct 6 points (We like transparency and push distilleries to be open)
In the example the whisky IS chill filtered and also colour adjusted.
So we take 92 from the previous calculation above and deduct a further 6 therefore
92-6 = 86
Finally we look at colour, since this one is coloured we remove another 2 points - While colour isn't necessarily a bad thing, there are some people who believe they can taste the caramel colour, but while rare, there are some people who are intolerant (Alergic) to caramel colour - In the UK there is no legal requirement to state the whisky has been coloured - It is an accepted process that allows distilleries to keep batches of whisky consistent, having the same colour profile assists with this. But we think it is unnecessary.
So 86-2 = 84
The value score is 84
Another example, another Whisky costs £50, is 10 year old bottled at 48% isn't chill filtered and is natural colour. The Calculation would be
50/10 = 5 (Cost per year)
100 - 5 = 95
95 + 2 = 97 (2 added for an ABV above 46%)
97 (No adjustment for Chill Filtration as it HASN'T been filtered)
97 (No Adjustment for Colour as it is natural with no added Caramel)
Final Score 97.
When we compare the two whiskies, they are the same price, same age, one is naturally presented at 5% ABV higher. However the former scores 84 points and the latter 97 points. The better presented whisky is better value and the score reflects this.
We give an additional point if it is cask strength and an additional point if it is Single Cask.
In the example of the second bottle, if this were the case it would have scored 99 points as it is a completely naturally presented whisky exactly as it came from the cask with no adjustments made.
A whisky can achieve a value score of 100 for this to be achieved the whisky needs to be bottled above 50% ABV, have a price per year of £5 or less and be completely naturally presented.
It does happen, however, it is very unusual.