When reviewing spirits I undertake a three-stage process. First I nose and taste the product neat, on at least three occasions to ensure I am not swayed by what I might have had for dinner, my general demeanour or any other variable. I then test the product in ‘classic’ cocktails, covering a range of styles such as sour, sweet, long, etc, appropriate to the spirit being evaluated. This final stage involves testing the product in several ‘signature’ or bespoke recipes based on the styles of drink I found the product to work best in. I take into consideration all of these taste tests when compiling my final review. This style of testing is designed to evaluate how the product actually performs when used in cocktails and is, I hope, more informative than your typical tasting notes based on the neat spirit alone. It does however, mean that I get through quit a lot of product and so it should be assumed that all reviews of products on this site have been undertaken on products submitted free of charge. You’ll have to trust me when I say that this does not mean however that I go soft on products that I don’t like! Those products that I find to be exceptional in quality are featured as my ‘product of the month’.
Each product is rated on a five point scale according to the descriptions below. This is intended as a semi-objective rating the incorporates various elements including neat taste, value for money, versatility in mixing, and overall ‘performance’ in cocktails. Each product is considered within it’s own appropriate category, and thus a VS and an XO Cognac may both score 5 stars but for very different reasons. The review itself explains what the respective strengths and weaknesses of each product are.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.