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jburlowski
04-05-2006, 16:00
Just got a copy of Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible 2006. As usual, some interesting reading.

In the past, I’ve found myself to be in general agreement with Murray but some of his recent ratings give me pause. Is Jim Beam White (85) really better than PVW 20 (79!) or Van Winkle 12 yr Lot B (80)? Or is Old Bardstown 10 yr Estate Bottled (95) that better than ETL Single Barrel (88)? I beg to differ.

Murray deserves credit for trying to describe and quantify often subtle differences among many different bourbons. And ultimately, his is one man’s opinion. And agreeing or disagreeing with it is what makes the world of whiskey (and this forum) fun.

Ambernecter
04-05-2006, 16:35
I have heard some drivel in my time but the examples brought up in the last post take the cake!

I reakon I could tell JB white after a battleship of beer, 3 vindaloos, no access to a toothbrush and no sleep for a week.

I agree everyone is entitled to his/her opinion and commend any effort to promote Bourbon, however there is a limit.

Thanks much for posting this info - this book will be on my avoid list from this day forth!

Gillman
04-05-2006, 19:13
Well, to defend Jim (whom I've read carefully) he likes assertive tastes in bourbon and rye. He feels evidently these are traditional flavors and to be preferred to refined, smoothed-down whiskeys. He also likes a number of young malt whiskies and other very assertive tastes (Lagavulin, etc.). I can't fault him for this, he is going for distinctive, big bruising flavors. The whole point of being able to taste Beam White after, say, a ton of beer and multiple vindaloos is what he is trying to get across, I think. :)

Gary

wku88
04-05-2006, 20:01
The whole point of being able to taste Beam White after, say, a ton of beer and multiple vindaloos is what he is trying to get across, I think. :)

Gary

Either that, or he's plotting to have all the PVW for himself... Brilliant!:Clever:

Gillman
04-05-2006, 23:15
Well, I would say he seems to have a palate that has an appreciation of a wide variety of tastes. He likes fairly subtle tastes too (e.g. some Canadian whiskies, a number of malts). I think he considers that assertive, highly-flavoured bourbons, especially ones that stress the rye component, are a part of tradition and he wants to point them out, to value them. I don't disagree with the comments on some of his scores as such since I too am not e.g., a Beam White fan but I think I can see where he is coming from.

Gary

Ambernecter
04-06-2006, 06:53
Well, to defend Jim (whom I've read carefully) he likes assertive tastes in bourbon and rye. He feels evidently these are traditional flavors and to be preferred to refined, smoothed-down whiskeys. He also likes a number of young malt whiskies and other very assertive tastes (Lagavulin, etc.). I can't fault him for this, he is going for distinctive, big bruising flavors. The whole point of being able to taste Beam White after, say, a ton of beer and multiple vindaloos is what he is trying to get across, I think. :)

Gary
That is a good point and well brought up Gary...

I am known for knee jerk reactions now and again over all manner of things - I still have no time for what is drivel in my own tiny mind though...

Opinion/experience (and maybe writing ability) are the lynchpin of the tasting world and I am not about to cross swords with anyone, let alone someone of Murray's standing. Seems like you enjoyed the book and I daresay learned quite a bit.

All good!

pepcycle
04-06-2006, 07:10
I wish that Murray were that consistent with style and flavor profile.
He's not.

Gillman
04-06-2006, 08:04
Oh you know I'm the last to say Jim Murray is always consistent, he's not and no writer on the subect is I think (and not any of us I would hasard to say). It is perfectly valid to point out that Beam White seems not to rate the score he gives it. I said myself I am not a big fan of this whiskey. I'm just trying to say that having read many of his books, I think he has a taste for big dominant flavors but also refined subtle ones especially where these are a hallmark of a style, eg Canadian whisky. He admires Heaven Hill in particular because it is a surviving family operation that makes distinctive products. But he'll rate Beam White (that brand) almost as high because it offers a lot of taste and one (as was well pointed out) that pokes through other drinks and foods, not a bad characteristic when enjoying a "session". Maybe too I just enjoy Murray's enthusiasm, he is (can be) so excited about whiskey, about the whole experience and its traditions.

But again (and here I have always been consistent!) everyone's take is valid, we are in a subjective arena par excellence. Horses for courses, as the expression goes.

By the way I want to say I'm just delighted to see the extent of the interest in bourbon and rye here from British, Swedish and other contributors outside the U.S. and Canada. For too long these goodies were kept local and appreciated mostly only here; good to see appreciation for bourbon and rye in Britain and Ireland, where whisky came from, and in northern Europe, where fine spirits have been made forever.

Gary

Hedmans Brorsa
04-06-2006, 12:05
By the way I want to say I'm just delighted to see the extent of the interest in bourbon and rye here from British, Swedish and other contributors outside the U.S. and Canada.
Gary

Me, too, Gary. If premium American whiskey is going to conquer the world in the same manner as single malt Scotch, then it definitely need a broader fan base.

Unfortunately, I also suspect that it will take more distilleries to achieve this. At the moment, though, the prospect of this looks bleak. Hope I´m wrong, though.

nor02lei
04-06-2006, 12:26
Me, too, Gary. If premium American whiskey is going to conquer the world in the same manner as single malt Scotch, then it definitely need a broader fan base.

Unfortunately, I also suspect that it will take more distilleries to achieve this. At the moment, though, the prospect of this looks bleak. Hope I´m wrong, though.

Lennart,

Personally I think the biggest problem with American whiskey here in Sweden is the fact that the labels often don’t revile were the whiskey is distilled. Another smaller problem could be the fact that so few brands are bottled uncut and unfiltered. The label problem reflects a lot with the fact that there is lots of American beer available here even from small microbreweries. They all state were they are brewed.

Leif

Ambernecter
04-06-2006, 13:01
It's great to see the Europeans and Aussies embrace Bourbon culture. Makes me feel lees sheepish about my passion for good American Whiskey, as a Brit, if that makes sense?

I may have beeen a very lazy poster since I joned in 2003, but I am very passionate about my fave drink!

Just as an illustration, GTS 05 will set you back over 95 GB pounds in London. You really have to love the stuff to roll with those prices...

It is such a shame that whilst we outsiders may be able to get our hands on the "good stuff," it costs the Earth and detracts from what Bourbon was/is meant to be - a fine drink at a reasonable price.

Scuse me for taking this thread elsewhere!

Gillman
04-06-2006, 13:25
Yes but the good news is there are bourbon and ryes as good for a fraction of the price. WT rye, Pikesville, Rittenhouse (the 80 proof), the regular Johnnie Drum and many good bourbons and ryes can be had for a song in the Soho spirits shops (eg Vintage House in Old Compton Street). You don't need to spend a lot of money. Stagg is very good but you are paying also (mostly?) for the proof. The good thing about bourbon is, it does not vary in quality nearly as much as malt whisky.

Gary

Ambernecter
04-06-2006, 13:41
Sure thing Gary!

That GTS was just an example of how far I would go to taste my fave drink.

The VW13YO FRR is still a steal at around 30 GB pounds and the everyday pours are becoming more and more common - BT is around 18 GB pounds Bulleit is around 17.

WT Rye is around the same price as the VW so no contest there! Rittenhouse 80 proof rye I would rather leave to be honest.

The Whiskey Exchange and the 2 shops on Old Compton Street are top places to shop for good whiskey if anyone makes it over to England - OC Street is a tad overpriced mind...

Actually if I ever feel down I can go and buy a good bottle of whiskey and get eyed up by all the gay men on Old Compton Street (it's a famous gay area of London) I may not be gay but it's nice to be "lusted after" from time to time!

That last comment was merely a joke btw chaps!

camduncan
04-06-2006, 15:50
It's great to see the Europeans and Aussies embrace Bourbon culture. Makes me feel lees sheepish about my passion for good American Whiskey, as a Brit, if that makes sense?

Hey, we Aussies love our drink :cool: , but yes, like those in Europe, we really pay for the good stuff :shocked:

Back on topic.....
I really like what Jim Murray has done with his whisky bible. I don't always agree with his rankings, but I do often agree with his taste findings. :bigeyes:
Until someone else publishes such a comprehensive guide, I'll continue to buy his book every year. Besides, it's probably the only "bourbon" related books avialable in Australia at the moment.

Mad Mac
04-06-2006, 19:20
It's fun to read Jim's descriptions (the humor is great fun), but you really have to take his numerical ratings with a grain or two of salt. Chuck Cowdery's essay "Why Ratings Are Bull" (Bourbon, Straight - great book!) points out the many reasons why. My only real objection to the Whiskey Bible is that the print is too darned small - I have trouble reading it even with my reading glasses!

PFC
04-11-2006, 05:35
I just came across an audio interview with Jim Murray published at The Whisky Cast (http://www.whiskycast.com/). It's quite interesting to hear Mr Murray himself talk about various topics including the Whiskybible and his ratings. The interview is divided into two parts. In the first file the interview starts at approx. 5.30. The interview continues in the other file at approx. 5.20. Here are links to the two mp3-files:
http://www.whiskycast.com/files/WhiskyCast_2006404.mp3
http://www.whiskycast.com/files/WhiskyCast_2006409.mp3

/Mats

Hedmans Brorsa
04-11-2006, 10:30
Thanks for the link! I just listened to part one.

I seem to recall that, a couple of years ago, there was a discussion on this board about Murray´s ethnicity (English or American).

After giving an ear to this interview, I think you can safely say that he is an Englishman through and through.

Interestingly, my iTunes labelled the genre of the file as 'Blues'. :grin:

Bamber
04-11-2006, 11:25
Actually if I ever feel down I can go and buy a good bottle of whiskey and get eyed up by all the gay men on Old Compton Street (it's a famous gay area of London) I may not be gay but it's nice to be "lusted after" from time to time!
That last comment was merely a joke btw chaps!

Old Compton Street is Gay !! There was me thinking everyone was just really friendly :)

JeffRenner
04-12-2006, 06:50
I think you can safely say that he is an Englishman through and through.

The passage below (which I love) suggests that he is a Scotsman.

The first paragraph (page 6) of his Classic Bourbon, Tennessee & Rye Whiskey (1998):


And so there I was, talking to some 250,000 Scotsmen on their national radio station about all my journeys around the globe in search of whisk(e)y. Then the inevitable question was asked "OK Jim, so you've been to 150 distilleries, which country makes the best whisky in the world?" The interviewer was a Scotsman, the interviewee had about as Scottish a name as you are ever likely to find. To say the question was loaded is to put it mildly. "Well, er, if you must know..." I hesitated and then blurted out the truth. "Actually, it's Kentucky. The best whisky in the world is made there." I was nearly unplugged on the spot as a nation spluttered into its morning porridge.

Jeff

Hedmans Brorsa
04-12-2006, 07:19
The passage below (which I love) suggests that he is a Scotsman.

Hmm, could be. I am familiar with that paragraph. However, I think that what he suggests is that his names is of Scottish origin as opposed to himself being a scotsman.

Many people in England are called Murray without being ethnic scots and apart from that, the Scottish accent is very characteristic and cannot be mistaken for anything else. Jim Murray, on the other hand, comes off like an educated person from southern England.

Just my take. Case not closed, apparently. :)

JeffRenner
04-12-2006, 07:29
the Scottish accent is very characteristic and cannot be mistaken for anything else. Jim Murray, on the other hand, comes off like an educated person from southern England.

I haven't heard him speak (but will listen to the show). I suspect that you are right, though, unless he was educated in England.

Edited after listening a bit to the interview - he mentions being in Maryland, USA at age 16 in 1974, and then visiting Scotland for the first time a year later. So that clears that up.

Jeff

JeffRenner
04-12-2006, 08:38
I just came across an audio interview with Jim Murray...The interview is divided into two parts.

Thanks for posting these links. Actually, the interview was in three parts, and part three (http://www.whiskycast.com/files/WhiskyCast_2006412.mp3) has just been posted.

Jeff

Vange
01-05-2007, 08:36
I have had JM 2006 Bible since Jan of 06. I typically only use it when looking up scotches. I just recently checked out the bourbon reviews. He rates GTS as the best whisky in all categories. Then I read his writeup about EW12. He RAVES about it and gives it a 96 (I think). Do people agree with this? I can see how GTS is up there, it makes sense, but is EW12 that good?? Do I need to find a way to get this one?

BourbonJoe
01-05-2007, 08:45
but is EW12 that good?? Do I need to find a way to get this one?

EW12 is very good. If you "find a way" buy two more than you normally would.........for me.
Joe :usflag:

bluesbassdad
01-05-2007, 12:07
Are each of you (and Jim Murray) actually referring to EW12 (Evan Williams), which I think is export-only, or the more common EC12 (Elijah Craig)?

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

Vange
01-05-2007, 12:31
Yes, I was referring to EW12 which is not found in the US and export only.
He rates it as his #2 bourbon.

Str8RYE
01-05-2007, 12:39
Vange, you really put that much faith in ratings??? Jim Murray doesn't have anything nice to say about Pappy 20, but I have read over and over that its your favorite. Doesn't this say someting about what JM's rating may mean to your taste's.

Vange
01-05-2007, 12:42
Yeah, it's true, I saw his PVW20 rating and almost threw the book out! It's rated below JBW? He's nuts! With that said, I am more curious about EW12 than anything else. I probably will never get my hands on it so it's more of a wishlist item than anything else.

doubleblank
01-05-2007, 20:09
I can't find the thread, but I made numerous posts regarding how I found the tastes Jim Murray found, but my appreciation/dislike of them were far apart on many bourbons. IOW, I didn't find his scores on bourbon very helpful but his notes are....if that makes sense?

As to EW12.....I like it alot but find the EW 15 to be far better. I may have an extra EW12 here in the bunker somewhere.

Randy

TNbourbon
01-05-2007, 20:44
...As to EW12.....I like it alot but find the EW 15 to be far better...

I'll second that -- The EWs 12- and 15-yo are natural progressions of the Evan Williams line, but it reaches its apogee with the 15yo. At that point the wood has balanced the HH herbal mintiness to perfection without overwhelming it. It's the best Heaven Hill bourbon I've had.

JRomain
01-06-2007, 01:39
Just got a copy of Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible 2006. As usual, some interesting reading.

In the past, I’ve found myself to be in general agreement with Murray but some of his recent ratings give me pause. Is Jim Beam White (85) really better than PVW 20 (79!) or Van Winkle 12 yr Lot B (80)? Or is Old Bardstown 10 yr Estate Bottled (95) that better than ETL Single Barrel (88)? I beg to differ.


Why do so many people think that just because something is older, it must be better? Pappy Van Winkle 20 ain't all that. The 12 sure is, though.

scopenut
01-06-2007, 09:42
Why do so many people think that just because something is older, it must be better? Pappy Van Winkle 20 ain't all that. The 12 sure is, though.

While I prefer PVW15 to the 20, I think it's safe to say that PVW20 is certainly better to most bourbon drinkers than Beam White.

-Kevin

nor02lei
01-06-2007, 12:19
Why do so many people think that just because something is older, it must be better? Pappy Van Winkle 20 ain't all that. T

I certainly don’t think older is better in general. But when it comes to the Pappy 20 I think al row the “best before date” has passed according to my personal taste proof is a bigger problem still.

Leif

FlashPuppy
01-06-2007, 14:40
Pappy Van Winkle 20 ain't all that.


Tact goes a long way there buddy. I think that I might find a different way to state your feelings on PVW20. Perhaps say that you feel it is aged beyond your tastes, or not what you consider a value. Seeing as Julian (Julian VanWinkle, the guy who's signature is on the back of that bottle), and many other signifigant people in the industry, are on this site, I might watch how I phrase things...

mrt
01-06-2007, 15:31
This thread-from the beginning- which I newly read, made me remember a claim which caught my attention while I was watching the video of bourbon festival: "There's no bad bourbon...there are better bourbons."

For my part and with my little experience, given that I do not have access to many of the top shelf bourbons, I completely agree. If a grade of 85 out of 100 is at issue even for a debate, that's it.

nor02lei
01-06-2007, 16:24
Tact goes a long way there buddy. I think that I might find a different way to state your feelings on PVW20. Perhaps say that you feel it is aged beyond your tastes, or not what you consider a value. Seeing as Julian (Julian VanWinkle, the guy who's signature is on the back of that bottle), and many other signifigant people in the industry, are on this site, I might watch how I phrase things...

Jeremy,

I would say that all judgement of different brands made by members here on the forum are from their highly personal taste. If everybody should write that down in all posts it would be rather tedious after a wile. For myself I take this as obvious in every post and I think everybody should be entitled to have his or her personal opinion. That is one of the most interesting things for me anyway on this forum. To read about other bourbon freaks personal opinions straight from their hearts.

Leif