Quote Originally Posted by callmeox View Post
I think there is a better question to ask on this. Since there are known variations in single barrel bottlings, are the samples sent to reviewers representative of the label as a whole or are they outliers?

I think there is a difference between the general conspiracy theory (all the reviewers are on the take and shilling for the distilleries) and the case of ratings of single barrels.

EWSB is the lightning rod IMHO because it routinely gets top scores from the reviewers, and routinely gets this-is-better-than-the-black-label-and-a-pretty-good-value-but-not-as-good-as-<your-favorite-here> scores from me and retail tasters that I know.

It is exactly because I respect the reviews and the palates of Chuck, John, Lew, Paul, etc. that I have a hard time reconciling an over-the-top score with my taste experience -- most of the time, they're in sync. When they are not, I've found in almost every case the whiskey in question was a single barrel or a pre-release sample (e.g. Makers 46, some of the craft distillers.)

To clarify: it wouldn't be wise to send something out of profile -- both distiller and reviewer could get caught out fairly quickly -- but it makes perfect sense to take something within an acceptable number of standard deviations towards the "honey" end of the bell curve.