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View Poll Results: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

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  • Yes

    65 91.55%
  • No

    6 8.45%
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  1. #91
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    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?
    This.

    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.
    Kevin

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  2. #92
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by StraightBoston View Post
    This.

    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.
    You make some good points. It's precisely because we value the reviews that EWSB stands out. Plus I have it on good authority that since the sample would be of the same profile it wouldn't be objectively better in any way, although it might be oomphier.

  3. #93
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    But what do I know? I'm just a lying shill who talks out his ass and who's too drunk on free whiskey to know it.
    I nominate Mr. Cowdery for 2013 Bourbonian of the Year after that comment.
    -SOB-

  4. #94
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    I'm still waiting for someone to suggest that......"I know what John/Chuck/???? likes and I'm going to select a sample that is right down their alley!" in order to get a good review. Now that would be the ultimate sample conspiracy theory!

    As said by many here, you know the distilleries are going to send a good sample to any reviewer. But send an outlier.....I don't think so.

    I have participated in at least 20 single barrel selections. The number of people participating in the selection process has been as few as one (myself) to as many as 15 tasters. On only one occasion was there much concensus among the tasters as to which barrel is the best one. IIRC, I'd say at least 80% of the samples get at least one person's vote as to which one is the best on the lot. Roughly 1/3rd of the barrels seem to get enough votes to say they stand out from the others and could be called "honey barrels". What is my point? Experienced tasters have their likes and dislikes. IMHO, it would be damn near impossible to select a single barrel that every reviewer/blogger/retailer/????? thinks is the cat's meow.

    As to why there has been a large rating disparity of EWSB between the reviewers and the general SB.com student body .... I don't know.
    No US taxpayer was harmed in the making of my Ford racecar.

  5. #95
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    In regards to some of the later backlash on this thread, I'm left wondering if people really read the entire thread.

    No one called anyone a shill.

    No one called into question the integrity of reviewers.

    Most said(Including myself) that if they were a producer, they would put their best foot forward by making sure the samples sent were damn good, if not better than other barrels.

    I guess I don't understand why some are complaining about attacks on producers and reviewers, when they're not really there.

  6. #96
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    Yeah, if John and Chuck had so much influence, I think they'd be wagging the dog.
    Last edited by MauiSon; 02-26-2013 at 12:01.

  7. #97
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by doubleblank View Post
    I'm still waiting for someone to suggest that......"I know what John/Chuck/???? likes and I'm going to select a sample that is right down their alley!" in order to get a good review. Now that would be the ultimate sample conspiracy theory!
    Why not? It's pretty easy to tell who likes what and why. It wouldn't be hard. Maybe I should make my own whiskey and do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by White Dog View Post
    In regards to some of the later backlash on this thread, I'm left wondering if people really read the entire thread.

    No one called anyone a shill.

    No one called into question the integrity of reviewers.

    Most said(Including myself) that if they were a producer, they would put their best foot forward by making sure the samples sent were damn good, if not better than other barrels.

    I guess I don't understand why some are complaining about attacks on producers and reviewers, when they're not really there.
    Are you sure you didn't? Two of your posts kinda come across this way. Not that it really matters all that much, I think we're really on the same page, here.


    Quote Originally Posted by White Dog View Post
    The point is that thinking that EW1B barrel #1 vs. EW1B barrel #123 are completely the same is quite naive, regardless of what some writers would have us believe.
    Quote Originally Posted by White Dog View Post
    It was only a matter of time before a certain writer told us we were all full of shit.
    Quote Originally Posted by SMOWK View Post
    I like to save up the charred bits in the bottom of the unfiltered stuff. When I have enough, I pour milk on it and eat it.

  8. #98
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    It's reasonable to assume that they are giving "honey barrels" to reviewers, but actual evidence trumps assumptions. There is an easy way to test the hypothesis, compare a barrel #1 bottle to other bottles from other barrels off the shelf. Nobody in this thread has tested the hypothesis except Chuck. If people don't want to take Chuck's word for it, that's fine, but unless a person has tested the hypothesis herself or himself, that person is still just operating from assumptions.
    bibamus, moriendum est
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  9. #99
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by tmckenzie View Post
    Here is my 2 cents worth. Do the big distilleries send out what I call cherry picked bottles? No, I do not.
    Do micro distilleries send out cherry picked bottles? I would not say all of time, but a lot of them have.
    I just had this discussion with a reviewer in the last couple of weeks. I saw a review for a micro product I had bought some of to try. I could not drink the stuff. I think it was a bottle of feints. I saw the same whiskey got a high rating and I respect the reviewer, so I asked him if he though he had gotten a cherry picked bottle. I told him what the bottle I had tasted like and he was pissed, as it was for sure not the same whiskey a customer would have bought of the shelf. It puts the reviewer in a bad position, how can he review it for the consumer honestly when he does not what it will taste like a few weeks down the road.
    This is another dishonest practice among micros, as I have bought several microdistilled products, because the tasting notes said it was good. Then when I got my bottle, it was crap. Never had that problem with the big distillers stuff. We do not send a lot of samples out to be reviewed. But if we do, the bottle comes off of the shelf any customer would have been able to buy.
    Great post! next time I see your whiskey on the shelf, I'm buying it.

    You made the point I wanted to make, the reviewer has to worry about the integrity of his reviews, so he won't want to have a reputation for saying everything is great, when it isn't. Yes... some guys are like that, so don't read them.

  10. #100
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    Re: Do reviewers get honey barrels?

    Threads like this are why I love this site. Great topic and conversation.

    I don't have experience reviewing whiskey for any blogs; however, I have reviewed cigars for a blog and have received many free samples of those for review. While I don't have any proof that I received "cherry picked cigars," there is certainly evidence that I was always sent good representatives of the particular brand I was reviewing. For example, I never received any cigars with obvious flaws, such as being plugged/underfilled or with wrapper discoloration/green spots/huge veins. Sending me a sample cigar to review with a flaw like this would be negligent.

    I see a lot of similarities between whiskey and cigars in that they are both handmade products that can have variation from one sample to the next. To me it certainly stands to reason that whiskey producers would approach reviews the same way. I'm sure whiskey reviewers are at least getting ideal samples of whiskey that represent the flavor profile that the rectifiers/distillers have in mind. I agree with a prior post that the chosen barrels fall on a bell curve, and reviewers likely gets samples from the upper percentile of the curve. Why not? Sending out a sample from the low end of the bell curve could result in a less than favorable review for no reason other than laziness/neglect. When there is money on the line, people don't mess around.
    Last edited by qman22; 02-26-2013 at 20:13.

 

 

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