Picked up the current Whisky Magazine which focuses on Bourbon (so far so good). Nice to see this British mag giving an in-depth look at American whiskey, and our Chuck makes an excellent contribution in the round table. But, I can't help but notice how modestly (relatively) the bourbons tasted scored. And they tasted the best of what is: a passel of Van Winkles including the Pappy 20 and 23 year olds, the much-lauded (on these boards) Stagg, Old Charter Proprietor's Reserve and other very notable whiskeys (including the domestically unavailable HH 23 year old). No whiskey got more than 8.5. The average was about 8 and a few scored in the 7's (e.g. Eagle Rare 17 year old). And this a selection of America's best! The equivalent (in reputation) malt whiskies would have scored much higher, e.g. 9, 9.25, even 9.5. The tasters were Briton Michael Jackson (who wrote extensively about Bourbon in the 1980's and whose judgement I greatly respect) and Dave Broom, a Scot who mainly writes about Scotch but certainly knows distilled drinks.
What gives? Is the best Bourbon a good notch under the best malt whisky? Or is Kentucky's best not getting a fair shake? There is nothing wrong about scoring an average of 8 or so but in a magazine of this nature, this is, IMO, a left-handed compliment.