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  1. #1
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Seattle, USA

    Beverage Tasting Institute?

    When I first started to develop an interest in whisk(e)y a few months ago, the BTI's website at http://www.tastings.com/ was one of the first resources I used. Their reviews were helpful in selecting my first few bottles.

    I still check their website if I hear about an unfamiliar brand or bottling, in the same way I check Jim Murray's books, etc. I don't always agree, but I can get a general sense of perceived quality from such reviews. It's also helpful if I see something highly rated that I hadn't considered buying previously.

    Some disparaging comments made about BTI on another forum have made me wonder what other people feel about BTI and other such rating/review systems (hence this thread).

    I like the idea of an organization devoted to independently testing spirits with some kind of fair methodology. It's an interesting and possibly contentious idea, especially given that such things are inherently subjective.

    They don't accept advertising or sponsorship, but do have a fee for reviewing a product, no doubt to pay their overhead. Certain people seems to feel that they hand out medals and scores a bit too easily. I haven't observed this, myself, but I'm pretty new to whisk(e)y in general.

    What do you folks think?

  2. #2
    Mr. Anal Retentive Bourbon Drinker
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Houston, TX

    Re: Beverage Tasting Institute?

    I think is a good site. I look at their bourbon ratings and, in general, I agree with their ratings. Because the producers do have to pay a fee, some may say it is not independent. Also, not all producers may decide to have their products tested, so it is not totally complete.

    This group here knows more about Bourbon than BTI and I would rely more on advice found here. I have used BTI ratings to buy Tequila, Vodka, Rum, etc. and have been pleased with the products. In specific, I purchased Ron Zacapa Centenary 23 Year Old Rum $39.99, rated 97 points and wow is it a great rum.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Annapolis, MD

    Re: Beverage Tasting Institute?

    I think a set (such as BTI's) of numerical ratings are useful when compared to other ratings (such as Jim Murray's) to detect general trends (or divergent opinions). In and of themselves, of course, numerical ratings are totally subjective and perhaps of little use. I get more use out of the descriptions than the numbers.

    BTI are apparently independant, but I don't think they hold themselves out as Bourbon experts. I would trust the folks on this board much more than BTI. For example, from my long time lurking and short time being a member of this board, I think most (as I do) would rate VW 15 higher than VW 12, but, if memory serves, BTI has 12 higher than 15. Some rank the 15 higher than the 20 (or the 23). Jim Murray ranks Jim Beam Rye as 93, VW Rye 13 as 91 and VW Rye 12 as 90. I think most people on this board (including me) would rank both VW ryes as significantly higher than Beam. Hell, I rate WT Rye higher than Beam but Murray only gives that 88. He gives Sazerac a 96. IMHO, if Sazerac is a 96 (which I agree with) both VW Ryes can't be too far behind (some would argue they are equal to or better than Saz), and Beam can't possibly be 93.

    Ratings are an entertaining read, though.



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