Thursday, 10 May 2018

Revisiting the moustache rating system

I know I've written about it before, but for those who don't want to go back and find the last entry on my somewhat jocular system of evaluation, here's an updated version of my moustache rating system. It's not really analogous to a points system, but rather my interpretation of what the whisky's strengths and best uses are. Every whisky has strengths and weaknesses. This system is just, like, my opinion, man.

The moustache abides

1 moustache

Vodka. Not much lavour here, you're simply adding alcohol to your drink. I haven't had any whiskies at this level yet. A whisky rated this poorly would not be recommended. At all. But vodka is alright, if that's what you're into. No judgment here. Besides, you need vodka for white Russians, right?

Example: Absolut Vodka

1 1/2 moustaches

This whisky is suitable strictly for mixing. And not even that great as a mixer. I'd probably avoid any whisky rated this low, and I'd recommend you do the same. Again, I'd remind you that my ratings are a matter of personal taste, but anything rated this poorly isn't worth drinking, in my opinion.
Example:  Fireball ? (maybe)

2 moustaches

Still strictly a mixer, it's neither great or terrible. You probably don't want to make Manhattans or Old Fashioneds with this whisky. It's an average "rye and ginger" or "whisky and coke" type of whisky. That said, it may still be a decent sipper (on the rocks) if you're in a pinch. This is not a category of whisky to overlook, as these whiskies should have their place in your collection.
Example: Grant's Family Reserve Blended Scotch

2 1/2 moustaches

Respectable mixing whisky. It might even be decent neat or on the rocks. Works in a cocktail, but there are probably better whiskies for the job. Again, these whiskies are primarily mixing whiskies, in my opinion. But that doesn't mean they're bad.

Example: Bushmills Original

3 moustaches

Now we're getting to a high quality, versatile whisky. I suggest keeping several "3 moustache" whiskies on hand at all times. They tend to be more affordable and are usually terrific in cocktails or as mixing whiskies. They're also enjoyable neat or on the rocks.
Example: Alberta Premium Dark Horse

3 1/2 moustaches

This whisky is a quality sipper. Outstanding in an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan. These whiskies are very versatile, yet you may be loath to use these in a cocktail. But you shouldn't be. Many of these whiskies will turn a good cocktail into a great cocktail.
Example: Wild Turkey 101

4 moustaches

This is terrific sipping whisky. I would consider anything I've rated 4 moustaches as a personal favourite for neat sipping. There's a good chance I want this whisky on hand at all times. I probably won't want to mix this with anything. But you can do what you want. Your whisky, your rules.
Example: J.P. Wiser's Dissertation

4 1/2 moustaches

Top quality sipping whisky. These are special occasion sippers for me. They're at the top of my favourites list. I refuse to mix a whisky I rate this highly with anything, other than a cigar, if I've got one. You do what you want, but don't let me see you dilute one of these with ice. Or Coke. Please.
Example: Lagavulin Distillers Edition

5 moustaches

Life-changing whisky. Any whisky I rate this highly has fundamentally changed the way I think about whisky. Very few whiskies are rated this highly, and that should not be an indictment of the "lower" levels. And lest I become too repetitive; these are game-changers for me. Your experience may differ. And that's ok.
Example: Laphroaig 10 Year Old Cask Strength

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