Annoncement on Scoring

Happy fourth Sunday of Advent!

After contemplating on adding scores to my reviews for quite some time now I finally decided to do so. When I started this blog about two years ago, I wrote the following:

I refrain from giving my reviewed rums a final score for the simple reason that I believe that a score can never fully do a rum justice. It is virtually impossible to objectively rank all rums out there in honest relation to one another. Moreover, simply having a score under a review does not mean whether someone is going to like a particular rum or not. Tastes differ and cannot be captured by a number. Hence a review should always be judged in its entirety and not simply by its conclusion or a final score.

This is still true today but I believe adding scores became necessary due to the vast amount of rums we have been tasting. It was becoming increasingly difficult to compare some bottlings and verbally point out the differences in quality, mostly with those that come from the power-vintages from which we got 10-20 different single casks.
I’ve spent the last few days adding these scores to my previous reviews as much as possible. This was possible since I often had a ranking with corresponding scores in my mind anyway, and sometimes I even explicitly wrote it down without publishing it on the blog. With some rums I couldn’t do this however, for various reasons (lack of comparability or memory, mostly). Whenever I already gave a score, which I did in blind-tastings, I just stuck with that, even though the scale might have been a different one. Which brings me to exactly that.

The Scale

I’ve decided to adopt the 100-point grading scale since it is the most widely used and while I think that it is has major flaws, reinventing the wheel seemed futile as comparability across reviewers is probably more important. Note though that my interpretation of the scale might be somewhat different from what you are used to and it is closer to what you might know from my colleagues from Rumboom, the Rumaniacs or Barrel-Aged-Mind. Allow me to borrow from what the abovementioned reviewers have come up with:

Points Rumanicas Barrel Aged Mind
100 Rum in liquid perfection (does not exist)
99-95 Liquid legends. Almost perfect. Superb quality
94-90 exceptional rums, minority Very good rums with no flaws and high quality
89-85 highly recommended rums, special ones, excellent Very good rums with minor flaws and high quality
84-80 recommended rums / quite good Good rums with flaws but of good quality. (Recommendable)
79-75 better than average Rum over average. Nice but not great.
74-70 below average Rums below average.
69-60 not very good Rums with minor flaws which hamper the savouring
59-50 Rums with a lot of flaws which hamper the savouring
49-35 Rum with a poor quality
34-20 Rum with a poor quality and major flaws
19-1 Maybe useful for cleaning stuff
0 Worst rum ever (does not exist)

Note that a rum with a score of, say, 78 would still be considered as ‘good’ in this scheme. Likewise, average doesn’t mean bad! Personally, I probably wouldn’t buy such a rum, but I wouldn’t decline a dram if it were offered to me. We might also find a few oddballs in here which aren’t necessarily good but might still be interesting enough for some curious connoisseurs. So far, I also did not give 95 or more points to a rum but of course that might very well happen in the future.
Last but not least, I think it is important to mention that these scores only reflect my personal, subjective impression of a given rum. Yours might be very different. Alas, the score should never been seen in isolation but only in combination with the actual review. An 83 is not always the same as another 83. A Hampden with an 83 is obviously entirely different from a J.M or Travellers with an 83. What is more, when giving a score, the mood of the day, the other rums in a session, the food we’ve had on that day etc. might all have influenced how much we like a certain product. Likewise, sometimes we might like a given 83 more than another 83 but objectively (to that extent that this is possible) we feel like it shouldn’t be quite an 84. In that sense, if a certain rum is better in some nuances, it might get the same score as another but in a ranking I might always give the edge to that one.
Prices are not included in the score, by the way.

To find older reviews or particular bottlings more easily I am doing the best I can to expand the Bottlers and Countries sections right now, ideally spanning all of the relevant/ most important producers eventually.

Have a nice festive season, everyone! Drink responsibly and high quality drams. Cheers!