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Whisky Bible 2006 - Jim Murray

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Whisky Bible 2006 - Jim Murray

Postby Aidan » Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:38 am

Is out now. I must say it is very good value at under £6. I have mine ordered.
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Postby Lawrence » Tue Oct 11, 2005 4:15 pm

Yes, the UK version has been printed but the versions for the rest of the world have not yet been printed. Where did you buy your copy?
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Postby Aidan » Tue Oct 11, 2005 4:25 pm

Hi Lawerence - I bought mine on http://www.amazon.co.uk. I don't think they're on the amazon.com website yet, though.

Mine has not arrived yet as I only ordered it the other day. I think it was released on Oct 3rd.
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Postby Lawrence » Tue Oct 11, 2005 4:30 pm

I just saw it on amazon UK and have ordered a few copies, thanks for the tip,

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Postby Aidan » Sun Oct 16, 2005 8:51 pm

I actually sent him some samples this year, so I hope they will appear in the book. I'm not sure, though.
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Postby Admiral » Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:21 am

I wonder how many tasting notes dating back to the 2004 edition have been updated to reflect more recent bottlings? :D :wink:

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby WestVanDave » Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:45 am

Hi Aidan - if Jim got them then they're likely to be found in the new book... the count has increased from 2,750 to 3,400 whiskies tasted, rated and evaluated... He's a hard worker that Jim!!! :wink: What samples did you send?

I know that he has updated reviews on many of the Canadian whiskies and American (bourbons, ryes, etc.) from his travels out this way last May... He also had a chance to sample some unique single cask bottlings of Caperdonich, some Bushmills made exclusively for the Canadian market and a Murray McDavid bottling of a Royal Brackla exclusive to Willow Park. For additional details see Lawrence's e-pistle for the Malt Maniacs:

http://www.maltmaniacs.com/mm16a.html#16-10


I'm looking forward to getting my signed copy of the Bible, in person, as Jim is heading to Vancouver again for a November 22nd Whisky Tasting event.

Cheers, Dave.
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Postby Aidan » Mon Oct 17, 2005 7:36 am

Hi Dave

I sent him samples of a Jameson from the 1940s and a 12 yr old Jameson from around the same period, both of which he enthusiasticly received.

An extra 650 whiskies tasted only 365 days in a year... Can't wait to get my copy. He's probably already started on next year's book.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:27 am

I was in the Whisky Shop last night and they were curious to know what Jim Murray would make of their Fiskavaig. Well, I got home to have a look and found it under Unspecified Malts. Mr Murray wondered what on Earth it was, and declared that it was almost certainly from Islay. Oh dear... If he had looked at a map, he would have found a small village called Fiskavaig on the Isle of Skye, about two miles due north of a place called Talisker. :(
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Oct 19, 2005 3:42 am

It says "Skye" right on the bottle! Of course, JM probably had an unlabeled sample bottle. Saw one in The Whisky Shop in Oban and was sorely tempted.
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Postby Lawrence » Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:01 am

Just becasue it says Skye on the bottle it doesn't mean the contents are from Skye does it? :shock:
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:09 am

It is Talisker - they say so in the Whisky Shop and they have really not tried to hide its origin. The amusement, though, is that Jim Murray, a well known Islay-phile was so certain that this was from Islay.

He does have some odd ratings in the new book. Serendipity at 96!!!???
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Postby Admiral » Wed Oct 19, 2005 12:34 pm

He does have some odd ratings in the new book. Serendipity at 96!!!???


Serendipity has Ardbeg in it. Jim is therefore forbidden by law to score it anything less than the high nineties. :lol: :D :wink:

(My apologies, Jim! :) )

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:15 pm

Lawrence wrote:Just becasue it says Skye on the bottle it doesn't mean the contents are from Skye does it? :shock:


I don't remember the exact wording, but it was something like "Distilled near the village of Fiskavaig, Isle of Skye". Surely the flimsiest of disguises!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:56 pm

I tried the The Bottlers Teaninich 21yo last night (scored 96) and it was gorgeously spendid. The sherry wood was huge and magnificent, but there was a whole Christmas cake, dried fruit fest going on. I went home and had a tot of last year's Dun Bheagan Teaninich 18yo (scored 94) and I thought it was actually even better. This has the big old sherry notes, but with a wave of young, sweet malt on the palate and at the forefront of the finish, before leaving you with the dry sherrywood. The two in combination were just sublime.

If it hadn't been for the Whisky Bible, I'd never have discovered Teaninich, and I'd never have discovered The Bottlers or Raeburn Fine Wines (embarrasingly only a mile from my front door!). Check them out at http://www.thebottlers.com. So three cheers for Jim Murray, despite the slight bias towards Ile.
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Postby Aidan » Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:31 pm

I've never tried Teaninich, but I'll be tracking some down on your recommendation...
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Postby lambda » Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:58 pm

I received my copy today by mail. After browsing through it a bit, it leaves me pondering how useful this is for me. I seem to have a completely different taste or maybe I do not understand what "good" whisky is. Some examples that amazed me after browsing for 15 minutes:
- old laphroaig CS: 79, newer version: 90. I actually prefer the older, but besides that.. the difference isn't that huge, is it?
- bruichladdich 3D first edition: 94, second edition: 91. He likes the first better?? I wouldn't have scored them in the 90s, but at least the second seems more mature and less flawed to me.
- scapa 12 and 14: both 88.
- an cnoc 12 and an cnoc 1990 (both 90)

Of course, I also see scores that I do agree with, but I doubt it is a good idea for me to buy whisky based on his scores.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:01 pm

If anything it exemplifies that taste is very subjective. Still, I have no doubt at all that reading the notes and scoring of whiskies as with other things, have a certain cognitive significance as in what one is told or read is good then sneaks its way into ones personal preferances.


Skål!
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Postby Lawrence » Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:09 pm

Yes, it is subjective and based on personal tastes but it's a guide and for most people it will be quite helpful as it's the only book that somes over yearly and covers so many whiskies.

Everything has a shelf life and this book is no exception, as new products come on the market it will be come out dated, hence the yearly updates.

If you have questions about individual scores then why don't you simply email Jim and ask him? You might find it informative, he's very open to questions from readers.

jimmurray@whiskybible.com
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Postby Iain » Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:19 pm

I'm still not sure that tasting notes have a great deal of value, unless the tastings are "blind" - we all have our prejudices and preconceptions, and journos are certainly not exempt from that.

I was disillusioned with the first guide in 2004.

J&B Rare = 90, Tamnavulin = 79?

That's silly.

Teachers Highland Cream = 95, Ardbeg 10yo = 93?

That's preposterous!

JM's comments are fun and mostly very informative.

His scores? I think he's 'avin' a larff. At the reader's expense, sadly...
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:20 pm

Lawrence wrote:Yes, it is subjective and based on personal tastes but it's a guide and for most people it will be quite helpful as it's the only book that somes over yearly and covers so many whiskies.

Certainly, I've got it myself (2005) .

Skål!
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Postby Admiral » Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:51 pm

as new products come on the market it will be come out dated, hence the yearly updates


Ah, but this is my point! The yearly updates merely include new bottlings or releases that have emerged in the last 12 months.

He does not "update" the entries from previous editions, therefore, Jim's 2006 Bible has entries, scores, and descriptions that relate to whiskies he tasted in 2003 and early 2004 in preparation for the first edition.

Given that we all now realise how variable bottlings are from year to year, I question the validity of such "updates".

I have exactly the same problem with Michael Jackson's 5th Edition, only his is even worse! Most of the entries, scores, and tasting notes were identical to the 4th Edition, which means they hadn't been updated in over 5 years.

Doesn't seem right to me. :?

Cheers,
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:01 pm

Admiral wrote:Ah, but this is my point! The yearly updates merely include new bottlings or releases that have emerged in the last 12 months.

He does not "update" the entries from previous editions, therefore, Jim's 2006 Bible has entries, scores, and descriptions that relate to whiskies he tasted in 2003 and early 2004 in preparation for the first edition.

Given that we all now realise how variable bottlings are from year to year, I question the validity of such "updates".

Cheers,
Admiral

I never thought of that - good point!
Especially for those who are purchasing uncritically what is recommended by the bibel.

Skål!
Christian
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Oct 20, 2005 12:27 am

Yes, well, let's face it, this kind of book is pretty much an outdated concept. That doesn't mean they can't be useful; just that one can't expect them to occupy the same place in the whisky universe that they did ten or even five years ago. That universe has grown and changed too much. And so have all of us--these books are surely more useful to novices than they are to sophisticates such as we. ( :roll: )

Perhaps Jackson and (especially) Murray would be better served to offer yearbooks every year, rather than full revised editions. How's this for an idea: with each copy of the Companion or Bible, include coupons (paper or electronic) which entitle one to purchase updates for five years. As the five years pass, discount them slightly, so that new readers can get up-to-date fairly easily. Then do a full revised edition only every five years. The yearly updates would include all notes that the author had made in the previous year, whether it's tasting new product or revisiting old ones.

The above-mentioned apparent scoring discrepancies only point up that scoring whiskies is, in my mind anyway,an attempt to objectify a subjective experience; an exercise that is doomed to failure, or at least is bound to produce such anomalies. I don't say that it shouldn't be done, just that one shouldn't expect anything else. Take it all with a healthy dose of Islay sea spray. And surely, in any case, it's impossible to judge such as Teacher's Highland Cream and Ardbeg 10 by the same criteria; it's apples and oranges.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Thu Oct 20, 2005 3:05 am

MrTattieHeid wrote: And surely, in any case, it's impossible to judge such as Teacher's Highland Cream and Ardbeg 10 by the same criteria; it's apples and oranges.

Hm........not sure if I should say that just like apples and oranges both are fruit Teacher's Highland Cream and Ardbeg are whiskies......
Anyway, I don't think JM's point is to compare blends to single malts - rather than treat the two as separate categories and hence assigning points relative to "performance" within its category. Do the opposite and it would be like comparing an estate wagon to a Formula one racing car and complaining that one of them lacks the speed and acceleration whereas the other lacks a luggage compartment :?

Skål!
Christian
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Postby WestVanDave » Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:08 am

Mr Fjeld wrote:Anyway, I don't think JM's point is to compare blends to single malts - rather than treat the two as separate categories and hence assigning points relative to "performance" within its category. Do the opposite and it would be like comparing an estate wagon to a Formula one racing car and complaining that one of them lacks the speed and acceleration whereas the other lacks a luggage compartment :?

Skål!
Christian


Excellent point Christian.

What I find amazing is that we are all willing to be critics on this site - in a cordial, jovial, ribbing and humorous fashion - however, there seems to be a sudden rush to "negative" judgement when someone publishes a book and we look for the exceptions to find fault.

For example, Jim's reference to a Whisky that he would have likely tasted from a sample bottle, without the benefit of a label and based on the "taste characteristics" thought it to be an Islay.

Nick wrote: "Mr Murray wondered what on Earth it was, and declared that it was almost certainly from Islay."

The kind of assumption many could make when tasting an unknown coastally influenced peat monster blind.

As Lawrence pointed out - Jim is very open to discussion and many of the points raised here would likely be of great interest.

Mr. T - your thoughts on a yearbook format are excellent and would seem to fit best with an electronic/e-book format. The only hurdle I could foresee would be the publishers and logistics around creating and maintaining such a format, - as they are somewhat stuck in their ways of assembling, packing, printing and distributing paper.

I believe that Jim had originally looked into an expandable format, where updates could be added yearly.

I had noticed that David Stirk (shortly after an association with Jim) had started with a format that was intended to be "expandable" with updates - however, I have never been able to reach him since I bought mine to get an update - and the original book/binder is somewhat thin in content.

I have a dozen or so Whisky books - and I know some other obsessive compulsive Whisky nuts with 10X that number (right Lawrence :wink: )... and for the most part I like to gleen what I can from them. I have several of Jim's because I enjoy his writing style and I enjoy his take on the the whiskies.

I don't think my taste buds are exactly in-line with his... but I can appreciate how he approaches a whisky - how he makes his notes, broken down into four categories (Nose, Taste, Finish, Balance) and how in-depth, irreverent and refreshing some of his notes are.

Whereas I have read many that are simple a laundry list of scents and/or flavours and a resultant score where I often can't make any connection... :?

'Just my thoughts...FWIW.

Cheers, Dave.
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Postby Iain » Thu Oct 20, 2005 7:59 am

Indeed he doesn't compare them on an equal footing Mr F.

JM says quite clearly in the intro to the 2004 edition that he considers blends to have greater potential than single malts, and for this reason "I have marked blends a little more strictly and tighter than I have single malts."

So - Teachers "beats" Ardbeg 10's points score, even with this wee handicap!

I enjoy JM's books. And I really enjoy reading about blends, which few serious whisky writers are willing to tackle. But I think it's fair to discuss any oddities and absurdities that arise when folks start allocating points scores to whiskies of any sorts. Allocating points scores to whiskies can often mislead the reader more than enlighten him or her.

JM is no shrinking violet, and I know he's impishly happy to court controversy. I think much of his scoring is intended to challenge accepted views and raise a few hackles.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Oct 20, 2005 9:23 am

WVD - I'm sorry if I came across as carping. Actually, I have broadly similar tastes to JM (I don't seem to agree as well with other writers) and can identify with most of his comments and marks. Occasionally I wish the individual marks added up to the total marks - and wonder which gives the right answer - and it is always amusing to see the odd slip up. That's a bit like catching the teacher out in spelling - the teacher's still better at it than the class, but it makes the class feel good.

I hope I'm not a complete novice at this whisky thing, but I still really value the comprehensiveness of the Bible. I can (now) afford to get some of the older bottles, but I would be very reluctant to do so without reading some kind of independent tasting notes first. Thanks to the Bible, I now drink almost only whiskies that are in the 90s - occasionally in the high 80s - and my whisky experience has been transformed. Expensive mistakes have become a real rarity - and seem to happen only when I step outside the Bible's ratings. OK - JM has a special bias towards peat, but provided I know that there might be a slight slanting here, I find that he ranks whiskies within styles much as I would. I have discovered new whiskies and rediscovered old ones. It is also nice to see affirmation of my judgement of some newer whiskies (e.g. the SMWS Ardmore). By and large, I find it a useful and readable shopping list, and a great enhancement to my enjoyment of whisky that I do taste.

So again I will say it - three cheers for the Whisky Bible!
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Postby Admiral » Thu Oct 20, 2005 9:53 am

Thanks to the Bible, I now drink almost only whiskies that are in the 90s - occasionally in the high 80s - and my whisky experience has been transformed.


Whilst I understand your reasoning, Nick, such a policy strikes me as selling yourself short. I have two responses:

1. If you don't taste something that scores in the 60's and 70's, then you would lose sight and perspective of what it is that makes the high-scoring whiskies good.

2. You are missing out on some stellar whiskies that, for one reason or another, didn't tickle Jim's tastebuds. Some of my favourite whiskies, ones that I really enjoy drinking and consider to be excellent examples of single malt, only scored in the 70's in Jim's book. If I was to adopt your policy, I would never have discovered these gems!

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:41 am

Admiral - I do still, occasionally, have some lesser whiskies although I probably don't go down to the 60s very often. Fettercairn is a notable exception.

I'm not convinced you do need to drink much (if any) poor whisky to really appreciate good whisky. By the same token, I don't find I have to eat plastic cheese to appreciate a good vintage Cheddar.

I readily admit that I may miss some great whiskies that didn't tickle JM's tastebuds. But at the same time, I get to try an awful lot that did. I am also amenable to trying tasters at RMW or Cadenheads, but I do prefer to have something to go on before I buy a bottle. Random buying might uncover the occasional gem that fell off JM's radar screens, but it would also mean having to get through an awful lot of dross. I know, because before I lived in Dun Eideann and before I got the Whisky Bible, that's where I was at. I have a vastly better whisky life now and I wouldn't ever want to go back to what I had before.
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Postby Aidan » Thu Oct 20, 2005 12:12 pm

Admiral wrote:
as new products come on the market it will be come out dated, hence the yearly updates

He does not "update" the entries from previous editions, therefore, Jim's 2006 Bible has entries, scores, and descriptions that relate to whiskies he tasted in 2003 and early 2004 in preparation for the first edition.

Cheers,
Admiral


I've noticed that he does update previously tested whiskies, although they are not marked as newly tasted. The review of the standard Green Spot has changed, for example, in the 2006 version.
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Postby Aidan » Thu Oct 20, 2005 12:20 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:The above-mentioned apparent scoring discrepancies only point up that scoring whiskies is, in my mind anyway,an attempt to objectify a subjective experience; an exercise that is doomed to failure, or at least is bound to produce such anomalies. I don't say that it shouldn't be done, just that one shouldn't expect anything else. Take it all with a healthy dose of Islay sea spray. And surely, in any case, it's impossible to judge such as Teacher's Highland Cream and Ardbeg 10 by the same criteria; it's apples and oranges.


It is part subjective and part objective, I believe. There are some smells and tastes that 99% of humans don't like, so if such notes can be identified, then ... I suppose flavours that are universally liked, though, are harder to identify.

I like these books. I don't really know why. I think JM has similar tastes to me, I suppose.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Oct 20, 2005 2:03 pm

I like them, too, and find them very useful. Nick's comments on this matter sound very reasonable to me. My main point is that anyone who picks up this, or any other, book expecting it to be 100% accurate, complete, or in any way definitive, is bound to be disappointed. The name of Murray's book may lead some to believe that it is supposed to be all that and more, but , as with the other well-known book with that name, the reader's discretion and judgment are essential.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Thu Oct 20, 2005 3:05 pm

.......still the Admiral has a good point when he says the notes can be literally outdated in relation to the bottlings available.

Skål!
Christian
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Postby Aidan » Thu Oct 20, 2005 3:13 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:I like them, too, and find them very useful. Nick's comments on this matter sound very reasonable to me. My main point is that anyone who picks up this, or any other, book expecting it to be 100% accurate, complete, or in any way definitive, is bound to be disappointed. The name of Murray's book may lead some to believe that it is supposed to be all that and more, but , as with the other well-known book with that name, the reader's discretion and judgment are essential.


I agree. In fact, I kind of agree with everyone on this subject...
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