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Whisky Bible 2006 - Jim Murray

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Postby Bunkermania » Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:42 pm

In the new 2006 book there are quite a lot of updated entries. He has marked the ones he has tested again with one or two dots after the text. One dot for whiskies that haven't changed and two dots for the ones he has changed his score and/or his taste notes.

I find the reading amusing and have had a lot of use for it. In the new edition I think he has a little too many high 90's though, but that is his taste and score.
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Postby Bunkermania » Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:53 pm

Had to write one more thing. In the first Bible (2 years ago) it said that the bible will soon go online. In the last Bible it says again that there now is one guy working fulltime with the website and it should be up and running in August at the latest. It's now October 26 and it is still the same page that has been there for 2 years now saying that the website is coming soon.
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Postby bamber » Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:00 pm

The book is flawed but still brilliant. There are quite a few typos in this edition - see Power's Gold for example, but as far as reference books go it simply has no equal. MJ's guide is not in the same league IMO. You can take this book to the supermarket or off licence and use it pretty effectively as an aid to buying whisky. No other book can boast that simple functionality.

His scores for blends don't ring true with me either, but the answer is simple: JM really likes blended whisky ! I guess loads of posters here think his scores for American whisky are too high, but personally I agree with those (most of them anyway).

95/100 for a blended whisky - why not ? Whisky does not have to old and rare and expensive to taste good. JM keeps it real and his book is indispensable IMO. I would happily pay £30 for it - nevermind about £6 !!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:42 pm

You are right about the typos. Unfortunately he got the cask number wrong for the Glen Moray 1986 Scotch of the Year. He also spelt Raeburn Fine Wines incorrectly throughout, which they found disappointing. The Yoichi Anniversary scores add up to 97, but the total given is 96. The Dalmore 62yo marks add up to 96, but the total given is only 95. But despite the flaws, I find the book spot on and have introduced me to so much. If I have a quibble with the Bourbon scores, it is the relatively high marks for ordinary Bourbon - e.g. Rebel Yell. The top scorers deserve it, but the poorer Bourbons should be nearer 68 than 88 IMO.

PS Bamber - don't feed the troll!
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Postby Lawrence » Thu Oct 27, 2005 6:21 pm

Nick said
PS Bamber - don't feed the troll!


Quite. People like that feed on attention and ignoring them is the best way to deal with them, IMHO.
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Postby bamber » Thu Oct 27, 2005 7:36 pm

Nick Brown wrote:PS Bamber - don't feed the troll!


I was hoping to turn him into a hobbit :) (No offence Frodo !!). I'll leave him be.
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Oct 29, 2005 12:19 am

My copy arrived today and I quickly had a look through it, West Van Dave is mentioned in the thank you section, well done Dave.

There are over 3400 whiskies rated, it's very detailed to say the least, a great reference tool. 800 new whiskies with 350 re tastes to update the book.

IMHO a great reference tool.
Last edited by Lawrence on Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Aidan » Sat Oct 29, 2005 4:26 am

You are kind of mentioned in the Bushmulls Rum Cask review, Lawerence. Not directly, but you know who you are.
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Postby WestVanDave » Sat Oct 29, 2005 7:14 am

Lawrence wrote: West Van Dave is mentioned in the tahnk you section, well done Dave.

IMHO a great reference tool.


Tahnk you Lawrence - Tahnks a bunch...

Truthfully, we all had a great time and your write-up for the Malt Maniacs site (as I've referenced before) does a great job of capturing Jim's Western Canada tour...

Many Tahnks... :wink:

Cheers, Dave.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Oct 29, 2005 3:07 pm

Sounds like you guys all got tahnked.
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Postby Lawrence » Sun Oct 30, 2005 12:08 am

One typo and here we go :roll:
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Postby MGillespie » Sun Oct 30, 2005 3:45 am

Bunkermania wrote:In the new 2006 book there are quite a lot of updated entries. He has marked the ones he has tested again with one or two dots after the text. One dot for whiskies that haven't changed and two dots for the ones he has changed his score and/or his taste notes.


Oh, great...now we're going to have to decipher his dots with the same scrutiny we used to decipher the number of stars in the upper left corner of Playboy covers! As I recall, they allegedly stood for the number of times Hef bedded that month's Playmate...

Of course, now that I have a daughter technically old enough to pose for Playboy...that takes all the fun out of "reading" it...

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Postby MGillespie » Sun Oct 30, 2005 3:50 am

Nick Brown wrote:
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!


Nick, I agree with you on this. Before I spend money on a bottle of whisky that's out of my usual range, I'd like to at least take a look at an expert's tasting notes first just to make sure I'm not wasting my money. I don't take Murray or Jackson as gospel, but more like MapQuest...not always right, but better than the alternative...

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Postby Aidan » Sun Oct 30, 2005 6:52 am

I suppose if Murray, Jackson, Pacault and Broom all think something is great, there's a very good chance it will be. That's why the Whisky Mag tasting notes are good, I believe, although they only review two at a time there.
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Postby zippy » Fri Nov 18, 2005 12:50 pm

I wish that Murray would taste the whiskies blind because I think he seems to have certain predjudices about things - always high marks for Ardbegs etc. Occasionally he seems to throw a random slagging off into the mix as well - a distinctly low grading for the Glenfarclas 15 y.o. for example and also the Bowmore Darkest, neither of which to me seem to be significantly worse than other expressions.

It's a great book for its wide range of reviews and it's interesting to compare my thoughts to his. I like his willingness to criticise, unlike the Michael Jackson where every whisky is 70+
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Postby Lawrence » Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:40 pm

Zippy, he clearly states that he has expectations from a distillery, if they don't meet the expectation he lets you know. I'm not sure what a blind tasting would offer and frankly how would you taste 3400 whiskies blind?
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Postby DaveM » Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:22 pm

I think if i tasted 3400 whiskies, I would GO blind! :lol:
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Postby Badmonkey » Fri Nov 25, 2005 5:59 am

The tiny font might well render me blind in a year, but that's only because I'm unlikely to put it down for long. The sheer number of reviews is breathtaking.
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Postby hillbilly » Fri Nov 25, 2005 8:22 pm

Does anyone know when the 2006 book will be released in the US?

The 2005 edition was released in early November if I remember corectly.
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Postby MGillespie » Fri Nov 25, 2005 8:37 pm

It's already available in the UK through Amazon's UK site, and Kevin Erskine at The Scotch Blog reports the first shipment of copies for the US is clearing customs now...it should be available soon, but there's no set date yet...

Hope this helps...

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Postby hillbilly » Fri Nov 25, 2005 9:33 pm

Thanks Mark.
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Postby Iain » Sat Nov 26, 2005 12:33 am

I enjoy reading the Bible, but I don't think folks are willing to embrace its quite revolutionary (or establishment-shaking ) premise - that there are many blends that are much better value-for-money than malts costing at least twice the price.

For example (sorry to repeat myself) he scores Teachers standard blend (currently available at under £11 in UK) at 95, higher than Ardbeg 10 (a forum favourite) which costs something in the region of £24 ( he awards it a score of 93).

If Murray is to be believed - and many folks reckon that he's the best and most reliable of all the whisky journalists - then we should all be buying blends to get the best value for our bucks/pounds/Euros/whatevers.
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Postby WestVanDave » Sat Nov 26, 2005 7:58 am

hillbilly wrote:Does anyone know when the 2006 book will be released in the US?

The 2005 edition was released in early November if I remember corectly.


Shipments have just arrived in Canada and the US. Jim had some books rushed out by air freight to be available for his visits to Western Canada this week and last...

Cheers, Dave.
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Postby Virginia Gentleman » Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:37 am

hillbilly wrote:Does anyone know when the 2006 book will be released in the US?

The 2005 edition was released in early November if I remember corectly.


As of today it is still not available in the States. I finally just ordered it from AmazonUK. The price was still pretty good.

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Postby corbuso » Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:25 am

Iain wrote:I enjoy reading the Bible, but I don't think folks are willing to embrace its quite revolutionary (or establishment-shaking ) premise - that there are many blends that are much better value-for-money than malts costing at least twice the price.

For example (sorry to repeat myself) he scores Teachers standard blend (currently available at under £11 in UK) at 95, higher than Ardbeg 10 (a forum favourite) which costs something in the region of £24 ( he awards it a score of 93.


The way is setting the marks depends on the category and the notes for a blend cannot be compared with a single malt or a bourbon. This is explained in his book (but this should be more emphasized).
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Postby Iain » Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:55 am

Corbuso wrote "...the notes for a blend cannot be compared with a single malt or a bourbon. This is explained in his book (but this should be more emphasized)."

Can you tell me where Jim Murray explains this?

I can't find any reference in the 2004 edition to any major difference in the way he has marked blends differently from sms.

Except on p8, where he explains that each whisky is marked out of 100 on the grounds of nose, taste, finish and balance.

And on p 148, where he says

"I have marked the blends a little MORE strictly and tightly than I have single malts". (my caps)
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Postby corbuso » Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:17 am

Iain wrote:Corbuso wrote "...the notes for a blend cannot be compared with a single malt or a bourbon. This is explained in his book (but this should be more emphasized)."

Can you tell me where Jim Murray explains this?

I can't find any reference in the 2004 edition to any major difference in the way he has marked blends differently from sms.

Except on p8, where he explains that each whisky is marked out of 100 on the grounds of nose, taste, finish and balance.

And on p 148, where he says

"I have marked the blends a little MORE strictly and tightly than I have single malts". (my caps)


As you have quoted, this is the sentence as well as on page 188 "Whisky would not be whiskey and it would not be me if I did find an exception...".

If they would have been rated the same way, those sentences would not be present.
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Postby Iain » Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:33 pm

Indeed. He apparently rates all the whiskies in the book in the same way, judging them on nose, taste, finish and balance, whether they be sms, blended Scotch, Bourbon , Rye, etc.

However, he states quite clearly that he marks the blended Scotches more strictly than the malts, which makes the Teachers score even more remarkable, and suggests he rates it more highly than nearly every single malt Scotch he has ever tasted!

The quote on p188 isn't really relevant to discussion of his ratings system - it's simply JM introducing his views on the decline of Seagram 7 Crown, a brand he believes is an exception to his (controversial?) rule that "America today makes the best quality whisky in the world".
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Postby bamber » Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:13 pm

I think JM's claim that America makes the best whisky in the world is another example (along with his scores for scheap blends) of him intentionally flying in the face of conventional wisdom. He may well believe it though :?

I guess it all comes down to personal tatse in the end, but I think, on a worldwide scale, you would get more agreement about his opinion on American whisky than the cheaper blends.

I went thourgh 2 litres of Teacher's trying to find a way of agreeing, with his opinion on it and all I can say is that that dram is not for me.
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Postby Lawrence » Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:40 pm

I think Jim says that the "best distillery" in the world is in the USA and he's referring to Buffalo Trace. I also believe that he is talking about their entire line up, everything is top notch and are there really very many distilleries world wide who can make that claim? (I don't actually know).

As to blends, well it's fair to disagree with some one and if I don't like a certain blend then fair enough but I'll bet you most of us agree with him 70 to 80% of the time. That's pretty good in my book and trying to find a book where you agree with the author on over 3400 whiskies 99% of the time is an unobtainable goal IHMO.
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Postby Iain » Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:59 pm

Lawrence, I'm certainly not disagreeing with him overall (well, only a bit - but everyone has quibbles even with their favourite writers).

Only pointing out that he seems to value blended Scotches, as a whole, more highly than sms. Many, many people agree with him of course, particularly folks working in companies which are focused on producing and marketing blended Scotches.

I don't agree with all his scores, and there are only a few blended Scotches I have tried (usually darned pricey ones) which I would prefer to a good sms. But I certainly enjoy reading his book and his opinions.
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Postby bamber » Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:21 am

Lawrence,
I don't mean to knock JM, I'm a big fan of his books and my favourite distillery is Buffalo Trace: George T. Stagg, Eagle Rare 17yo, Sazerac rye 18yo, Buffalo Trace - the list goes on and on. So may whiskies, so different in style. I guess Ardbeg and HP, would be my next 2 choices.

His whisky bible is in a different league to any other whisky book IMO - it is like George T. Stagg - concentrated excellence ..... BUT I do get the feeling he wants his opinions to stand out from the crowd.
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Postby Lawrence » Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:15 pm

Fair enough and yes he does stand out in a crowd! :D
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Postby Iain » Sat Jan 14, 2006 11:02 am

Bamber wrote

"BUT I do get the feeling he wants his opinions to stand out from the crowd."

Well, if only by rating both the standard bottling of Teacher's AND the standard Black Bottle at 95/100, on the same score as Highland Park 18*, then I reckon he does that very well indeed!

(*2004 edition of the Bible)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:41 pm

I'm a great fan of JM.

I love the Whisky Bible and I found his blind tasting at Stourbridge both funny and educational.

He's years of experience, so his opinions must surely carry considerable weight. And he's a 'champion' of down to earth tasting notes (unlike the absurd ones produced by the likes of the SMWS).

However, despite the above, he's a bit 'full of himself'. Never misses the opportunity to tell you how he's done this, he's done that etc.

And some of his scores are (even allowing for everyone's tastes being different) hard to fathom.
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