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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Sipp’n Corn Scale 2.0 – No more “value” considerations.

I’ve been pondering revisions to my scale for some time now, and I appreciate the feedback on Twitter about whether, or how to, include my opinion on value in ratings.  In the past few years, I’ve reduced ratings of some high-priced Bourbon and I’ve increased a rating or two because the Bourbon was so refreshingly inexpensive or because it was lightyears better than Bourbon costing two or three times more.

Retail markets can vary pretty wildly on price, though, which reduces the usefulness of my adjustments for whatever I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to pay by virtue of living in Bourbon Country.  Plus, the secondary market has skewed value, and flippers have made finding some brands on the shelf at retail prices a rarity.

To top it off, my use of a value component is more subjective than my palate, so I’ve decided to remove it from the rating.  I’ll continue to comment on my personal opinion of value, but since everyone has their own price threshold and comfort level regardless of quality, my scoring will no longer include my perception of value.

So here’s version 2.0 of the Sipp’n Corn Scale:

The Sipp’n Corn Scale:

1 – Swill.  I might dump the bottle, but will probably save it for my guests who mix with Coke.
2 – Hits the minimum criteria, but given a choice, I’d rather have something else.
3 – Solid Bourbon with only minor shortcomings.  Glad to own and enjoy.
4 – Excellent Bourbon.  Need to be hyper-critical to find flaws.  I’m lucky to have this.
5 – Bourbon perfection.  I’ll search high and low to get another bottle of this.

Which bottle is a better value? That’s your call.


  1. The Heaven Hill is a better value though the Pappy is better bourbon.

    There's not so much overlap anymore between quality and value.
    The only exceptions in my view, there are two, are Four Roses Single Barrel and Wild Turkey 101. These two have both superb quality and are excellent values.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Dan. I used the extreme example of OHH BIB and PVW20 (with such a dramatic price difference of $10 versus the insane secondary market price) to try to illustrate that value is personal. I agree with you on Four Roses and Wild Turkey 101; I think those are great values too, and they'll continue to score high just on their merits.

  2. OHH BIB! Please tell me you didn't buy that recently...everyone has told me it's gone!

    Knob Creek Single is a better value than PVW20. OHH is an exceptionally better value than PVW20. But when I'm trying to treat my guests well (or I'm just curious if the good stuff tastes as good as I remember) then I reached for the bottles hidden away.

    1. Yes, grab OHH BIB if you ever see it. I found a store's last remaining bottle a few months ago. Thanks for the comment!

  3. You say that..."To top it off, my use of a value component is more subjective than my palate, so I’ve decided to remove it from the rating."

    Obviously it's up to you whether you should or should not include "value" in your equation, I'd completely disagree with the statement above. Your tasting notes are definitely just as subjective based on your experiences, setting and physical attributes. Your palate is no more true than your value propositions. Certainly what I think is a good value, based on my financial standing, biases, and experiences can be just as subjective as you thinking an overly extracted oaked mess is a great whisky. A reader should learn to discern whether a reviewers palate, biases, and pricing considerations align with their own before making a decision whether they can "trust" the source to be useful.

    I think it's useful for reviewers to note whether they think something provides value. Part of the product is it's cost, and what you get for the outlay. Particularly in the current pricing environment, I think it becomes even more pertinent to note whether you find value in the whisky you're reviewing - and why or why not. It's both sides of the coin that check reviews out; purchaser and provider. Why not take the opportunity to inform the provider as well.

    Anyway thanks for continuing to provide a decent source of info.

    1. Preferences and ratings are always subjective, so that's why I referred to value as being "more subjective." Unlike value, however, taste and quality are partly objective; preferences come in around the edges. Value is still important to me, and that's why I'm going to continue to comment on it, just outside of my rating. I encourage everyone to make their own decisions based on their own preferences. Cheers, and thanks for commenting!

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  5. Is any incremental increase in quality worth $900? Unless you have unlimited deep pockets, the answer is no. Sometime, you pay much more for no increase or a drop in quality.

    1. Even with unlimited funds, paying that much more can't be about the quality of the whiskey itself, right? In that case, "value" must be derived from something else.


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