Realizing that we seldom mention how Booze Reviews works (it got boring to re-write after our early articles), and considering we get a lot of views long after posting with Google searches I’ve decided to write this FAQ/Review Policy. It answers questions about how we review things, and if your unfamiliar with how Honest Booze Reviews works it’s a great introduction.
Is there a way to view scores and metrics without going to each page?
Yes, we have a Statistics page that lets you see spirits/beer/wine as they are added to the site. It includes links, info on metrics, reviewer scores, date published, etc. All sortable allowing you to compare things side by side.
How are these reviews conducted?
One or more of our 4-core reviewers choose a Spirit/Wine/Beer, scores it, and then does a writeup.
For Spirits: We typically consume more than a nip (which is why it’s hard for us to get a lot of reviews quickly since we need to get a full bottle.) We do this because we go through 7 metrics via Aroma – Taste – Aftertaste – Burn/Smoothness, and Mixability, which consists of making a couple of mixed drinks (or in some cases the addition of ice.) We then look at the bottle, going by design, literature, how the brand is known, and decide an Honesty score. We then factor all of that into its average price and decide on a Value. Finally, we decide on our own personal score (We do not average the metric scores before deciding our own reviewer score.) and our final thoughts on the booze in question.
For Beer: Generally, this is just a short 1-2 paragraph review after trying the beer. We rate on a 1-10 scale with half points, and then if there’s more than 1 reviewer – average the scores.
For Wine: This will often be at tastings, and since wine can vary wildly based on day, presentation, and what else you are having in terms of other wines – we’re a little bit more flexible and use an A-F rating with +/- where a C- is barely passing as good (akin to a 3.5) and C+ is what we call ‘average’ for a wine of that type. Sadly we typically only do Red Wines, as we are overall not that fond of White wines, because of that we feel it would a disservice to review them since we’d be very biased.
Where do you get these scores from?
We are very harsh on our scores, and our mantra is basically 0 = Worst thing in the world, 5 = Average, 10 = akin to orgasm. This is something that differentiates us from most standard reviewers who give scores either based on a grade or who grade in a fashion reminiscent of school system grading (Below a 70 is failing). So if you get a 5 for example on a metric that means that for that spirit it is on par with other spirits of that type. When we review, all scores are based on others of the same type (Vodka vs. Vodka), except for manliness which can fluctuate.
What is Honesty?
This was originally called Manliness as a catch-all term for the aspects that couldn’t be broken into nice clean metrics about a spirit. Primarily it deals with presentation, does the bottle look good, is their a shitty pour contraption, is the text a bunch of corporate jizzum, do they lie to us? It talks about the brand and culturally identity, or being something you are not. Even if something is rotgut as long as they admit it they do well here.
What’s the deal with the metrics anyway? And how are reviewer scores different?
We came up with these 7 metrics because they are abstract enough to apply to all base spirits, but that every aspect is covered. Aroma, Taste, Mixability, and Value are obvious in most reviews, but we felt that it’s best to differentiate between the initial taste, aftertaste, and burn smoothness because there are some things that just have a bad aftertaste, but with a bit of rocks that goes away. We felt that shouldn’t affect an overall taste score, and wouldn’t just be covered by a note in mixability. Honesty also allows us to encapsulate things you can’t really define like colouring or differences in bottle shape, or the “wank” text on the bottle because those really are very diverse. The reviewer scores are often incredibly close to the metrics since those too are just our own scores compiled together. The reviewer score though lets us assess the thing as a whole, and oftentimes if we have strong feelings or opinions it lets us express that since we try to be objective in the metrics. As well we rate each metric at a time, and only add them up and average AFTER we review it as a whole.
What’s with all these guest reviewers?
Most often our scores are generally the same with quests, but they provide their own perspective and comments which we feel adds to the review and is actually what makes our reviews different from most available on the net. We prefer to have reviews with a wider reviewing perspective.
How come you have stock images sometimes, but not all?
Often we either have a smaller or larger version than a 750mL so we have to use a stock image of a 750. This way reviews stay consistent with pricing, and value – as well bottle design can change based on the size and we make sure to take note of this in our metrics. These images generally come from the spirits site, and we often modify them for size.
How do you decide on the mixed drinks you guys use?
Typically we try to keep to a standard of 2-3 drinks per spirit and ones we’ve rated before. ex. White Russians for Vodkas. While we often keep these, often enough we don’t have the right ingredients to make one kind of mixed, drink or we decide to try a different one. While yes gins taste far different in a Tonic, then a Martini and going by one is generally frowned on we do try and be consistent and often we will go back and add a note/adjust scores based on the addition of a mixed drink we didn’t include.
Why did X score so low?
Again our metrics are designed in a way that makes it very hard if not impossible to get over a 9, even Johnnie Walker Blue Label missed a 9 by .02 points because of a lower score in our metrics. So while most often you’d think of something as being “good” if it can get above a 7, in our reviews something that gets above a 7 is great, and is far above average. Also, we are not willing to withhold punches. As you can see in our review of E&J VSOP if we feel that something is overall a 2 then that’s how it is.
What if I disagree with your opinions?
HELLO! Welcome to the internet, we’ve been readying ourselves to prepare for your arrival. Your journey pack will include:
4 Not giving a fuck
16 Other possible review sites that suck
1 Opinion (for personal use)
and all the comments and page views on our site you want to grace us with.
Can you review X? Why don’t you review liqueurs/absinthe/ etc.?
We’re up for any requests; however, take note that all of these liquors are bought by us personally so more expensive items and less-favoured items may not be bought asap. Feel free to add a comment suggesting something to be reviewed. The reason though we typically do the base spirits and not liqueurs is based on what we can compare them too. Some liqueurs are in a category all their own and you can’t compare apples to oranges. While there are a couple that are similar (Irish creams, amarettos, coffee liqueur) the problem is we’d need to buy a couple of the same type of thing to conduct the review with an appropriate baseline. This, of course, costs money since in our minds why would you buy 4 kinds of amaretto at once? In the future, though this is still possible to happen, generally we’ll stick to what we know.
Can I sponsor you to review something?
Sure we’re open to reviewing anything. Generally, because we get rather in-depth with reviews, and have more than 1 person we would suggest not just trying to send us a nip and be done with it. Coupons or even suggestions will get you on the shortlist for the next thing to try, but we have budgets and lives so be aware of that. Also while being a bad ass and sending us a beer or scotch will certainly make us think better of you – don’t expect to get higher scores and anything else. While we’d like to be chummy and friendly if possible – brutal honesty is our policy. Contact me via email at BuffaloJern@gmail.com for more.
What’s the best spirit X I can get?
What’s your scheduling?
- Weekly Wine: Every Saturday
- Beer: Every Wednesday and Thursday
- Spirits: Every Monday
- Specials/Tours: Sunday at end of Month if at all.
Feel free to ask other questions in the comments and we’ll answer them as best we can.