SAMPLE, SHARE or SAVOR is a system I use to categorise whiskies as I taste them. In addition to giving the whisky a mark out of 100 I have started to assign it a one of these three categories. I want to emphasise that no category is intended to be better than another but I hope this acts as a helpful guide to others who are considering buying or sampling a whisky.
This indicates a whisky which is is educational to try but you might not want a whole bottle. It could be a quirky outlier, or a distillery or blender tying something new which hasn’t quite worked but will provide you with new coordinates on your personal flavour map.
This category is for the good all rounders, the daily drams, the bottles you know you can just open and enjoy. Most importantly these are the whiskies you can confidently share with friends knowing that it will be a crowd-pleaser.
Some of the most rewarding and profound moments as a whisky drinker are spent in solitude where you are able to calm your mind and focus on the subtle nuances of a dram. Like in music there are incredible, life-changing albums that you would never dream of playing at a party. John Coltrane’s Giant Steps is a good example. It’s a phenomenal album, but you can’t concentrate on anything else while it’s playing!