The first time a Scotch is being rated, a fairly rough outline is followed:
- Being honest, God fearing individuals, all pours are neat (or with a few drops of distilled water, depending on the reviewer). No ice cubes are involved in the rating process unless specified by the Scotch itself.
- The Scotch is swirled, smelled, sipped, sometimes gargled but never boiled. Everyone provides a couple of adjectives which are used for “Word(s) on the Street”.**
- As the tasting turns to drinking, the situation rapidly devolves. The resulting quotations are appended to the “Word(s) on the Street”.**
- The bottle, box and / or packaging are all examined and a few “Pros, Cons and Neutralities” are derived as appropriate.
- The Copy of the box is reviewed with all obviously true statements being underlined. Anything blatantly false gets stricken. All remaining text can be taken as either innocuous or as indicating an unreachable consensus.
- A conversation is held to determine the best location for consuming the Scotch. This process usually takes several minutes and includes a number of careful considerations such as attire, seating arrangements and the potential for animal involvement. The classification of the Scotch is usually fairly apparent at this point.
- Taking into consideration everything from the previous steps, current level of intoxication and all former Scotches, a final rating is chosen. Scores range from 1 to 5, in half steps with a “+” or “-” indicating a slight lean in one direction or another.
**It is important that steps two and three take place prior to review of the box and its associated copy.
Purchasing full bottles affords a periodic revisiting of previous assessments. Ratings and opinions can (and WILL) change as a reflection of increased experience. For example, Speyburn (the first Scotch reviewed) was originally rated a 3 / 5. By the tenth Scotch, that number was changed thrice yielding first a 2.5, then a 1.5+ and now a flat 2.
In the case of changing ratings, clearly documenting the updates and differentiating the changes is difficult in this medium. Bearing that in mind, care is taken to ensure all of the developing views and comments are retained in a hard copy notebook. The book itself is locked carefully away so as to prevent tampering by Scotch industry spies, however scans of the hard copy sheets are available and will eventually be made accessible within the reviews.