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Rating System
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Rating System and How We Review

ScienceThis section of Refined Vices explains how and where spirits are reviewed and how they are rated.

All the reviews are intended for consumers, aficionados as well as professionals of the drinks industry looking to find out more information about specific or new products.




Producers and Retailers:

If you wish to use tasting notes from Refined Vices on your website or product label, you are more than welcome to do so as long as you remember to mention Refined Vices.


Please contact us to let us know.


If you wish to help keep this site alive, send us samples for review. More details here under the "How?" title.


The Review Staff

Refined Vices, at the moment, consists of a one man review team and the occasional guest reviewer who are all very passionate about the spirits we review.


Tasting Methods

Tastings are always conducted in the same room and using the same glassware and tasting methods. This way products can be reviewed with minimal disturbance, safe from the outside factors and in the same way, to ensure consistency and integrity in the reviews time after time.


To properly familiarize oneself with the product, all reviews are done thoroughly over a period of a few days; We believe it is important to set some time aside, to live with and really enjoy the spirits, to truly get the most out of it.


Tasting Notes

When reviewing, Appearance, Nose, Taste and Aftertaste are judged;

is where the colour, clarity and any other visual qualities of the spirit are taken into consideration.


The presentation of the product or the packaging could be considered as 'appearance' but it is not scored, thus it is not included in the actual tasting notes.

Nose of the spirit, or the aroma is the first teaser before the taste. Here we evaluate the subtle nuances, smoothness, balance and the overall enjoyability of the aromas.


Taste and aftertaste, together with the nose, are criticised the most and like with the nose the flavours, balance of the flavours, the body, smoothness and the length of the aftertaste are noted.


As an Ingredient

Occasionally we will create delicious concoctions if we think a particular spirit would serve that purpose well.


Final thoughts is where we put together our honest opinions of the product as a whole and write down any additional information we see fit.


Scoring and Categorization

Whiskey, Bourbon, Scotch and Rum are all judged in their own categories and Rum is further divided into Light Rum, Spiced Rum, Gold Rum and Aged Rum and in some instances, Rum Flavoured Spirits and Cachaça.

We feel categorisation like this is necessary because if you compare Bourbon and Scotch Whisky for instance, you will notice they are different kind of whiskies produced using different methods as is Rum and Spiced Rum.



Each product is awarded with either a Gold, Silver or a Bronze medal or not awarded at all.


A three award system is used instead of the widely used numerical system because, in our opinion, a small numerical difference between scores reveals little or absolutely nothing. We believe a three award system is much more accessible and convenient.


Gold: This spirit is of exceptional quality.

Silver: This spirit has what it takes to stand out and is highly recommended.
Bronze: A bronze award winner is nothing to scoff at, after all it is still a winner!

No award:
Spirits not awarded are generally not recommended but these spirits can be great for something else, which is why it is adviceable to read the review rather than blindly trusting the awards.

Awards can be found at the end of each review.



Many reviewers consider and rate a product lower or higher depending on its price. At Refined Vices you can rest assured the price wont affect your rating. Only what is in the bottle is rated.


If you have any questions regarding anything mentioned on this page, head to the forums and write us or use the contact page.


- Refined Vices


Gold, Silver, Bronze.