So you want to know a little bit more about me and my principles? Sure, no problem! I’m Thijs Klaverstijn, a whisky enthusiast, blogger and freelance writer from The Netherlands. I’ve been drinking whisky since 2006 or so, but it was my first trip to Scotland back in 2013 which turned my interest in whisky into something of an obsession. It’s all been going downhill since 😉
I was born in 1985, smack dab in the middle of one of the biggest crises the whisky industry has ever seen. So when it comes to finding decent whisky from my birth year, I’m shit out of luck. Thankfully I’m not the sentimental type, and I’ll happily settle for good whisky from any other year.
Why I write
Whisky is my main identifier. The other one is that I write. I am the proud owner of a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, so when it came to finding an outlet for my whisky obsession, starting a blog was an obvious choice. That’s how Words of Whisky came about in 2013. My background in journalism means that I value journalistic principles, like objectivity, impartiality and independence, and apply them to my blog.
Writing is not just something that I do for fun on Words of Whisky, it’s also my profession. I write for (among others) Whisky Passion, the most influential whisky magazine in The Netherlands, and Scotchwhisky.com. There’s not much I like better than interviewing people and crafting a story. I’m often most interested in the human interest part of whisky, which is why it is such a treat to talk to and write about people like Tatsuya Minagawa and Keith Cruickshank.
How do I rate whisky?
Tasting notes are a big part of Words of Whisky. I’m stating the obvious here, but they are very personal. Don’t go out and buy something just because I say it is good. And if you do so anyway, don’t come crying when the whisky doesn’t fit your preference.
Because tasting notes are such a personal affair, not everybody likes to give ratings to whisky, but I do use the 100 point rating scale. It is not without it faults, but I am a fan. The value of the 100 point rating scale is perfectly explained by Angus MacRaild in this blog post on whiskysponge. Here’s how to interpret my scores:
96 to 100: Legendary. I’ve never given a score this high. 93 to 95: World-class, you can never have enough of this. 90 to 92: Excellent. If my wallet permits, I’d buy this in a heartbeat. 87 to 89: Truly good whisky, would like to have it in my collection. 84 to 86: Still good stuff. I’d be happy if someone pours me a dram. 81 to 83: Slightly above average, but it’s not all good. 76 to 80: Average. Most entry-level whiskies are in this category. 70 to 75: Wouldn’t recommend this, but still drinkable. 65 to 69: Simply below par, I’d stay away from it. 60 to 64: Just too faulty to warrant a higher score. 59 and lower: Failure.
Where does the whisky come from?
For my tasting notes I mostly use 3cl samples, and sometimes I review a whisky I own myself. I sometimes receive review samples from producers or independent bottlers. As stated above, I’m a strong advocate for independence and objectivity, so the fact that these samples are gifted to me won’t prevent me from giving my honest opinion. If a review is based on a gifted sample, than I always say so in the blog post.
But the simple fact is, I obtain most of the samples I review by trading for them or by simply buying them. I’d say less than 10 percent is sent to me by the industry. Contrary to popular believe, most whisky bloggers don’t blog for the off chance that they get free samples.