Thijs Klaverstijn Kingairloch 2

Thijs Klaverstijn, Whisky Writer & Enthusiast

I’m Thijs Klaverstijn, a whisky and spirits connoisseur, and freelance writer from The Netherlands. Whisky has been part of my life for nearly two decades, but it was my first trip to Scotland that changed everything. No longer just a hobby, whisky grew into a passion while Scotland became a home away from home.

I was born in 1985, smack dab in the middle of one of the biggest crises the Scotch whisky industry has ever seen. When it comes to finding decent whisky from my birth year, I’m shit out of luck. But I’m not the sentimental type, and I’ll happily settle for good whisky from any other year.

Why I write

Whisky is just one of my identifiers. Another is my background in writing. 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 this 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, such as objectivity, impartiality and independence, and apply them to this website.


Writing is not just a pastime for me. It’s my profession. I write for Whisky Passion, the largest whisky magazine in The Netherlands. Then there are outlets like, for which I’ve written expert tasting notes and insightful articles. I’ve contributed to Whisky Magazine, Irish Whiskey Magazine, and Gin Magazine, among others. Also, I’ve collaborated on David Stirk’s seminal book Independent Scotch, The History of Independent Bottlers.

Over the years I’ve visited countless distilleries all over Europe and the world. I’ve also spoken at length and have interviewed many prominent industry figures, each of whom had fascinating lessons to impart. And I worked my way through several spirit courses. I am an accredited liquorist, the highest such title for a spirits expert in The Netherlands. During this course I expanded my knowledge on a whole range of spirits, from Cognac and Armagnac, to Grappa, Calvados, and Genever, as well as a slew of others. The course concluded with a blind tasting exam.

Finally, I’m a judge for the World Drinks Awards and Icons of Whisky.

How I rate whisky

Tasting notes are a big part of Words of Whisky. These are very personal. Don’t go out and buy something just because I say it is good. However, you might over time learn where our preferences overlap.

As tasting notes are such a personal affair, not everybody likes rate whiskies. I’m not one of those people. I use a version of the well-known 100-point rating scale (although converted to a 10-point scale with a single decimal). It is not without its faults, but I am a fan. The value of the 100-point rating scale is perfectly explained by Angus MacRaild and Serge Valentin on Here’s how to interpret my scores:

9.6 to 10.0: Legendary. I’ve never given a score this high.
9.3 to 9.5: World-class, you can never have enough of this.
9.0 to 9.2: Excellent. If my wallet permits, I’d buy this in a heartbeat.
8.7 to 8.9: Truly good whisky, would like to have it in my collection.
8.4 to 8.6: Still good stuff. I’d be happy if someone pours me a dram.
8.1 to 8.3: Slightly above average, but it’s not all good.
7.6 to 8.0: Average. Most entry-level whiskies are in this category.
7.0 to 7.5: Wouldn’t recommend this, but still drinkable.
6.5 to 6.9: Simply below par, I’d stay away from it.
6.0 to 6.4: Just too faulty to warrant a higher score.
5.9 and lower: Failure.

Where the whisky comes from

I mostly use small samples for my tasting notes, and sometimes I review a whisky I own myself. I often receive review samples from producers or independent bottlers. I’m a strong advocate for independence and objectivity, so the nature of these samples won’t prevent me from giving my honest opinion. If a review is based on a gifted sample, I always mention it in the article.

But the simple fact is, I obtain many samples I review by simply buying them. Contrary to popular belief, most whisky bloggers don’t blog on the off chance that they get free samples.

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