cowdery wrote:My difference with Mike is that I think it's wrong to equate personal preference with quality. One is subjective, the other is objective.
That's trying to pass off your personal opinion as objective fact. We have enough of that in politics.
Chuck, you raise some interesting issues. I am going to say something that is sure to puzzle some folks. Quality is not objective..........but neither is it subjective. Quality, at least as I understand our use of it in this context, is public....but it is not objective. I know of no way to 'prove' in a truly objective manner that ANY bourbon is superior to another in quality.
Yet, here I am, saying that JBB is 'better' than JBW as if I held the key to quality in some generally accepted (i.e. public) way. This, to me, is the best we can do (my opinion) in being objective about quality. So, I should have said, 'It is my opinion that most experienced bourbon drinkers (my quality judges being the experienced drinking public) would say that JBB is better than JBW, knowing full well that some folks will claim the exact opposite
As to my blast, 'SOME BOUBONS ARE BETTER THAN OTHER BOURBONS', I hope you will forgive my shouting, but I do stand by that. I certainly believe this statement comes as close to being objective as we can come in regard to matters of taste.........and matters of quality. Quality, like value, is about human judgement which is, as far as I can see, never quite objective in any way beyond dispute (say in the way that saying the earth revolves around the sun is objective).
It is my intent (foolish man) to try to carve out a niche outside of subjectivity (or mere opinion) for judging bourbon. I believe that to say that all taste is subjective, hence beyond challenge, is to fail to recognize the patience and skill of master distillers who strive for better quality bourbon all the time. They are not going to go to an inexperienced bourbon drinker for confirmation that they have succeeded despite the fact that this inexperienced taster is entitled to an opinion from tasting. Their own judgement and that of a few known experienced and acute tasters such as yourself and Mike Veach are often included among these.
I further think that the line so often drawn twixt subjective and objective obscures the fact that even though perfect objectivity is beyond our human capacity, pure subjective is available only to the insane. Being human is to be imperfect, but saying, 'some bourbons are better than other bourbons' (no shouting this time), seems a sensible and human thing to say.
On the other hand, saying that JBB is better than JBW is, as you have pointed out, a bit more problematic, even though I certainly believe it to be true. To be sure about this I bought a 50 ml bottle of JBW (I have some JBB) and will test my belief within a few days.