Taste is 100% subjective. We are often treated to that piece of information as if it is emblazoned in immutable bronze and is a truth too obvious to be debated. BULLSHIT!
Taste is NEVER 100% subjective.......... unless there are no other humans on planet earth who affect our opinions (and tastes). And unless our tastes never change!
Taste ALWAYS has subjective components....... and certainly differs by person, but so what?? Subjectivity can NEVER be the best, or only, measure of taste. Even as far back as the Romans it was known that taste is largely a matter of opinion (de gustibus non est disputandum). Again, I say, SO WHAT? Taste, to be even slightly interesting to humans, is PUBLIC.
The problem here is that, in so far as bourbon is concerned, some bourbons are better than others, irrespective of personal taste opinions. True, not a one of those 'better' bourbons will win universal approval......... which only says that some people have bad taste, or unique taste, or that on this particular bourbon have their own biases. That, me lads and lassies, is not an insurmountable obstacle to recognizing quality, and allows plenty of room for the assertion that some bourbons are 'BY GOD' better than others.
Many times on BE I have made this similiar argument, and I am ever more convinced that to say that everyone's taste is their own is not to say much. It is, at best, trivially true.
Still, it is unimportant. Would you trust an opinion, however subjective, on bourbon, to someone who has never, ever, had a sip of bourbon. Not lucking fickly. Subjective taste is always important, but it can be cultivated, and it will change with experience......... and be BETTER (most likely, but not definitely)!!
To MIKE, that some bourbons are better than others (irrespective of cost) is the basis upon which Bourbon Enthusisast was founded. If it were not so, what would be the point? Rarely is this an all or nothing world.......... and there you have my subjective opinon........ defended as best I can. If you want to take the other side of this argument, you must be prepared to defend something called 'solipsism'........ which effectly says that all I know is what is in my own mind (complete subjectivity)......... everything else is suspect......... and you are welcomed to defend it, but be warned that it lacks credibility, almost universally. Who, in their right mind, would argue that?
Please be advised that I am not disparaging individual opinons about bourbon........... they exist, they are important. But they, in themselves, carry little weight unless they are 'informed'. Now, if you ask me to define 'informed' to the degree that everyone is satisfied with that definition, forget it. There are things about which we will ever contend.......... but that does not mean that: (1) we should abondon things of interest because we cannot decide on the criteria by which to judge them, or (2) deciding that going beyond our sure and secure subjective opinions is not possible to an acceptable degree (we do that every day on other matters).
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas