Refined Vices was established in 2007 to provide rum reviews and whisky reviews at a time when there were not many reviews available. The core concept is and has always been the same; to provide in depth reviews and excellent quality photographs for the consumer to help them make an informed decision before committing to purchase.
As we launch our fourth iteration of the website, we have made significant changes to the design, rating system and most importantly we’ve adopted a new type of rum categorisation. Read below why and how we’ve changed.
Why the change?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been part of the global rum community for a number of years, constantly learning new things and helping to elevate the rum category together with everyone via education and sharing information. 2013 and beyond have been particularly important in the rum scene as we have learnt more and more about the production methods and the way rums are marketed to us, and believe me when I say it has been an eye opening experience.
Everything I've come to learn over the years has shown me a new way to think about spirits and that meant I needed to adjust what I was doing, as my old ways were not cutting it anymore. The complete overhaul of Refined Vices, my review methods and the new rum categorisation is my way of sharing the knowledge I've learned in what I think is the best and most logical way to share as much information as possible.
One ongoing conversation has been the use of additives in rums, misleading age statements and places of origin. This is something I wish to address to a certain extent on this website as I now look at my old writings with a small cringe and certain nostalgia. I will also be concentrating more on independent bottlers and the Australian rum scene as several small distilleries are beginning to release their first products on the market. I look forward with great anticipation the resurgence of traditional small batch Australian rum production in the coming years.
What we’ve changed
From a technical point of view, the technology sustaining the website was getting quite old so it had to be upgraded to boost security and overall functionality. The old design also needed more than a few improvements and a fresh coat of paint.
This version of Refined Vices is the fourth iteration. While not a dramatic change from the previous design, it has been updated for modern devices and larger monitors with a few graphical updates. While far from perfect, we hope it provides a better user experience than previously.
The old three star rating system was deemed to be inadequate and has been replaced with a slightly modified version of Nick Chlebnikowskis rating system that I think provides far superior consistency and is more objective than most others, while still maintaining the necessary subjective experience. Some reviews have been already converted to the new system, see the list below.
The awards have been updated, and there are now four tiers of awards beginning with the classic Bronze (Great) award. The other awards include Silver (Outstanding), Gold (Exceptional) and the Legendary Unicorn award that will only be awarded to the rare specimens deemed to have reached perfection on our objective and subjective scale. Whatever it is I have not yet found it, though I have some ideas in which direction to look.
New Rum Categories
This is the big one. Rum has long suffered from ill, meaningless categorisation, until Luca Gargano released a more meaningful production based categorisation similar to Single Malt Whisky. Refined Vices has officially adopted this classification, as we think it is the most logical way to think about rum so far. Read all the details about the rum classification on this page.
The way we review
The tasting method has remained the same, except we now use the above mentioned brand new rating system. We always use the same tasting glass and conduct tastings under the same conditions for consistency and to avoid any outside factors from influencing the tasting. Most reviews now also have extra information such as hydrometer or density meter readings and other fine details where relevant.
Last not but least, we have installed a security certificate on the site.
A special thank you to everyone who has supported Refined Vices over the years and I hope our new content will continue to be of interest and shareworthy!