Blind tasting obviously prevents any preconceptions on what to expect from a whisky, so my vote would be 'yes'. But I think the most important thing is that the reader (of WhiskyMag or whatever else) is told whether the tasting is done blind or not.
The recent blind mega-tasting is very interesting, but I'd LOVE to see more of the tasting notes gathered in that event!
whisky ever tasted before or since. What was that all about, I forget, except it had something to do with getting those "damn Jerries" out of the garden. Am still looking for a bottle of Caol Ila here in Milwaukee. It's like finding a needle in a haystack.
Thanks for your patience with my ignorance about whisky. I've taken Lex's advice and started to do some reading. Blind tasting of whisky will prove that no matter how perfect a person's taste buds; a blind taster will not be able to tell you the exact brand of whisky being tasted. This was tried in the high-end stereo equipment business over the past decade. Blindfolded listeners, even those musicians with perfect pitch, were unable to tell with any measurable degree of accuracy which speakers they were listening to. The speaker tests were conducted using the highest standards of scientific experimentation methodology with a control group and an experimental group, etc. An overwhelming percentage of the listeners were wrong! This was all published in dozens of articles in such periodicals as "Stereophile"; "The Absolute Sound"; and "The Audiophile". If blindfolded, I seriously doubt if a taster could discern the difference between, Ardbeg, Laphroiag, Lagaluvin or Talisker. The tastes are too similar, and quite excellent, I might add. Like excellent high-fidelity equipment, the more one pays for the whisky, the smaller the benefits in taste become. Once you become accustomed to the sound of a pair of Jim Theil's at $5000.00 per pair, moving up to a pair of B&W 800's at $9000.00 per pair, the improved sound quality is very slight, although it is there. The same holds true for excellent whisky, the difference in taste between an excellent whisky at $40 to $60 per bottle and a $400 to $600 bottle is really very small.
A blind nosing and tasting could be very nice, but that is nice if you don't want to find yourself deceived by any color or brand. I think that this is more to get your self to your maximum senses, your only reliable tool is your nose. From time to time this could be fun, and you can't misled your self by other opinions from people who are selling a particular brand or their opinions about a specific brand. However I can understand why people say: "no blind nosing and tasting for me" because they want to note the color and its viscosity etc. I think that blind nosing and tasting is useful if there is some "brand benefit" is involved.....
Blind tastings is the way to go when sampling whiskies
Except for on thing: WHy bother comparing or even taking notes on the coulour of whisky? It's pretty pointless, since caramel (E150) or other artificial colouring might have been added to obtain the "corporate colour" or the "right shade of reddish brown"...
And Frederick, i think you're mistaken. It is definitely possible to identify Talisker, Laphroaig, Knockando, and other brands in a blind tasting. I've done it and many others too.
Most times my friends and I taste whisky we tend to overindulge things get out of hand, and the tasting turns into a *whisky*-party...
However, there are several whiskies from Speyside where I haven't got a clue what brand or age I am drinking. It's not always easy
Regards and Skål
[This message has been edited by mgmtmbeh (edited 27 May 2001).]
which I particularly enjoy is "Booker's Bourbon ,produced by Jim Beam brands.
It has a complex nose ,a smooth taste
.and a very long finish. Reminds me of an excellent cigar.
A great duty free choice for those of
you leaving the States for your home countries.
Caledonian Selection Caperdonach 31 yr, 1970, 104.6°
Hart Brothers Clynelish 15 yr, 1984, 108.2°
Caledonian Selection Laphroaig 20 yr, 1981, 110.6°
Longmorn 25 yr (sherry and bourbon cask), 110.0°
Highland Park 10 yr, 1988, 115.2°
SMWS Mortlach 13 yr
These are the cask-strength bottlings that I personally rated at 8/10 or higher. I drank each of them undiluted.
in addition to some great suggestions above, I'd like to add the
Lagavulin 12 y 58%
Signatory's Edradour Straight from the cask 60.2 %
They're all quite affordable, especially the Lagavulin, since all other recent Diageo (former UDV) releases seem to be extraordinary overpriced.
[forgot to say:] I usually add some drops of water.
[2nd correction:] the Douglas Laing Brora Old&Rare Platinum Selection 1970/2002 at 58.4% can be taken neat.
[This message has been edited by Rudy (edited 13 April 2003).]
[This message has been edited by Rudy (edited 18 April 2003).]
although this is an older issue, I'd like to share my experience with blind tastings.
If asked, what the best way would be to enjoy and appreciate whisky my outcome would be:
1. Ex aequo: with your best friends or at blind tastings
3. At 'normal' tastings
I have participated in some blind tastings and that is absolutely great fun!!
In a group of 20 people we got 10 samples in clear glasses with someone animating the session. After each sample, the discussions and taking notes, the bottle was revealed.
You really find out how your taste buds work. Especially when there's an Irish whisky among them and everybody claims it to be one of the Lowlands...(to be honest, I did not think of Irish either...) I learned quite a lot from the discussions we had.
What you see, is that 'well known' regional characteristics can be identified by many group members, with the experienced participants getting approximately 50% right!
For me that still as a long way to go, but well, I keep on practising!
PS1: there was no brand benefit involved, there were OB's, independents, finishes, cask strengths, limited editions, almost any variation possible.
PS2: Frank, have you found your bottle of Coal Ila by now? Surely since there's a range of OB now. Have you already improved your score of 33.3%? And about high end audio: there are also some very characteristical differences like dynamic vs. electrostatic speakers or solid state vs. tube amplifiers. So here the differences should be noticeable as well...
We use plain glasses so the tasters can study the colour, appearance and clarity of the whisky.
Dave and Michael have their samples prepared. They assess and score them once and write their notes. They assess them a second time to 'double check' their notes. The identities of the whiskies are then revealed allowing the tasters to write their comments.
The only exception to this is the occasional food and whisky matching exercise, which tend to be far less formal.
I hope this helps to explain.
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