What works for you ?
The glen garioch 10 yr old @ 40% witch i thought ought to have been released at 43% or better as it tasted watery and faint seemed fuller and more flavorfull than in a previous incounter after chocolate.
NOT tap or Bottled water, these contain too many minerals that will affect your next sip of Scotch.
Depending on the Scotch I am about to try, dark chocolate can work but again will affect the taste of the Scotch as chocolate is thick and
takes more time to dissolve and leave the mouth. I like an 80% cacoa Dark chocolate
when having a speyside.
Bread and crackers is another but I tend to choose these when
moving to a Scotch will a large MALT flavor
DISTILLED Water is the best. (Room temp)
Of course, bottled water is not necessarily distilled water.
I remember Peter Allis talking about the blurb on the Evian bottle: Filtered through the Alpine rocks for 5,000 years - Use before Jan 2005...
However, what I find works best for my palate is to cleanse my olfactory system (that is my nose). So I like to keep a little bag of coffee beans around so that in between whiskies I can "clear my nose." I find that this helps more when tasting a whisky then anything else I could put in my mouth.
Do any of you do this or is there some negative aspect going on that I am unaware of?
I’ll try Your “little bag of coffee beans”- trick next time for sure. I’ll let You know if I detect any negative aspects of this proceeding.
However i doubt there is a waterproof way to do it. Im sure we all know on a tasting session after about 5 drams it all tastes better. And chances are that if you sample the fifth dram of yesterday today as your first, your views will be different.
Tap water is unreliable. If your own source is without chlorine taste, you are very lucky. Bottled water is more consistent, and I like some more than others. Incidentally, I don't care for Evian at all. (Besides, it's "naive" backwards.)
Frankly, I don't often care about cleansing the palate. I'm not interested in tasting whisky "in a vacuum" and making definitive notes (not to denigrate the many of you who do just that; it's just not my thing). I enjoy whisky in combination, or in sequence, with other things--after a meal, alternating with pints. If I feel the need to freshen my tongue, I will drink a bit of water.
Like Mr Tattieheid I like to enjoy a whisky or two but don't take the "tasting" as seriously as I used to some years ago. For me it turns into something pathological and clinical and it takes (for me) away some of the joy of drinking. Just whisky or beer or whisky will do thank you!
I don't try to clear my palate so much as try to make sure that my palate is clear. By that I mean, I try not to eat just before or during a "tasting". I would rather drink first then eat. Garlic, even when eaten hours before, makes everything (whiskey) taste bitter. Salt doesn't help either. Like many other people who have posted on this thread, I drink water between pours, whether I am changing whiskeys or not. Tap water is fine IMHO. I fill my whiskey glass with water, drink it off and wipe it with a clean cotton cloth. Then I nose the glass to see if I can smell the previous pour. Repeat as necessary.
I drink tap water even though we have a water cooler in our home. The water cooler chills the water and cold water has a bigger effect on my taste buds than chlorine. Also, I can't help thinking, "This glass of water costs 50 cents." I would rather have a water filter on our tap, but my wife likes the water cooler and doesn't want to lose the handy dandy spray head on the kitchen sink tap.
Ed wrote:I would rather drink first then eat.
Bad idea for me! But if it works for you, fine. Actually, the time I most enjoy a dram is right after eating.
Many times in pubs I've asked for a glass of water between drams, only to be assaulted by chlorine. Maybe I'm more sensitive to it than some of you--I swam competitively in high school, and I can barely stand to get into a pool now--but I find it extremely off-putting. I suppose I should carry a bottle when I go dramming. Fifty cents for water to avoid spoiling a $12 dram doesn't seem out of proportion.
When things get too bad ie 'Whisky Live' and the palate and the nose have just given up, I stop for half an hour, go and get something to eat and finish the meal with a long drink of water.
You know distilled water can be contaminated with bacteria. Also distilled water is not meant for consumption due to lack of quality control.
Given the risk of contamination from distilled water - the only way that seems to make sense is: Cleanse the palate with more whisky: Cleanse - rinse - repeat
On the subject of eating - showed my inexperience at Whisky Live this year. Myself and a friend met in a pub beforehand. "Shall we eat?" he said. "Nah, there's bound to be loads there" was my reply.
Your suggestion of a reisling antigued me and i thought of a posible excellent wine to cleanse a palate would be a Pelee Island Gwerstramiller as it leaves-off rather cleanly indeed and perhaps with the nuetrality of melba-toast would be an excellent cleansing combo. Hmmm toss-up between that and an ale with melba-toast.
Quite right Nock; A blessing when a whisky puts a smile on your face the second that it passes your lips but even nicer when the smile comes a soon as you get a snoot-full.
Ardaíonn ár ngrá muid féin níos airde de shior!
As to beer, I rarely switch to beer after I have begun to drink whiskey. I sometimes start with a beer, maybe two, especially if I aim to feel the effects. My first pour of the night might take me an hour to finish, my second almost as long. At that rate my liver can process it almost as fast as I am drinking. If I drink a beer or two I can drink whiskey faster. I drink water while I am drinking my pour. Maybe that is one reason that I don't mind drinking before eating even though that flies in the face of common sense. The rate at which I drink beer, well, let's just say that my beer never has a chance to get warm...
I have tried crackers and didn't like them as a palate cleanser. I ate the cracker and thought, now I need to cleanse my palate of the cracker. I ended up brushing my teeth with a dry toothbrush. I might try plain white rice sometime. The flavor isn't as 'strong' as crackers or bread, it doesn't stick to your teeth and there is always some about the house, this is Japan after all. I will let you know how it works out.
I have tried coffee, both rinsing out my mouth and smelling it, just sniffed my container of coffee grounds now. I can't report that it really helps me. No, "Oh, that's much better!" experience anyway.
Water is the best for me. Drinking more than sniffing. It clears most of the alcohol from the mouth and nose without adding any competing flavors or scents. The main reason that I don't sniff is that I often drink tap water. I don't think that sniffing chlorine would be of any help. When I quickly drink a glass of tap water I don't really get that much chlorine. It is down the hatch before I have a chance to smell it. Mr TattieHeid, you told of your aversion to chlorinated water earlier, do you get much of an aftertaste from it? Or is it just the nose as opposed to the finish that bothers you? For me swimming has only pleasant associations so I don't particularly mind it as long as it is not too strong.
I always clean my glass between different whiskies. A rinse is enough if the two pours are similar or not strongly flavored. If they are different I will wipe with a clean cotton cloth that is reserved for that task. I nose the glass afterwards to check that it is clean enough. If it is not or if it is a really smoky Islay I have a spray bottle filled with vodka that I use. A few quick squirts of that and wipe, then rinse with water. That is how I clean my glass at the end of the night as well. No detergent.
Mr Fjeld wrote:Please forgive me for saying so Ron, but wouldn't that be enjoying rather than cleansing ?
Oh yeah, the primary function is definitely enjoyment. If I looked into it, it wouldn't surprise me to find that the time I take to drink a pint between drams has as much, if not more, to do with cleansing the palate as the beer itself. If I sat down to a formal tasting I would likely try something else. However, last night as I went to the kitchen to try one of the other methods discussed I couldn't help but reach for a beer anyway. Friday night- guess I was in the mood for spoiling myself a bit
If I take myself as an example or illustration I can tell you I've become very lax about being "objective and neutral" towards tasting in general. Ok, when the situation dictates it like in an official tasting I'll use water and white bread as it does the job well. Apart from that I don't really care that much anymore. Beer and occasionaly wine is how I "live" and I'm perfectly happy enjoying it the way I want to. I suppose years of wine tasting has brought the "extremism" to and end - and I don't mind because I'm not gunning for the "whisky connoisseur" title. I just want to enjoy!
It's worth noting that I may have been spoiled when it comes to water--the tap water here is really very good. It's when I'm elsewhere that I get ambushed.
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