I had an experience two years ago that I've been mulling over in my mind but have been unable to come up with a definitive answer. I was on antibiotics for two weeks due to an infected tooth and during that time I stopped drinking, it sucked. (My dentist later told me, "Oh I know you, I gave you a prescription that would allow you to continue drinking" ).
In any case my first dram at the end of the two weeks was an OB Laphroaig 10 and it knocked my socks off it was so strong. I couldn't believe it; it was like a Laphroaig of old. However naturally after a few drams the effect disappeared.
Last year after my annual 30 days of not drinking (it's once again rapidly approaching, shudder) I made sure that my first dram was a Laphroaig 10 and .......nothing. It was like I had been drinking Laphroaig all month long.
In any case your thoughts on the subject would be appreciated.
I can't say I'm very keen on staying away from whisky for very long - but then I only drink whisky every other week and occasionaly in between.
However, in other respects the process of aging have quite strong effects on all our senses such as hearing and sight in particular - and I wouldn't be surprised if taste and palate is affected too.
Not that I worry a lot!
However, there are times when - even having only had a dram the night before - a whisky can suddenly blow your tastebuds away.
I'm convinced it's simply the variability of our palate, and the influence of what else was recently there, e.g. did we recently brush our teeth? eat fruit? have confectionary? drink juice?
All of these leave residue and texture on our tongues, and will affect how our palate perceives the first hit of spirit.
A palate cleanser before a whisky (a gentle beer is best) is a tremendous way to prepare the palate for what is to come.
What is the reason btw for the 30 days hell you go trough? (Only answer if it has to do with whisky, I dont want to nose in your private life) Is it like a taste-reset or something?
Admiral, you suprised me there with a mild beer as a palate cleanser, so a standard beer neutralizes the palate? Will this work between 3 drams too? like 3 drams, a beer, then 3 again etc...?
I am really curious because I could use a good "cleanser" on tasting festivals.
Your experience confirmed my opinion about this.
I still use Laphroaig to introduce people, as the palate of that is powerful enough to rise above the alcohol effects on the tongue.
so a standard beer neutralizes the palate? Will this work between 3 drams too? like 3 drams, a beer, then 3 again etc...?
I'm not sure Tom....I've only used beer as a palate cleanser before a tasting session with whiskies. I can't say I've ever then turned to beer whilst in between whiskies.
I have a colleague who is actually a bit of an expert in these matters. I shall consult him and report back!
Aidan, thats a good point, I have no doubt that the one's among us that have a dram every day have less sensitive tastebuds for alcoholic strength then someone that does so occasionally. This is a pitty, because it happens when I am really fond of a specific dram I offer it to someone that rarely or never drinks whisky, and every time, with whatever whisky all they say is, "ouch, jeez, hot stuff this is" all they receive is the alcoholic bite, rarely anything more.
Si I guess it all makes sence to "reset" your tastebuds by staying off whisky for awhile.
I wouldn't count on beer as a palate cleanser if I were planning to make an "objective" tasting. But I never do that, anyway, and very much enjoy alternating good pints and good drams.
Lawrence wrote:The simple act of 'sniffing' a glass of water will 'clean' the nose and 'reset' it. Try it, it works quite well.
You are absolutely right Lawrence. I tried this in the HP HTH and was amazed by the results. Thanks alot for this, it is something I will do everytime I'm at a tasting as of now.
No opportunity arrised yet to try the beer, but it will come to it shortly.
I had read it before in his book but must have forgotten about it. It was one of the first books I bought. YOU told us so, so you deserve the credit. I get the feeling you want to point out Mr Hills' value for us after I raved against him. If this is so, dont worry, I was a bit insulted by his new book, but can never forget what he has done for us malt enthousiast before. He was a pioneer and for that I will always respect him.
And the passengers on my bus today were musing about whether one could raise one's blood alcohol level high enough to kill the mozzies (them's skeeters in Arkansas) that bite you. Alas, .5 per cent would be about the level in Coca Cola, negligible to any who drink it, but more than enough to kill you as BAC.
I broke the drought with a cask-strength (60%) Imperial.
I found it a little hot, but of course, just about any 60% whisky would be hot!
But I didn't find it overpowering or uncomfortable, so I conclude that a 12 day break has not caused my palate to fade!
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