Sequencing whisky drams

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Bob & Jill
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Sequencing whisky drams

Postby Bob & Jill » Fri May 26, 2006 7:05 pm

“Sequencing” is a term I will use to describe purposely moving from one whisky to another with the idea of influencing subsequent flavors. For example, I find that a dram of a light, unpeated whisky tends to enhance the smoke in a subsequent dram of a heavily peated malt.

Now bear with me, I’m relatively new to the Single Malt world so maybe I’m being naive. Perhaps this is old stuff. Yet I haven’t found this topic explicitly discussed on the forum, by the term I use or by some other. I have, however, seen many references to what one ate immediately before enjoying a dram to influence certain flavors of that particular dram. So then, my question is: do other folks sometime (often, never) move from one Scotch to the next in a purposeful, ordered sequence with the idea of enhancing the desirable characteristics of a subsequent dram?
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Sequencing drams -light to dark.

Postby Muskrat Portage » Fri May 26, 2006 7:42 pm

B & J
I set up our tastings so that we start with the lighter drams and move towards the heavier (peated or iodine) drams. A basis we've tried lately is the Clustan Classification by David Wishart. This is done simply because the lighter drams would be overpowered by the more powerful flavours if done in reverse. We also cleanse our palates as completely as possible before going on to the next candidate.
May have to try "sequencing", as you've described, for fun.
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Postby Di Blasi » Fri May 26, 2006 7:51 pm

Hey Bob and Jill, (Bob), great topic! It's definitely smart to start with a lighter style whisky of course, as you state here, but I wonder if that will enhance or bring out the flavors in another heavier, or smokier whisky? Perhaps it might. I wonder if contrasting flavors in whisky will be what enhances the flavor. For example, having a blue cheese with port or a sweet dessert wine, (or smoky whisky even!), are wonderful contrasting flavors, bringing out the best flavor in the cheese and the wine. Perhaps whisky drinking works the same way.

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Postby parvus » Sat May 27, 2006 1:25 am

Di Blasi wrote:... but I wonder if that will enhance or bring out the flavors in another heavier, or smokier whisky?

I find that if I have a Bruichladdich 15, then follow it up with something peaty, I tend to find the peat is much more pronounced. I also notice that other flavours are easier to identify than if I had just gone for the peaty one first.

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Postby Di Blasi » Sat May 27, 2006 1:44 am

I usually won't start with a peaty, smoky whisky, unless that's all I'll be drinking. And I'll always start with the least amount of alcohol, so I also don't limit the next whisky's potential to be fully enjoyed.

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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat May 27, 2006 2:04 am

Most people doing tastings try very hard not to let one dram influence the next, as they are trying to evaluate each dram objectively. I don't think it's really possible. Context is everything! I'm with you, B&J; I like to experiment with sequencing. I've noticed, for example, that if I follow my peat-monster Signatory Vintage Islay 5yo Cask Strength with my Cadenheads Clynelish, the latter becomes much more oily and full-bodied. Haven't tried the other way around yet, but I will. Forget the rules about lighter malts first, peaty malts later--that's for people trying not to let one influence the next. Try every combination! Some won't work; that's okay, don't do it again. Some will surprise you. You might even find that a whisky you don't normally like fits in well after something else. I think this is loads of fun, much more than trying to objectively quantify everything.

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Postby Di Blasi » Sat May 27, 2006 2:14 am

Yes, I guess I'll contradict myself now. What I did last night, after starting with the Linkwood 12y Flora and Fauna 43%, was move to the Arran Single Cask Marsala Cask Finish 56.9%, then back to the Linkwood. Surprisingly, the Linkwood stood up to it, and was tougher than expected. But I was too tired to note differed characteristics to what I first tasted.

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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Sat May 27, 2006 10:36 am

I have actually noticed that it can work the other way too sometimes. I don't do it too often but I have started witha talisker 10 which has wonderful spice/peper and a nice touch of peat. However then I have gone to and Irish potstill and found that the flavours can be fully alive and not afected by the stronger talisker before it.

Srtange but true....

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Postby Lawrence » Sat May 27, 2006 5:27 pm

It's an interesting question and I've generally gone the other direction of trying to reset my palate between drams so that each one is scored on ts own merits and not influenced by the previous dram. It can be done, by using a little water and some time.

In any case as the others pointed out, food or the previous dram, without the intervention of palate cleansing, can affect the next dram but to enhance it? I'll have to experiment.

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Postby Jan » Sat May 27, 2006 9:12 pm

Bob, this is a very interesting idea you bring up here.

While I usually have my drams in the "standard" order of light/not peat > medium peat > heavy peat, I have never conciously tried to order drams with the purpose that they should influence each other.

Perhaps some experiments in this direction would be interesting...


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Postby Di Blasi » Sun May 28, 2006 1:55 am

Dark chocolate is good to eat in between tastes of different whiskies, to reset the palate or accentuate the taste.

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