Wednesday, October 2, 2013
How I Taste Whiskey
Last week, one of the people who was trying to figure out how I could possibly have a different opinion about a whiskey than other reviewers asked me under what conditions I taste whiskey and whether there were variables that could affect the tasting and explain my obviously erroneous results. In response, I thought I would let people in on my process.
When I'm taking tasting notes, I always use my Glencairn glass. Not just any glass mind you, but the same glass (to eliminate the common variation one gets from different glasses), and it is always sterilized by a lab prior to my using it.
All of my tastings are done between 10:00 and 11:00 pm Pacific Standard Time (between 11:00 and 12:00 pm during daylight savings). I have a special tasting room which keeps a constant temperature, humidity and barometric pressure. The room has an Argon gas environment to ensure that the whiskey will not oxidize while I am pouring or tasting it. Of course, this means that I have to hold my breath during tastings, but that is a small price to pay for consistency of results.
I don't eat for 24 hours prior to a tasting, and between tastings, I cleanse my palate with a single, low sodium Wheat Thin.
All of my notes are taken on a moleskin notebook with a number two pencil. Scores are recorded in the same notebook but with a magenta crayon from a Crayola 64 pack. (If anyone has any extra magenta crayons, I would be willing to trade for sets of 63 crayons, of which I have many).
Oh, and I only taste in the nude.
So you see, I have eliminated all possible external influences, as well as all of the fun from my whiskey tastings.