PDA

View Full Version : ultimate newbie question



Gibb
05-11-2009, 16:47
Ok, i expect to get laughed at for this one but here goes anyway. Is there a way to get past the burn, like any tips or tricks. I have spent several hundred dollars int he past few months on good burbons scotches etc, and really can't get past the burn if i drink it straight. I drink a lot of wine and craft beer, i know how to taste, but the strong stuff kicks my ass. So other than adding water coke etc, what can i do?

kickert
05-11-2009, 16:59
Ok, i expect to get laughed at for this one but here goes anyway. Is there a way to get past the burn, like any tips or tricks. I have spent several hundred dollars int he past few months on good burbons scotches etc, and really can't get past the burn if i drink it straight. I drink a lot of wine and craft beer, i know how to taste, but the strong stuff kicks my ass. So other than adding water coke etc, what can i do?

I started drinking my bourbon on the rocks (3 cubes) and letting it mellow out for a few minutes before drinking it. One night when I did not have any ice, I tried watering it down and got used to that. Slowly I got to where I used less water, and now I take it straight.

Don't apologize for using ice or water... eventually you will get to where you want more taste (especially if you are buying premium bourbons).

Special Reserve
05-11-2009, 17:01
Gibb,

I'd suggest diluting with a little room temperature water, either bottled or deionized (filtered). Set up some experiments such as 1:1 dilution of bourbon and water or 1:4 bourbon and water to where you like it best and then try with a little higher concentration of bourbon. Drink at a concentration that you are comfortable with for a while and then make a drink a little stronger and then drink that for a while.

If nothing else, bourbon does not have to be drank neat.

Good luck.

Will

smokinjoe
05-11-2009, 17:41
Hey, Gibby. Throw one of your bottles in the fridge. Chilling it down that way can take the edge off. And, since there's no ice to melt, you don't risk diluting the flavors you still want to experience. I always have a bottle chilling in the fridge, for those times my pipes are a little raw. Good luck!

camduncan
05-11-2009, 17:53
I find ice works well to dull the burn on most bourbons, but if I don't want to 'water down' my pour, taking very small sips tends to help with all but the hottest bourbons.

ILLfarmboy
05-11-2009, 17:59
Other than adding water, try smaller sips. beyond that, I agree with Special Reserve. Dilute with room temprature water.

You may find, as I do, that using ice or chilling it only accentuates the ethanol and blunts the flavors.

It may be seen like sacrilege here on a bourbon web site, but if you are new to whiskey in general, give Irish a try. For a non whiskey drinker, It is probably the easiest whiskey type to learn to appreciate. Then simply expand your horizons from there.

wadewood
05-11-2009, 18:03
nothing wrong with a couple of ice cubes or cutting with water, especially on the barrel proof bottles. The highest score ever in the SB Taster of the Year contest was Randy Blank and he put ice in his taste samples.

Waiahi
05-11-2009, 18:33
Breathing.

Inhale through the nose, exhale all of your breath until your lungs are empty through your mouth.

Sip your whiskey. Swallow and close your mouth shut.

Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth again.

It really works. :cool:

Gibb
05-11-2009, 18:59
so ice or water don't completly destroy the flavors, didn't expect that. i think i will try that with my bottle of elijah craig, gonna try that breathing thing too.

kickert
05-11-2009, 19:11
so ice or water don't completly destroy the flavors, didn't expect that.

Well ya gotta be able to drink it to appreciate it.

TNbourbon
05-11-2009, 19:13
The middle of your tongue has fewer tastebuds than the tip and edges.
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic-art/584034/111242/A-Taste-centres-on-the-tongues-surface
Try to ingest your pour directly to the tongue's middle, and let it matriculate out from there. It will dilute the effect even of G.T. Stagg.
It won't, however, eliminate the effect. You still won't be able to properly evaluate more than a few whiskeys during a single sitting -- but, it WILL lessen the effect of their proofs, as the alcohol effect is 'wasted' on the less-sensitive tongue-center.

barturtle
05-11-2009, 19:26
If you take small enough sips, your saliva should be all you need to dilute the whiskey...

Other than that: grow a pair and drink it like a man:lol:

(somebody had to say it)

MissingKY
05-11-2009, 19:27
I agree with everyone's comments that a little bit of ice goes a long way. Another thing that worked for me: seek out a milder, smoother pour and sort of work your way up from there. When I first started drinking my whiskeys neat, I couldn't handle high-proof stuff or things with very prominent spicy rye flavors, like OGD or a straight rye. I did find, however, that Four Roses Small Batch was less aggressive on my tongue while still being tasty and flavorful; I could enjoy it without hacking and just feeling burn. Between finding the right bourbon, taking small sips, and using a cube of ice or two, you'll get there eventually!

- Ethan

fishnbowljoe
05-11-2009, 20:16
so ice or water don't completly destroy the flavors, didn't expect that. i think i will try that with my bottle of elijah craig, gonna try that breathing thing too.

When I first started getting into bourbon, I was lucky enough to find a somewhat local store, that had a great store manager. He showed me the ropes so to speak. It's amazing how you can change the taste of a bourbon just by adding a few drops of water, or a couple of ice cubes. Ice or water can take the "edge" off a higher proof bourbon and make it much easier on the palate. It will calm the alcohol burn down somewhat, and let the flavors come through. Conversely, you can add ice or water to a bourbon that just has a fair or mediocre taste to it, and it will bring out flavors that you couldn't tell were there before. That's the beauty of bourbon. Just a little change in the way you drink your bourbon can have a startling affect on the taste. Don't be alarmed or confused by all this. All it takes is a little time. Try your bourbon different ways, but don't push it too hard. Just let it happen. One day you'll be having a drink, and all of a sudden "WHAM". Then you'll say to yourself, "Now I get it." Anyway, have some fun and let us know how it's going. Good luck. Joe

TNbourbon
05-11-2009, 20:33
...It's amazing how you can change the taste of a bourbon just by adding a few drops of water, or a couple of ice cubes...
He's absolutely right, which is why the advice by most here to simply add ice is so much hooey -- it DOES change the taste!:smiley_acbt:
I'm right, but not around enough these days to convince anyone of it...:(

Used to be a bourbonista,
Tim

edo
05-11-2009, 20:57
Like kickert, I started* drinking bourbon over ice. With me, lots of ice and about a finger of bourbon in the bottom of the glass. Drunk like that, there is no burn. I drank that way for years, and never even considered drinking any other way. A few years ago, working under a particularly trying individual, I brought a bottle to the office for the colleagues to share to wind down after meetings with the aforementioned individual. Same thing as kickert- no ice was available. Instantly, I liked it neat far better than I had liked it on the rocks. Haven't used ice since. I even like the 'burn' up to around 100 proof or more depending on the sauce. I have been served whiskey on the rocks since, and find it cuts out too much flavor/spice for me.

That said, I find adding a splash or two of room temperature water kills the excessive burn and brings out a lot of great flavor with something like OGD 114. I mean, I CAN drink it neat (in tiny sips), but prefer it cut down to 100 or so. You might prefer to cut it way back to start with. Experiment!

Also, I think you'll find your second drink will burn less than the first, and the third less than the second. A couple after that, and you'll be cured of burn aversion at least for the night.

*as an young adult (I posted my first bourbon at age 6 story somewhere else here.)

kickert
05-11-2009, 21:16
He's absolutely right, which is why the advice by most here to simply add ice is so much hooey -- it DOES change the taste!:smiley_acbt:
I'm right, but not around enough these days to convince anyone of it...:(

Used to be a bourbonista,
Tim

I am not saying it doesn't change the taste... I am saying there is nothing wrong with ice and water. Many of us add water when tasting to pull out flavors not as obvious when tasted neat.

ILLfarmboy
05-12-2009, 09:18
The middle of your tongue has fewer tastebuds than the tip and edges.
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic-art/584034/111242/A-Taste-centres-on-the-tongues-surface
Try to ingest your pour directly to the tongue's middle, and let it matriculate out from there. It will dilute the effect even of G.T. Stagg.
It won't, however, eliminate the effect. You still won't be able to properly evaluate more than a few whiskeys during a single sitting -- but, it WILL lessen the effect of their proofs, as the alcohol effect is 'wasted' on the less-sensitive tongue-center.


Interesting. I do just the opposite. I always like to hit the tip of my tongue and let it "matriculate out from there". I do this to accentuate the flavors. I think doing it this way allows me to 'taste past the alcohol' better. This effect is most noticeable when tasting something like Georgia Moon or Virginia Lightning or for that matter Blanco tequilas, things that are not robustly flavored.

Trying to toss undiluted Stagg onto the middle of your tongue can result in Stagg down the wrong pipe.:bigeyes:

sailor22
05-12-2009, 12:29
Ice is typically made with tap water which typically has a chlorine taste - That chlorine taste WILL change the taste of the Bourbon as the ice melts.

Try a few drops of spring water as needed with the Bourbons that have the least burn. Some 80 proofers might be a good place to start.
Four Roses Small Batch has been mentioned - might want to also try Ancient Ancient Age, Four Roses Yellow Label, maybe Woodford, also Weller 12 year for sure.
Irish Whisky has been mentioned and Powers is a good start there.

ILLfarmboy
05-12-2009, 14:29
Ice is typically made with tap water which typically has a chlorine taste - That chlorine taste WILL change the taste of the Bourbon as the ice melts.


Having lived in the sticks my whole life, I never think of these things, chlorine anyhow. The water where I live now has hydrogen sulfide in it. When I bought the place, I had Culligan out there installing an "Iron Cleer" whole house water filter. It consists of reservoir tank, small aeration fan and a media tank. The system is a Iron filter which also takes out dissolved gasses like chlorine. It works like a charm. It is nearly impossible to tell the difference between water run through the RO system I brought with me from my previous residence and the water run just through the "Iron Cleer". The water doesn't have enough hardness to justify buying a softener.

It always amazes me how some people will put up with bad water. And don't even get me started on discussing the practice of fluoridated water:hot: .

As always the best water for diluting your whiskey is distilled water or water run through a reverse osmosis system.

cowdery
05-13-2009, 10:23
Anything that chills the whiskey, such as ice, doesn't change the flavor so much as it numbs the taste buds so you don't taste as much. Ditto the receptors in the nose, which is where most of the "tasting" occurs.

Dilution with room temperature water and taking small sips is the key. You can go up to a 1:1 ratio with most bourbons and still taste most of what's there, and you can still get a lot of flavor even if you dilute it even more. Do whatever works for you.

If you're used to drinking beer and wine, more than spirits, you're probably used to taking bigger drinks. Whiskey is more for sipping, especially when drinking it straight or nearly straight.

sailor22
05-13-2009, 11:17
If you're used to drinking beer and wine, more than spirits, you're probably used to taking bigger drinks. Whiskey is more for sipping, especially when drinking it straight or nearly straight.

Ahhh yes - but then there are the moments when the pour is just so....right.. that a bigger drink is called for. It's those moments that remind me why I fell in love with Bourbon.:cool:

fishnbowljoe
05-13-2009, 14:17
Ahhh yes - but then there are the moments when the pour is just so....right.. that a bigger drink is called for. It's those moments that remind me why I fell in love with Bourbon.:cool:

I second that. :bowdown: Nice call Stephen. :drink: Joe

jburlowski
05-20-2009, 16:21
Whiskey is more for sipping, especially when drinking it straight or nearly straight.

But sometimes the sips are a little bigger and come right after each other....

HoosierBoozer
06-05-2009, 22:47
I've found that letting the bourbon "breath" in the glass (like wine) for a few minutes after pouring helps reduce some of the alcohol burn especially for your nose.