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View Full Version : Tasting, Memory and Disposition



Dave_in_Canada
05-03-2004, 11:58
"A long time ago i sampled XYZ and today's version just doesn't compare" or "LMN bourbon sure isn't what it used to be" or "I tried PQR many years ago and recall the flavor was .....".

These and similar statements are common on SB.com. I find them interesting.

Most often, claims are made that the bourbon changed. While this is probably often the case, within certain bounds, I'd like you to consider that the TASTER has also changed., for the following reasons:

1. With aging, the body's abililty to taste and smell also changes, most likely for the worse (ie. a dulling of the senses). While we can train and to some degree improve our senses throughout life, most of this training occurs at very young ages, or is a god-given gift that some folks downright lack.

2. Memory has a tendency to play tricks on the present. For example: a bourbon sampled with the best of experiences of time and place will generally improve with age! Ahhh, first love.

3. A person's general disposition may subliminally affect their present perseption of the past, and future. If you're an eternal optomist, your perception of past flavours and a current tasting will likely be different that if you're a pessimist.

Just a few thoughts that have been on my mind lately.

[edit: for future reference, while the above may seem obvious, if you don't take these points into consideration when doing a serious tasting, you're guilty of breaking the "I remember when..." rule]


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tommy
05-03-2004, 15:40
I strongly agree with #2.

ratcheer
05-03-2004, 18:57
Dave, I agree wholeheartedly. Yes, surely sometimes the whiskey has changed over the years. But, on the other hand, I can't count the number of times I've just about given up on a particular bourbon, only to taste it "one last time" (same bottle) and discover previously hidden charms. Or, vice versa.

Tim

gr8erdane
05-03-2004, 18:57
I'd agree with number 2 also if I could remember what it was. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

doubleblank
05-03-2004, 19:43
A very common occurance for us wine nuts. You're in some goooorgeous wine country with beautiful weather and this local wine tastes fantastic at the local haunt. You bring a couple of bottles home...six months later you open one hoping to relive nirvana....what the heck is this we're drinking! This tastes like crap. Time and place have a lot to do with one's enjoyment of spirits.

Randy.

Dave_in_Canada
05-03-2004, 19:46
Yup, been there. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

jeff
05-03-2004, 19:49
That's funny you should mention this and wine because that happens to Leslie and me all the time. We will be at some social mixer or charity dinner and think that the chardonnay is fantastic, only to find it one step removed from rotgut when we get a bottle home http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/puke.gif I'm sure there is a time and place in which Cabin Stills will taste fantastic, I just haven't been there http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

TNbourbon
05-03-2004, 20:06
If that happens to you and Leslie all the time, Jeff, consider yourself a lucky man. In fact, having met Leslie, Jeff, consider yourself a lucky man. (It's NOT the Chardonnay, Jeff!)

angelshare
05-04-2004, 04:00
While we can train and to some degree improve our senses throughout life, most of this training occurs at very young ages, or is a god-given gift that some folks downright lack.

2. Memory has a tendency to play tricks on the present.



Re: 1) You folks have been courteous and supportive of our untrained palates, but, on the Bourbonian tasting bell curve, I feel like I'm in the lowest percentile when it comes to talent. I taste some (relatively) basic flavors if I concentrate, but find it hard to believe I'll EVER come up with notes like the ones here. Oddly, I seem to do a little better with the nose. Having said that, I find that I smell leather so often (I mean REALLY often) that I wonder about my olfactory wiring, too.

Re: 2) Looks like you struck a chord here with lots of folks. I have a little different experience than the take-home wine phenomenon. I remember a great summer evening in 1996 when Tina, two other friends and myself sat out on a deck, talked and laughed for hours while we killed a bottle of MM. For years after, I think I liked MM more than I otherwise would because each sip took me back to that evening. Now, after learning a little more about the business of bourbon and specifically MM from you folks, I might like it less than I normally would.

Fortunately, talent and enjoyment are two different things, and I feel comfortable with my position on the enjoyment curve!

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TNbourbon
05-04-2004, 06:58
When customers sheepishly bring their $4 bottles of simple or fruit-flavored wines to the counter, I try to assuage them with a bit of wisdom I picked up somewhere: the best wine is the one YOU like. Doesn't matter how much it costs or if you can describe the taste.
Same goes for bourbon. If you like it, good enough. Others here and elsewhere will describe it for you. The more I taste, the more I recognize, but my first reaction is still of the "Yeah!" or "Blah!" variety.

Dave_in_Canada
05-04-2004, 09:21
I feel comfortable with my position on the enjoyment curve!




That's the best place to be!

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