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View Full Version : When tasting bourbon, do you...



NickAtMartinis
06-07-2007, 16:42
...go through the process, i.e., swirl in glass, sniff, sip and swish in mouth then wax poetic about the different characteristics of each step.

-OR-

Do you simply give the bourbon a quick sniff, take a sip and say yea, or nay?
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I'm more the latter, myself. I pour, let the bourbon sit for a time and then take a sip. After my first couple sips, I know whether or not I like the bourbon.

Please let me be clear by stating that, though I am not one of those guys who breaks down the nose, taste, etc. (figs, dates, vanilla, frosting, etc.), I do appreciate reading those types of "reviews" in the BOTM's. I think it's great and definitely helps me to know if I'm going to like a certain bourbon. For example, if someone described Four Roses (never had) as vanilla, cherry, dates, etc., and those very same characteristics are found in KC (have had) then I know that I'd probably like Four Roses.

So, thank you to all those posters here who partake in the BOTM's that I've been reading the past few days.

I guess I'm just a straight forward sort of guy. Ask me how PVW20 is and I will say great, ask me about KC and I will say good, etc.


So, I'm just curious, how many posters are like me and how many here are like those who take part in the BOTM?

Please discuss.

jwrussell
06-07-2007, 19:23
Have to say I'm more along your lines than the other, but I haven't been tasting bourbons for very long either. Kind of like with cigars, I've found I have to concentrate more than is enjoyable for me to really pull out the kinds of descriptives others use. I describe things in much simpler more broad terms and leave it at that. A little more than "good or great" I guess, but not nearly as in depth as others.

But again, I'm a neophyte.

Jazzhead
06-07-2007, 19:54
The level of discourse around here regarding tasting is very high, so I tend not to participate in the BOTM, but they do make for fun and informative reading. About half the time I pour the hooch in a glass and nose it and savor it, and the other half of the time (it embarrasses me to admit), I just sip it right from the bottle. A old beerman's disgusting habits die hard.

mgilbertva
06-07-2007, 20:27
Sipping from the bottle is completely sanitary at these proofs.

As for whether I fill and chill or top off and sound off, well, that depends on how I feel and who I'm with. Even by myself sometimes I'm in the mood to analyze what I'm drinking, and other times I just let it wash over me without holding it back.

No either/or there.

NickAtMartinis
06-08-2007, 06:29
Thanks everyone. I was just curious how alone I was. ;)

Of course, I'm a novice as well (don't let my name fool you) so it would be hard for me to do what so many here do.

It's funny, I'm a beer guy by nature and I see a lot of the same tasting notes in beer, especially the Belgian beers. Regarding beer, I gloss right over the tasting notes since I'm quite familiar, and far from a novice, when it comes to beer.:grin:

By the way, I threw back some Dickel #12 last night along with some KC. I've had the #12 for a while and have liked it from the first sip and it was less than $20 or maybe even $15, can't remember, but it's a bargain non-the-less.

Question: I was reading the Dickel #12 bottle and it doesn't say Bourbon and Whisky is spelled minus the "e." As Cliff Clavin would say, "What's up with that?"

ggilbertva
06-08-2007, 07:41
George Dickel is not Bourbon....it's TN Whiskey. Yes....there is a difference and there have been some threads in this forum that touch on the differences. In a nutshell, there's a filtering process prior to aging that sets it apart from the bourbon making process....which does not filter prior to aging. Also, bourbon MUST be at least 51% corn. TN whiskey, I believe, must be at least 51% any grain, which is usually corn but doesn't have to be. Anyone....please correct me if I'm wrong.

barturtle
06-08-2007, 08:45
For some reason the American whisk(e)y makers are not tradition bound when it comes to spelling. Maker's Mark, George Dickel and Old Forester all use the e-less version, as does Scotland and Canada, there rest of the Americans use the e-inclusive spelling, along with Ireland.

NickAtMartinis
06-08-2007, 08:46
George Dickel is not Bourbon....it's TN Whiskey. Yes....there is a difference and there have been some threads in this forum that touch on the differences. In a nutshell, there's a filtering process prior to aging that sets it apart from the bourbon making process....which does not filter prior to aging. Also, bourbon MUST be at least 51% corn. TN whiskey, I believe, must be at least 51% any grain, which is usually corn but doesn't have to be. Anyone....please correct me if I'm wrong.

Thanks for the info, Greg. I thought only Scotch could be referred to as Whisky (no "e"), but I guess I am wrong.

mythrenegade
06-08-2007, 19:37
I do what you described (long process) for wine. I take in as much as possible before I taste. With bourbon I like to smell it a bit, enjoy the nose, and then start tasting.

Joel

CrispyCritter
06-08-2007, 22:23
I normally don't make a big effort to break down the taste of a given whiskey (or brandy for that matter), but sometimes it can be fun and educational to do so.