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gothbat
12-19-2007, 14:35
My brother left this months issue of Maxim out for me which has an article called The Drinking Man's Guide to Booze. In the short blurb from Dave Pickerell in the whiskey section I found something that some here may find amusing. Dave says "One time I was at a tasting with him [Jimmy Russell], and there was someone up in front talking about vanillas, caramels, tobacco, dark chocolate - on and on. Jimmy shakes his head and finally says to me, "I don't know about you, but I don't put any of that shit in my bourbon."". :lol:

Gillman
12-19-2007, 16:33
I've heard that before, and it is amusing. His criteria for what is fine bourbon are not different than ours (or mine I should say), just differently expressed. Insiders know by long experience what is good and don't need to verbalise it; others who approach bourbon from a different angle often need a different frame of reference.

Gary

Jono
12-19-2007, 16:48
I am not able to pick out the multitude of flavors...I think there is a power of suggestion at work as well...sure, some flavors stand out...but the subtle taste of "spring lavendar on saddle leather in an infusion of cinnamon" leaves me scratching my head.

Gillman
12-19-2007, 17:24
Fair point, everyone has their own frame of reference (shared with others sometimes, sometimes not). What I find interesting is people (whether industry, consumer, retail, etc.) generally agree on what is good.

Gary

squire
12-19-2007, 19:37
Yes, yes, "What we're looking for is that good barrel character", or similar words used by Mr. Jimmy, whereas I have said or wrote, 'what I detect in the nose is smoky maple with an underlay of caramel', same thing expressed differently. He makes the stuff, I consume it and describe it in terms familiar to me and those to whom I'm directing my comments. I recently told a scotch drinking friend of mine that Bourbon had the best 'nose' of the distilled spirits and when she asked why I talked about smoke, maple and caramel rather than barrel character.

Squire

NickAtMartinis
12-19-2007, 21:42
I've heard that before, and it is amusing. His criteria for what is fine bourbon are not different than ours (or mine I should say), just differently expressed. Insiders know by long experience what is good and don't need to verbalise it; others who approach bourbon from a different angle often need a different frame of reference.

Gary


I understand and can relate to both sides of the spectrum. As for me, I fall more to the "Yup, it's good," or "No, it's not" type. I have zero ability to break down individual flavors.

Luna56
12-19-2007, 22:05
I'm starting to pick out some of the subtleties but, to be honest, I don't dwell on the minutiae. I can definitely get the major flavor components, like heavy rye or wood, but mainly it's how the whole thing hangs together that interests me at this point. I can get a sense of "balance" for lack of a better word but I couldn't neccessarily tell you why. I just love it.
Cheers!

HipFlask
12-19-2007, 22:26
I used to be in the "This is good bourbon/I don't like this one" crowd. I could certainly smell or taste the basics(vanilla, Carmel, maple). But never picked up on things like orange peel, cherries, dried bananas, leather or even char. It stayed that way for 20 years of my sipping career. That all changed with a bottle well aged straight rye whiskey. Of all things I tasted was orange peel. Since then I've picked up on all sorts of things. Isopropol alcohol, dried cherries, buttery feel to name a few. This has added my enjoyment of Whiskey. I don't see how that is a bad thing.

BUT... I certainly see the humor in JR's joke and I would have laughed if I had been privileged to have been there to hear it.

gothbat
12-19-2007, 22:28
About 2 months before I read that article I was at a tasting, A Taste of Heaven, hosted by Heaven Hill and as we tasted the bourbons tasting notes from the Whiskey Bible were being displayed by a projector for each one as we tasted it. Parker Beam remarked several times about how he didn't taste or smell those things that were described in the notes and just tasted and smelled "good bourbon". That's how I am, I like to take notes and occasionally post them, they're fun to do when I'm in the mood, but if I were to describe a bourbon outside of this site I would probably just state that I thought it was a good (or really good, awesome, excellent, etc...) bourbon. I'd just feel weird telling people about the "cherry and wood" nose or how it's "cinnamon on the tip of the tongue but most of it is sour apple towards the back" (quotes from my notes, both are not from the same whiskey) because I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't taste the same thing since I often do not get the same flavors and scents described in notes here(additionally, I often detect fewer flavors and scents). I just get a kick out of hearing someone responsible for the quality of the product describing it in such simple terms that are, as Gary said, agreeable to the general consensus of the product here while we here seem to sometimes use many more words to decribe the same thing.