So as a student and teacher of English, I love language. Accordingly, I realize that much of the delicious mystery and vitality of words consists in their wonderful ambiguity and slipperyness - and I would never want to subject them to the cloroform and dissection that is precise and systematic definition. Truly, there is nothing outside context, and if we tried to reduce words to absolutely fixed specimens, we would lose much of the real thing.
But I still think it is really interesting, not to mention really useful, for amatuers and (I would speculate) experts alike to talk about bourbon tasting language. Many of you who hated English class may knee-jerk-recoil from the idea, but I think it could be really fun.
So here are some conventions of semantics, right or wrong, I have picked up in reviews, labels, and SB conversations.
1.) Dry and Sweet work on a binary gradient or spectrum that looks something like this:
2.) Likewise, Oily and Watery look something like this spectrum
3.) Oily and Watery describe the polarities of mouthfeel.
4.) Mouthfeel = immediately physical texture or consistency of the liquid (NOT the flavor itself), which just happens to be measured by feeling it in your mouth.
5.) Astringent = unmediated alcohol taste
Now here are some terms and ideas that I sort of understand in context but am generally confused about:
1.) Does "body" really just mean "mouthfeel", or does it have more to do with flavor? The whole "thin" to "medium" to "full" gradient seems to indicate texture, but really I have no clear idea what the hell people are talking about when they say their whiskey has a "medium body."
2.) What does "Hot" mean, exactly? It seems to mean "astringent", but constant references to mitigating "heat" with icecubes have planted the idea in my head that the sensation of actual, non-metaphorical temperature might somehow be involved.
3.) "The finish": wtf is going on with this? It seems to me that "finish" refers to nothing more or less than the taste/feeling of whiskey after it has left the palate and entered the gullet, but descriptions of it seem to elevate it into a transcendent metaphysical phenomenon. It's as if people drinking a good pour taste real whiskey on the palate but then are somehow magically transported to Never Ever Land in the finish.
So am I pulling this out of my ass? How wrong or right am I?
And what other slippery or confusing semantic conventions did I forget?