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  1. #11
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Tasting note adjectives - how specific can one really be?

    One of the problems I run into is that I often smell or taste things that I recognize, at least marginally, but can't identify. Very frustrating.

    If you read the late Michael Jackson's reviews, what set him apart from everyone else was that he just tried to describe the whiskey clearly and conscisely. Sometimes that meant specific taste elements, but often not. David Broom occasionally acheives this, but lacks MJ's economy with words.
    Life's too short, and there's too much good whiskey within reach.

  2. #12
    Moderator
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    Re: Tasting note adjectives - how specific can one really be?

    Most of the time I'm like a lot of you on here that taste like something but I just can't put my finger on it. Sometimes I get a fleeting rush like a few weeks back I opened a new bottle of private bottling of Bowman's and got bubble gum. Then there are a few I get the same thing every time Like GTS I get brown sugar(some may call this caramel maybe) or OGD 114 the brownies like a lot of people do, Jamison12 pears some with Blackbush too. Woodiness is a characteristic of lot of bourbons especially older ones.
    Last edited by p_elliott; 01-09-2013 at 10:16.
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider, is chaos for the fly.

  3. #13
    Advanced Taster
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    Jan 2010
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    Des Moines, Iowa
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    247

    Re: Tasting note adjectives - how specific can one really be?

    While some descriptions may be gilding the lilly, I enjoy reading other people's tasting notes. I generally pick up on general categories of flavor: oak/wood; sweet/sugar (which can vary from just bland sweetness to something more nuanced like caramel or brown sugar; vanilla; spices i can't individually identify but associate with baking; fruit (which sometimes will give a more specific impression, like banana or citrus); floral. Those are the good one's anyway. Although I might not specifically taste something like 'dead sea salted caramel covered with dark bavarian chocolate,' If I'm looking for something with sweet caramel notes with some depth of flavor that might help steer me.

    Beyond general tastes, like a bourbon that has a lot of wood on the profile, its all very subjective. That's what makes it beatiful and fun, like art.

  4. #14
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Tasting note adjectives - how specific can one really be?

    I am for the super-specific adjectives because I have had those pours where I taste something very distinct (i.e. fresh cut field with goldenrod). Sometimes something clicks and it isn't just a generic flavor, but soemthing that brings to mind a very specific memory. What I don't understand is when people have a list of 20 flavors they get from the same drink. At most, I can pick out 4-5 and that is pushing it.
    Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better.

  5. #15
    Virtuoso
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    Oct 2011
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    Atlanta
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    Re: Tasting note adjectives - how specific can one really be?

    In one whiskey I might get chocolate. In another it might be burnt brownie pan corners. Sometimes it's dark cherry and sometimes it's cherry cordial, or stewed cherries or just plain cherry or fruity. I'm cool with it if that smell or flavor reminds you of something specific. Or if it doesn't. I don't think it's a superiority thing. Just some people care to make more specific associations. I've seen hundreds of blind tastings in the wine world that had multiple people picking out the same things. And many where people didn't necessarily agree. It's subjective as we all have different sense memories but ultimately I think that the basic 12-20 flavors are objective. I think chuck said it bes when he observed that flowers are a descriptor for bourbon "if you detect chrysanthemum, more power to you"
    "On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero"
    T. Durden

  6. #16
    Guru
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    Jackson, MS
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    Re: Tasting note adjectives - how specific can one really be?

    When writing a review I try to describe what I'm tasting.

    When reading one I want to feel like I'm tasting.

  7. #17
    Connoisseur
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    Jul 2006
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    768

    Re: Tasting note adjectives - how specific can one really be?

    I, too, often "can't put my finger" on what I'm smelling or tasting in whiskey. a few, however, I get, like vanilla in Pappy 20.
    If I have Lagavulin and Talisker side by side, I can differentiate peaty from smoky.

    I've also seen 2 "experts" use vastly different terms to describe the samy whisk(e)y, so I think there's a fair amount of bs.

    wonder if there's anyone who can identify all 10 4R recipes blind???
    "A man can take a little bourbon without getting drunk, but if you hold his mouth open and pour in a quart, he's going to get sick on it."
    LBJ

  8. #18
    Connoisseur
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    Aug 2012
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    Honolulu, HI
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    Re: Tasting note adjectives - how specific can one really be?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigtoys View Post
    wonder if there's anyone who can identify all 10 4R recipes blind???
    That would actually be a fun experiment.
    Peggy: Look Al, the rubes think I'm sexy!
    Al: So would I if I had whiskey for breakfast.

  9. #19
    Mr. Anal Retentive Bourbon Drinker
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    Jul 2003
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    Houston, TX
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    1,738

    Re: Tasting note adjectives - how specific can one really be?

    Some of the adjectives are BS. There are no cherries put into straight bourbon. However their are chemicals in bourbon that we taste and smell as cherries. In the case of cherry that comes from an ester, geranyl butyrate, created during the fermentation and distillation process. It's the same with all the other "flavors" one may taste in a spirit.

  10. #20
    Guru
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    Jackson, MS
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    Re: Tasting note adjectives - how specific can one really be?

    If my nose were that good the whsiky makers would be paying me rather than the other way round.

 

 

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