Quote Originally Posted by Alphanumeric View Post
It's interesting to see how much drinking can help to sort through one's personal preferences. My first Scotch was Talisker DE. I was quite taken with it in the beginning but now that I can identify flavors beyond 'yum', it doesn't have nearly as much appeal and I find myself reaching for the 10 yo before the DE.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Monkey Shoulder I originally paid little mind now sits happily in my glass.
Excellent point. Taste develops over time (and sometimes from one day to the next) and with experience. Be careful taking the statement "this is the best whisky I've ever had"* at face value from someone with limited experience. The statement is meaningless if the person has tasted only a handful of different drinks.

Context is also very important. I'm sure even a ho-hum whisky will leave a great impression when tasted for the first time with great company in a memorable environment - the distillery for example.

At the end of the day, smell/taste is very personal. What's great/awful to one person may be the complete opposite to another person - or the same person under different circumstances.

* by the same token "the worst whisky I've ever had" means nothing if the person has only tasted a few expressions.