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  1. #1

    Thoughts on bourbon tasting party

    I'm going to a co-worker's house in a few weekends for a little bourbon-fest with his scotch group.

    As the most avid bourbon guy in his friend-circle, I was tasked with providing some education, especially since the group likes to learn a bit about what they're drinking vs. just booze up.

    One of the things I have planned is to take the 3 BT White Dogs and mimic something they did on the distillery tour, which is to pour it in your hands, rub it around to warm it up, sniff, etc. to get the dominant grains.

    I was also going to group the different bourbons that people would bring according to similar mashbills, so that people could gain some sense of what role the wood and various aging can play, through tasting the starting White Dog and working through to various ages.

    Does anyone have any other good suggestions on how to provide some "enlightenment" to a somewhat erudite crowd?

  2. #2
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    Re: Thoughts on bourbon tasting party

    I did a very sucessful bourbon tasting two weeks ago for a group of my Dad's scotch drinking buddies... Here's a previous post I submited a while back when someone else asked a similar question to you:

    In my opinion it definately depends on the audience... As an example, I'm doing an 'American Whiskey' tasting for a group of Scotch enthusiasts at my Dad's retirement complex in a couple of weeks. As they are all fairly new to bourbon etc, I'll take them through a few different distilleries and styles:

    BT White Dog
    Buffalo Trace
    Makers Mark
    Gentleman Jack
    Crown Royal
    Jim Beam Rye
    Jim Beam Honey

    The theory here is that I introduce them to White Dog, the aged BT product, then a wheated bourbon to contrast the BT. Follow this with some Tennessee & Canadian Whiskey and finish with a Rye and a bourbon liquor. Once the tasting is over, I'll have a few different bottles to show them and for sampling, and if they like what they taste, I'll do a more specific bourbon night a few months down the track.

  3. #3
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    Re: Thoughts on bourbon tasting party

    Rather depends on how much education they seek. My chaps would be more interested in high rye/low rye, high age/low age, high proof/low proof or discernible differences between brands from the same distillery.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  4. #4
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    Re: Thoughts on bourbon tasting party

    I like to show MM v. WT to show rye v. wheat. Far more important than drinks you choose will be your explanation of what makes them similar and different. Pick what you know, and make sure there's enough variety for you to show differences and for the audience to decide which type is for them.

  5. #5
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    Re: Thoughts on bourbon tasting party

    Or just get 'em lit off some scotch first after which any Bourbon will taste great.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  6. #6
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    Thoughts on bourbon tasting party

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    Or just get 'em lit off some scotch first after which any Bourbon will taste great.
    Bourbon tastes better to me either lit or unlit :-)

  7. #7

    Thoughts on bourbon tasting party

    I usually dispense with the formalities and just put 40-50 open bottles on the coffee table and so go for it.. This technique seems to always be a crowd pleaser

  8. #8
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    Re: Thoughts on bourbon tasting party

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelturtle1 View Post
    I usually dispense with the formalities and just put 40-50 open bottles on the coffee table and so go for it.. This technique seems to always be a crowd pleaser
    I don't bother with putting them on the coffee table. I tell people "you know where the cabinet is."
    Peggy: Look Al, the rubes think I'm sexy!
    Al: So would I if I had whiskey for breakfast.

  9. #9
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    Re: Thoughts on bourbon tasting party

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    Rather depends on how much education they seek. My chaps would be more interested in high rye/low rye, high age/low age, high proof/low proof or discernible differences between brands from the same distillery.
    I like squire's approach. If they're trying to experience the "world of bourbon", I'd try to hit some of the highlights through extremes. I found trying OGD 86 and then Basil Hayden to be an interesting illustration of "Same stuff - just more age, and aged in a different spot". There are plenty like that you can do without the same distillery for some binary comparisons.
    Gary
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  10. #10
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    Re: Thoughts on bourbon tasting party

    OK now that I've read more carefully...Here's how I would do it. Just use one of the white dogs and then use 3-4 bourbons from that mashbill just to illustrate the differences. So maybe #1 with Benchmark, Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare and one of the CEHTs. They should all be around the same proof. They're Scotch drinkers so they're used to drinking whiskey at low proofs. Or #2 with Ancient Age, maybe AAA, Elmer T. Lee and Blanton's. Or Wheated and WSR, OWA and Weller 12 (or a VW). In my experience less is often more. The palate and brain can get overwhelmed.
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