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Thread: Descriptive's

  1. #1
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    Descriptive's

    Hey guys, with all these descriptive’s on tasting,nosing, thought I would put my 2 cents worth in. I for one, have just a few common ones that I can pick out with almost all of my pours. Vanilla, Anise, (or black licorice),fruity, sweet, spicy, woody, caramel, minty, medicinal and lately most of my nosing is filled with rickhouse, a smell that after last fall with a visit to all those distilleries, has stuck with me. Rarely can I pick out any particular fruits or..leather, marzipan, cabbage water, turpentine or other ridiculous ones. I realize that whisky is a complex spirit, and strikes us all differently, but come on some of those are crazy. As I always say “Imagination is endless”,and to each his own,so I was just wondering what are your guys most common descriptive’s, and what are some of the most unusual ones that you’ve heard? Oh, I just remember seeing another one posted out here recently…swamp piss.(that’s a good one)
    Everyday my spirit seems to find its way to the bottom of a glass...... Don

  2. #2
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    Re: Descriptive's

    Quote Originally Posted by dSculptor View Post
    cabbage water
    I think I have a new favorite

  3. #3
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    Re: Descriptive's

    I don't see why turpentine is more strange than minty. Cabbage water means cooked vegetable, I know at least one bourbon that has, or had, this taste.

    Everyone has their own way (as you said) to describe bourbon or rye. One is not more valid than another except perhaps to the extent it is purely personal, which is fine except such words would be of little use to others. And so if someone said, "definitely reminds me of winter jamborees upstate in the country when I was a kid", I would consider that a valid expression of the taster's reaction, but not likely to help a reader understand what the drink tasted like.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 02-18-2014 at 09:23.

  4. #4
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    Re: Descriptive's

    The only real objectionable note I have ever tasted (and could describe) was "baby vomit" in unpeated single malt. For the longest time I couldn’t put my finger on it, just that I did not like it at all. Months later I saw a review where the writer described the baby vomit smell as like acidic milk spit up smell that infants do to you when you hold them. The description hit it right on the head, and now even a whiff from the bottle brings it all back.

    I am still in the process of getting through that bottle with heavily spiced hot toddies ...shudder at the thought of it neat.
    Birth, School, Whisk(e)y, Death!

  5. #5
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    Re: Descriptive's

    Jim Murray has commented that one of the difficult things about being a spirits writer is thinking up new words to describe the taste of whisky. Frankly I think the old words work fine but I don't have to sell copy to pay the rent.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  6. #6
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    Re: Descriptive's

    I remember the first time I read "wet slate" in tasting notes and thinking the fellow was reaching for a descriptor, that or he'd fallen down drunk somewhere and learned a new taste from the pavement.

    As a lifelong fly fisherman I'm very familiar with the scent of wet slate but it never occurred to me licking a rock would lead to any useful information.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  7. #7
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    Re: Descriptive's

    I enjoy the flowery language in general. Serge (one of the prominent Internet Single Malt opinions) had a nice writeup discussing where he draws the line. He said something to the effect that it's okay to use adjectives to describe the whiskey but not adjectives to describe the tasting notes. I think it was in the effort to differentiate between objective opinion and marketing spiel, like the difference between "the nose opens with lilac" and "the nose opens with the first drop of dew from a beautiful lilac petal as a ray of sunlight pierces through the forest canopy."

    If the whiskey smells or tastes like leather, marzipan, or cabbage water to you, great. I like to pick out unique flavors and descriptors where I can find them.

  8. #8
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    Re: Descriptive's

    Sometime's an odd descriptor conveys the experience - I think it was Chuck who described the nose on '09 OFBB as "baby diaper", and that was pretty spot on. I found one on the shelf in 2011 and found the nose strange. I was thinking "stale", "compost", "garbage can", and searched SB and found that "baby diaper" descriptor which nailed it. Probably not a descriptor you'll use often (hopefully), but it was right on point.
    Mark

  9. #9
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    Re: Descriptive's

    I wouldn't mind finding the scent of fresh baby powder in my whisky but diaper, no.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  10. #10
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    Re: Descriptive's

    sometimes my sense of smell and taste overlap, as I know it does in some others. Something may 'taste' like something else 'smells', and vice-versa. It makes it really difficult to put things into words.

    some things I can pick up with the senses, but lack an ability to find a word for it.....like Dickel Rye, the closest word I can come up with is minty, but I know that the word minty doesnt really describe the sensation I am trying to portray.

    this is a very subjective hobby

 

 

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