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  1. #1
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    Is the palate really related to the nose...

    .....or not? Most conventional wisdom would say so, and I would agree....to a point. If I detect caramel in the nose, most of the time, I can taste it in the sip to an extent. But my experience is that the best nose does not translate into the best sip. My experience is that the best nose can be found in standard Woodford Reserve or Elijah Craig BP/12...yet in terms of palate, there is no correlation (in terms of overall taste) in terms of how much I enjoy the sip....for that, other bourbons from HH, FR, and WT are better than these, but the nose...fairly pedestrian.

    Has anyone else experience this?.....Heavenly nose, pedestrian sip. Or pedestrian nose, heavenly sip.


    In my experience, the quality of the nose has little to do with the quality of the sip. What say you?

  2. #2
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    Re: Is the palate really related to the nose...

    It's one of those usually but not always things. Flavor usually follows the scent notes but I've had a few that didn't match up so I've learned to sniff then savor.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2012
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    Re: Is the palate really related to the nose...

    I find the nose gives me a ballpark idea of what it will taste like, but not how good it will taste. I think the flavor of OFBB13 follows the nose pretty well, but does not measure up to it nearly as well.
    "Unless it survived a tornado, weathered a snow storm in Scotland, and then spent a year on boat before returning home, I'm not really interested."

  4. #4
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Is the palate really related to the nose...

    There are two kinds of answers. 1) Physiologically, the tongue can only distinguish four things (sweet, sour, bitter, salt) or maybe five (umami). The nose can detect hundreds, maybe thousands in some of us. A lot us what we "taste" is really what we smell. Thus, a stuffy nose causes us to lose ability to taste. When nosing, I breathe in through my mouth so that aromas are carried to the nose from the back side. This helps prevent the alcohol from blowing out my nose, so to speak. I also hold the bourbon in my mouth for a while and do the KY chew so it can warm up and release even more aroma/flavor as well as develop more pleasant mouth feel.
    2) We commonly refer to sensations that are perceived in the mouth as tastes and we differentiate what is promised by the nose from what is fulfilled--or not--on the palate. By consensus, bourbon drinkers describe what we "taste" as caramel, vanilla, maybe some anise even though, technically speaking, the mouth is incapable of distinguishing anything beyond the basic four or five. It is a useful convention because it keeps us from descending into errant pedantry represented by what you have read up to this point.
    If God made anything better than bourbon he must have kept it for Hisself.

  5. #5
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    Re: Is the palate really related to the nose...

    So we can be errant as long as we're not pedantic about it . . . I'll buy that.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  6. #6
    Taster
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    Feb 2014
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    Lansing, MI
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    Re: Is the palate really related to the nose...

    Sensory stuff is complex. In food something can smell wonderful, but taste plain. Add a little salt or acid, and boom, it's suddenly tastes as good as it smells. That salt didn't create the flavors, it just enhanced it for your palate. We're wired that way and each are a little different.

    When you smell something as a sensory evaluation, it's still a part of the product even if you can't taste it. You may not detect it because of a number of reasons, but it's probably still there. Sometimes it can be a threshold thing on individual palate, something you ate/drink recently, your environment, smoker, etc, etc or the pour is simply not put together to pull out those smells as flavor, for whatever reason. Needs salt.

    Or on the flip side, maybe you're pulling out something that's not really there in the nose because you expect it. So your taste might be more accurate.

    Plus, all these compounds have flavor-smell associations that may not register the same for everyone. What smells apples (an ester compound created as fermentation byproduct) isn't the same as the actual fruit, for example. Vanillin is a compound that comes from both pod and interaction with the barrel. So that's the same, but if all they know is the fake stuff in their root beer, how does that comes across in Bourbon? Who knows... Complex stuff.
    My Whiskey Review Blog: Whiskey Lately

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Is the palate really related to the nose...

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    So we can be errant as long as we're not pedantic about it . . . I'll buy that.
    We can be a knight errant--especially if accompanied by a squire.
    If God made anything better than bourbon he must have kept it for Hisself.

  8. #8
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    Re: Is the palate really related to the nose...

    Good one FF, good one.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

 

 

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