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  1. #1
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    Blind Tasting with Friends

    Hey everyone. I briefly hung around these forums a couple years ago, but I got pretty busy, had a couple kids, and honestly you guys aren't good for my wallet. But don't worry, I've still been drinking a (un?)healthy amount of bourbon.

    Anyway, I'm back because I'm hosting a blind tasting with some friends and figured you would be interested in the results. Some of my friends are experienced bourbon drinkers, some know nothing at all. I'd say 50/50. The purpose of the tasting is mostly educational. We'll talk about the history, as well as what makes a bourbon a bourbon. Then we'll taste.

    The bourbons I'm thinking of pouring are:

    EWB (my current cheap value pour, I'm interested to see how it stand up)
    WSR
    WR
    AE

    The range of proofs are either 86 or 90, so a small range. I don't want proof to be a variable. Also, everything is from a different distillery (with the possible exception being AE? Does anyone know who makes it?). I want a couple cheap pours up against more expensive ones to show that cost and marketing can influence our tastes when not drinking blind. And a wheater, as well as an experimental finish, are important to show the breadth of bourbons (hence the WSR and AE).

    The tasting is in a week and I'll be sure to post the results. If you think I should substitute one whiskey for another, or have any other suggestions, I'm all ears.
    Whiskey is man's attempt at Heaven.

  2. #2
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Blind Tasting with Friends

    It seems, with as many variables as you have in the selection, very little may be gleaned from the results. Better to stick to either one distillery with various products or multiple distilleries with similar products (biting off more than can be chewed, here). One thing your sort of tasting can do is narrow the focus for the next tasting, tho.

    How about - EWB, EWSB, Larceny, Ritt100 (2 to compare, 2 wide range)

    or - EWB, JBB, FRSmB, BT (compare 4 distilleries)
    Last edited by MauiSon; 07-03-2014 at 15:56.

  3. #3
    Taster
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    Re: Blind Tasting with Friends

    Thanks for the response. I understand what you're saying. If this were only with bourbon enthusiasts like ourselves, I would definitely pour bourbons from the same distillery, or something along those lines. But because there will be some people who are unfamiliar with bourbon, I want to showcase a wide variety of what bourbon can be, hoping they will find at least one style they like and can latch on to.

    However, I think you're right that it may be a bit much. It would be good to have at least two that are similar, with two outliers. So maybe:

    EWB
    EWSB
    WSR or MM (MM would be a premium brand that everyone is familiar with, while also filling the wheater role)
    AE

    Hmmm...

    But I'm really liking your other idea, and maybe tweaking it like so:

    EWB
    MM
    FRSmB
    BT

    Thanks for the input. A lot to think about, or maybe not... I tend to over think these things.
    Whiskey is man's attempt at Heaven.

  4. #4
    Connoisseur
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    Jan 2014
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    Re: Blind Tasting with Friends

    Just a thought (or maybe a rationalization), but I like that middle group with MM instead of WSR. You then get to compare the generic EWB with the EWSB which opens up the value discussion (bottom shelf vs. an upper shelf - is SB really worth the bump in price?) as well as the vagaries of single barrels (and which EWSB? I like the 2003 over the 2004 but that's just me). I'd do MM over WSR just because MM is widely available and better known - the experienced drinkers (as a recent thread here showed) may be surprised at the taste of something they moved away from years ago (Memories, from the corners of my mind) , and the neophytes get to compare a wheated to traditional. AE's nice because it lets you talk about niche bourbons, top shelf, and profile changes year-over-year, kind of like with EWSB.

    Let us know how it all turns out.

  5. #5
    Taster
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    Re: Blind Tasting with Friends

    I like your reasoning Harry. I'm definitely leaning that direction now. Thanks for helping me nail this down.
    Whiskey is man's attempt at Heaven.

  6. #6
    Guru
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    Re: Blind Tasting with Friends

    The only thing I would add to Harry's comments is taste them all completely blind, don't let the participants even know the brands until after the tasting is over and the results tallied.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  7. #7
    Advanced Taster
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    Dec 2011
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    Long Island
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    Re: Blind Tasting with Friends

    I have been doing blind tasting with friends. The first thing a say is to smell the bourbon. All I want is a "I like it" or you don't. The first comment I usually get is: "This is interesting. I thought they all smelled the same until I did this side by side". Then taste, again, You like it, you don't. Then we rate them. Most doing this for the first time know Jack Daniels. They never heard of Four Roses or the antique collection. For friends who have more experience, we do try to mention "tasting notes".

  8. #8
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Blind Tasting with Friends

    Quote Originally Posted by Fpst View Post
    ... But I'm really liking your other idea, and maybe tweaking it like so:

    EWB
    MM
    FRSmB
    BT

    Thanks for the input. A lot to think about, or maybe not... I tend to over think these things.
    My $.02, I like this line up. A tour of house styles, around the same age and proof. You could add Beam Black label to these. I also thought about including MM and WSR or Larceny. Dickel Rye is also 90 proof and around the same age as the others. I agree with Squire. Let the people taste it all blind. It sounds like a fun time.

  9. #9
    Taster
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    Re: Blind Tasting with Friends

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    The only thing I would add to Harry's comments is taste them all completely blind, don't let the participants even know the brands until after the tasting is over and the results tallied.
    That's the plan. I agree this is the most enjoyable and challenging way of doing it. And it usually yields some surprises. In past tastings people have brought bottles. This time I'm providing them all myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by BourbonGuy View Post
    I have been doing blind tasting with friends. The first thing a say is to smell the bourbon. All I want is a "I like it" or you don't. The first comment I usually get is: "This is interesting. I thought they all smelled the same until I did this side by side". Then taste, again, You like it, you don't. Then we rate them. Most doing this for the first time know Jack Daniels. They never heard of Four Roses or the antique collection. For friends who have more experience, we do try to mention "tasting notes".
    A lot of people at this tasting will know what they're doing, and in past experiences, those that don't usually catch on pretty fast. Especially if they have experience with formal tastings of wine or beer or the like.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulO View Post
    My $.02, I like this line up. A tour of house styles, around the same age and proof. You could add Beam Black label to these. I also thought about including MM and WSR or Larceny. Dickel Rye is also 90 proof and around the same age as the others. I agree with Squire. Let the people taste it all blind. It sounds like a fun time.
    Thanks for the $.02. I too like the idea of different house styles, all from different distilleries, which is what I was going for in my original line up. But right now I'm leaning towards what Harry suggested, because as he points out it allows discussions on a number of levels and topics, e.g., the QPR of a single barrel vs standard expression, "inexpensive" vs "expensive" name brand, wheat vs rye, and experimental bourbons such as AE. Also, I need to limit it to four whiskeys. I've done six in the past, but everyone thought that was too much to accurately rate at one time.

    Also, because of limited glassware, it looks like I will need to split the tasting up into two rounds of two whiskeys. What are your thoughts? With a line up of EWB, EWSB, MM, & AE, should I include the EWB and EWSB in the same round, or split them up?
    Whiskey is man's attempt at Heaven.

 

 

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