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  1. #1
    Guru
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    Central Arizona (near Prescott), U.S.A.
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    Speaking of Small Pours . . .

    A contemporary thread about an upcoming social gathering mentioned that the participants normally try very small pours, a necessity if one is to remain reasonable sober while sampling many bourbons.

    That reminds me that sometimes my perception of a bourbon seems to change dramatically in the course of a normal, say 50 ml., pour. The first sip arrives and greets fresh taste buds and olfactory sensors. A certain impression is made.

    With repeated sips, sometimes a hint of roughness seems to build, perhaps to the point where an initial favorable impression begins to dim.

    OTOH, sometimes the opposite happens. Later sips reveal pleasant flavors that went unnoticed in the company of the initial surge of alcohol.

    What size pour do you feel allows you to form a reasonably complete impression of a given bourbon when served neat?

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  2. #2
    Enthusiast
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    Jul 2003
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    Re: Speaking of Small Pours . . .

    I don't form an opinion until after I finish the bottle, sometimes taking up to a year or two.

  3. #3
    Connoisseur
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    Oct 1999
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    Sweden
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    867

    Re: Speaking of Small Pours . . .

    I usually sample with both small and slightly larger sips.

    From the beginning this procedure stemmed from largely the same motive as Tim, i.e. getting the tastebuds "prepared", which of course is still applicable, but very soon I also realized that the amount sampled could result in different taste sensations (although not necessarily so).

    I don't form an opinion until after I finish the bottle, sometimes taking up to a year or two.
    Ditto. What can appear to be a very ordinary or non-descript whiskey can with time grow into a personal favorite. Rittenhouse 10yo BIB is one such example.

  4. #4
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    Re: Speaking of Small Pours . . .

    Great question, Dave.

    I used to measure 50 ml pours, but recently I have cut back to (usually) 1 oz or less. I am finding that I just want a good taste and that sometimes it seems like a chore to finish off a full-sized straight shot.

    My wife took our living room and turned it into a library/reading room. She put in two very expensive leather arm chairs and ottomans. I am sure I would love to read in there with a full-sized drink or even two, but she won't allow our sons in there with food or drink. So, to be fair, she won't allow me in there with a drink, either.

    Tim

  5. #5

    Re: Speaking of Small Pours . . .

    For tasting purposes, I use a glass which marks 20ml and 40ml for me. I generally pour to the 20ml (0.68 ounce).
    I usually don't judge the first sip of a pour, unless I've been tasting other things beforehand. Even then, a first sip can throw shadows of the previous taste, so the second sip seems to become more acclimatized and give truer sense of the current drink.
    Now, if I'm just pouring to have a drink, it's more often 1-1/2 to 2 ounces, because I generally try 2-3 different whiskeys.

  6. #6
    Disciple
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    Feb 2005
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    Re: Speaking of Small Pours . . .

    Hi Tim,
    Like you, I like to try 2 or 3 different bourbons in an evening, sometimes more. The larger the number of whiskies I plan on trying, the smaller my pours tend to be, but I don't like to go much under 30 ml. There are other times when I want to explore a whiskey in greater depth. On those occasions I usually have several pours of 40 to 60 ml in succession. The last sip is definitely not the same as the first. Depending upon the bourbon the finish builds and builds until it is extremely long-lasting. I remember walking home from the bar, taking the subway and then walking home from there (30 or 40 minutes total) after having had several generous pours of WT 12. I was still enjoying the finish when I got home.
    Ed

  7. #7

    Re: Speaking of Small Pours . . .

    I absolutely agree with your train of thought here. There are so many factors outside of the bourbon itself that can affect the tasting experience: what we are eating, is it the first drink or the x-th drink, our mood, our knowledge and feelings towards the bourbon from a marketing effect standpoint, the day of the week, our company, what's on the TV, the weather, etc...

    To me these types of influencing factors make this such a pleasurable hobby.

  8. #8
    Enthusiast
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    Aug 2005
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    Garden Grove, California
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    287

    Re: Speaking of Small Pours . . .

    My pours start out small and end up large towards the end. Usually with me talking to myself about how good the last one was and I need some more.

  9. #9
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Upstate, New York
    Posts
    125

    Re: Speaking of Small Pours . . .

    My pours start out small and end up large towards the end. Usually with me talking to myself about how good the last one was and I need some more.
    I just talked myself into a 3rd, but what the heck, its Friday!

    I never measure, I pour a moderate drink that almost always gets better near the bottom

    I do notice that the first taste the evening tends to be a little different each time, even for a familiar/favorite.

    Tim

  10. #10
    Disciple
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    Re: Speaking of Small Pours . . .

    Hi Tim,
    I do notice that the first taste the evening tends to be a little different each time, even for a familiar/favorite.

    I've noticed that, too. I tend to be cautious on first pours. Usually I pour a couple of sips, swirl it then taste. If it tastes nice then I pour more, if it doesn't I finish it then rinse the glass and try another bottle. I didn't do that tonight. I confidently poured a bit more than 2 oz of Old Charter 12. My confidence was not misplaced. Yum!
    Ed

 

 

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