This is just a thought I've been playing around with and would like to hear anyone's thinking on this phenomenon of the power of suggestion.
I've only had occasional opportunities where I've tasted rare whiskies and more moderate amounts of times to taste premium bottles (currently available). For me there seems to be a great deal of mental influence when it comes to tasting the above examples.
In other words I sometimes find it hard to separate the hype and excitement of tasting a bourbon or rye that carries with it a certain allure due to its limited availability, high praise, or expensive stature. I haven't really created the opportunity to go back to a particular whiskey and do a blind tasting to see if the results are the same or similar.
Additionally, the setting has also contributed to a favorable whiskey memory. This last point, however, does add an element that is less about the sheer tasting experience.
One of my most cherished tasting moments was with a mini of Four Roses Rye blend I got off eBay. It was from the '40s or so and I found it to be amazing. But why is this so? Was it really some of the best stuff I've tasted or was it the idea that it was from before my time?
So I'm just curious to hear if anyone has played around with this idea in a more controlled manner, or if you can share a similar time with a "rare" pour.
Ultimately, none of this truly matters. The end result for the taster is in the memory or present experience of the meaning attached to the whiskey. Someone did once say that the mind is the most errogenous of all human organs. Perhaps this is true of gustation.