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  1. #1
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    The % perception?

    This may not be the correct forum for this topic (if so someone in authority feel free to move it).

    This perhaps relates to my own busted, bruised, and subsequently numbed palate, but many times I've heard others say emphatically that a whiskey is over the top in alcohol where I don't personally find that to be the case - and yes, I realize taste is subjective.

    Sometimes this occurs with what I believe is genuine sincerity but other times, (and this my personal opinion - as it can't be proved) it seems like the comments are pre-imbedded if the person knows the item is higher in proof.

    I recently read a review (article) of higher end ryes on-line where a person said <paraphrase> "...the 2006 Sazerac Rye, @ 132º was way too much alcohol blah, blah..." - At first I thought what the hell is he talking about. Then I realized he must be refering to the Thomas H. Handy. In this case I truly wonder if the guy even tasted the whiskey and if so was it really too much alcohol, or did he simply read the stats regurgitating and imagining what 130+º whiskey must taste like.

    For me I've tasted plenty of whiskey 90º and below, that gives off more alcohol on intitial intake & upfront than whiskies 100º and above. Of course I have also tasted a couple where the alcohol level appears to have gone excessive in both the figures quoted on the bottle as well as taste quoted on the palate. But, that isn´t often or automatically the case. Some appear to pre-judge IMHO.

    Anybody else notice this?

  2. #2
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    Re: The % perception?

    Others with a lot more knowledge than myself will certainly chime in but my experience and impression is that just because a whiskey is higher proof doesn't mean that the alcohol will be upfront and prominant in the front, middle or back palate. I've had lower proof whiskey's that I thought had more of a "burn" than some higher proof ones. For instance, I can easily sit and drink WLW neat. You're right, taste is subjective but I believe there are so many other factors that play into a whiskey's drinkability; alcohol is simply one of them.
    “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” - P.J. O’Rourke
    Greg's "bourbondork" blog

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: The % perception?

    A lot has to do with how you drink. If you're used to drinking whiskey, you can take good-sized gulps of an 80 proof product without too much trouble. Try doing the same thing with Stagg and you're liable to have a bad reaction. The highest proof whiskeys can be consumed neat, but you need to take tiny sips and savor them. When you do that, your saliva (not to be gross) does the dilution. Unfortunately, there are macho jerks who insist on drinking in ways that are, for the body, barely tolerable, not sustainable, and not really very enjoyable. When people behave stupidly, then blame the product instead of themselves, well, that's just the way some people are.

  4. #4
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    Re: The % perception?

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    ... Unfortunately, there are macho jerks who insist on drinking in ways that are, for the body, barely tolerable, not sustainable, and not really very enjoyable. When people behave stupidly, then blame the product instead of themselves, well, that's just the way some people are.
    It is a terrible waste of good hooch but it's fun to put someone like that in their place by letting them drink Stagg "as a shot". Especially if he's a less than well loved in-law who had been running his mouth all night about how he normally drinks fire-ball 101 something or other.

  5. #5
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    Re: The % perception?

    Quote Originally Posted by ILLfarmboy View Post
    It is a terrible waste of good hooch but it's fun to put someone like that in their place by letting them drink Stagg "as a shot". Especially if he's a less than well loved in-law who had been running his mouth all night about how he normally drinks fire-ball 101 something or other.


    I've been very fortunate not to have relatives like that. In any case, I don't care for shots - I want to taste my whiskey!
    Oh no! You have walked into the slavering fangs of a lurking grue!

  6. #6

    Re: The % perception?

    One of the greatest joys of bourbondom (and I add the proviso that G.T. Stagg is NOT my favorite bourbon, but one made for this exercise) is to enjoy a single pour, in all its renditions, over a period of time.
    Stagg is high-proof. It will be hard to 'throw back'. But, sipped gently over an hour or more, you will learn more about bourbon than in a month of Sundays reading this board. And that's sayin' sumthin'!
    Tim

  7. #7
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    Re: The % perception?

    Quote Originally Posted by TNbourbon View Post
    Stagg is high-proof. It will be hard to 'throw back'. But, sipped gently over an hour or more, you will learn more about bourbon than in a month of Sundays reading this board. And that's sayin' sumthin'!
    Stagg is not exactly one of my favorites either....yet. Now, that being said, I will admit it is hard to beat when taken in over a period of time as you suggest. As a matter of fact, that is exactly what I am doing right this moment with the 131.8 Stagg. I put a big splash over a couple of good size ice cubes and will enjoy it for the remainder of the evening. For me, it will be a 60-90 minute experience and one that is always savored.

  8. #8
    Taster
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    Re: The % perception?

    While I agree with the above comments, I'm convinced I've been in the presence of a few who have judged a whiskey without bothering to try it. If it's not 90º, they already have a bias etc.

    For me it´s a little bit disturbing in that I don´t believe the % should automatically affect ones ability to enjoy something - particularly before they´ve ever even tried it.

  9. #9
    Connoisseur
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    Re: The % perception?

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    A lot has to do with how you drink. ...

    That's a great point Chuck. It's been so long since I've done anything except sip and savor Bourbon, always neat, I honestly forget folks "do shots"... I used to, in College! But it isn't enjoyable and enjoyment of the distiller's craft is WHY I drink Bourbon, PERIOD.

    To the origional post, I agree, some of the smoothest, least alcoholic tasting Bourbons are the older, fuller bodied, higher proof offerings.

    And Stagg IS one of my most favorite pours.... And Ohio only got one case this year....

    Ken
    "Wealth can be wonderful, but you know, success can test one's mettle as surely as the strongest adversary. "

  10. #10

    Re: The % perception?

    Ok, time to pour some Bookers...

    I agree with you. I do not find the high proof bourbons (well, I've only had bookers, so I don't find bookers) to be overpowering at all. I love the flavor and the depth.

    That said, I generally drink bourbon with exactly three cubes of ice, and bookers is particularly good that way. Still, I've tasted everything I own neat, and enjoy it that way as well. Generally I like it to be cold, which is the reason for the ice. I can't keep all of my bourbon in the freezer...

    Joel
    "Oh Bother!" said Pooh as he slapped another magazine in his AK-47...

    http://vinesnwines.blogspot.com

 

 

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