As much as I am enjoying sipping the dozen or so bourbons I've bought in the last several weeks, I find myself increasingly confused as to what it is that causes me to enjoy one bourbon more than other. Even worse, I find that my perceptions shift from one day (or minute) to the next.

For example, I revisited Rebel Yell a couple of days ago, and I found it not nearly as "bitey" and thin as I had recalled. On the flip side, I drank some Elijah Craig 12 y/o last night, and the prune flavor that I recalled seemed to be missing, replaced with something more on the order of burned pie crust. In between I took another pass at Knob Creek, on the rocks for the first time, and all of the subtlety had vanished, replaced by a single dominant flavor, somewhere between carbon and leather, yet not altogether unpleasant.

No more than I can recognize and recall flavors, maybe I'd have just as much fun comparing Old Sav-On Pharmacy with Costco Private Brand.

All of this leads me to wonder whether there might be some orderly way to become acquainted with the flavors present in bourbon, starting with the most basic (wheat vs. rye?) and gradually adding complexity.

Has anyone ever undertaken the challenge of creating a lesson plan for new tasters?

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield


Retiree, Musician, Dog-Lover, Whiskey-Drinker