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smokinjoe

"Pro Tips"

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smokinjoe

You don't have to be a "pro", or even very experienced in our hobby to contribute here.  We all have something we know, do, have experienced, etc., that someone else here should learn.  My pro tip is:

Arm & Hammer with baking soda toothpaste.  Most minty toothpastes funk out the palate, resulting in not the best bourbon tasting experience.  A&H just cleans without leaving any breath freshener residue to taint ones palate.  

 

So Fellow bourbonians, got any pro tips for us?

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chappy6107

I love this A&H tip.  I hate having to wait to enjoy a pour because the long lingering after taste that most toothpastes leave.  applies to beer and foods as well.

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Kane

Pro tip: Enjoy your bourbon first, then brush your teeth ;)

 

But seriously, do you do this before serious tasting sessions? Of course I avoid spicy food etc before tastings, but never thought of literally cleansing my palate. Worth a try I guess, let's see if it makes a difference.

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chappy6107
26 minutes ago, Kane said:

Pro tip: Enjoy your bourbon first, then brush your teeth ;)

 

But seriously, do you do this before serious tasting sessions? Of course I avoid spicy food etc before tastings, but never thought of literally cleansing my palate. Worth a try I guess, let's see if it makes a difference.

LOL

 

I didnt read it as a way to cleanse the palate before a tasting but in general.  The toothpaste I use seems to linger forever.

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Kepler

Before tasting, I like to prep my palate with dark chocolate, something like 60% cacao.

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Patrick_OKC
3 hours ago, smokinjoe said:

You don't have to be a "pro", or even very experienced in our hobby to contribute here.  We all have something we know, do, have experienced, etc., that someone else here should learn.  My pro tip is:

Arm & Hammer with baking soda toothpaste.  Most minty toothpastes funk out the palate, resulting in not the best bourbon tasting experience.  A&H just cleans without leaving any breath freshener residue to taint ones palate.  

 

So Fellow bourbonians, got any pro tips for us?

Reminds me of tooth powder, which preceded tooth paste. hated it. With a passion.

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smokinjoe
1 hour ago, chappy6107 said:

LOL

 

I didnt read it as a way to cleanse the palate before a tasting but in general.  The toothpaste I use seems to linger forever.

Right.  The "good for drinking bourbon " part came after I discovered the good effects it had on my palate in general.  The worst was drinking orange juice after brushing my teeth in the AM.  Just a general thing, as we many times brush up before heading out.  But I will say, I've brushed with it before tastings and it does get things to a good state to start.

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FacePlant

I like to put a spritz of real lemon juice in my ice water when smoking a good stogie and sipping bourbon. 

Doesn't taint the bourbon and takes a little dirt out of the smoke.

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gurgalunas
2 hours ago, chappy6107 said:

LOL

 

I didnt read it as a way to cleanse the palate before a tasting but in general.  The toothpaste I use seems to linger forever.

I read it as Joe was sipping bourbon at 730 in the morning, and had a toothpaste conflict.  

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PaulO

I thought Joe just gargled with Weller. :lol:

 

Seriously- If you can, do your shopping in the middle of the day and early.

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GaryT

When out shopping (especially if not at your regular store), have a glass or collapsible cup in the car.  If you stumble upon a store pick that looks really interesting, buy one and try at the car.  Wish I had done this early on, as I'd have stocked up on some really nice store picks.  But now carry a Barton collapsible shot-glass in my car at all times for this purpose :) 

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musekatcher

For a neutral palette cleanser, I use saltines or oyster crackers.  The salt and starch are pretty good at removing coatings and residual things.  They also provide a consistent starting "zero" of flavor, kind of like a calibration flavor. 

 

I like the idea of a shot glass in the vehicle to spot-taste store selections.  I've more than once got home, discovered a particularly good batch, only to discover its all gone when I got back to the LS.  Warning:  don't try sampling in the car without a container.  Turning up a whiskey bottle in a parking lot is bound to produce unwanted responses! 

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JTaylor
34 minutes ago, musekatcher said:

 Turning up a whiskey bottle in a parking lot is bound to produce unwanted responses! 

Yeah well, I’ve done it more than once! :D

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smokinjoe

Pro Tip:

We've all heard of Parafilm as a very good film wrap to be used over corked bottles to  prevent leakage and oxidation during transport and long term storage.  Better than adhesive tapes which can leave a glue residue, or Saran Wrap which doesn't always stick well enough.  

Instead of ordering Parafilm from a lab supply house, I use Glad's Press n Seal.  Available at any grocery, it is a very flexible plastic wrap with a pressure sensitive adhesive technology that allows for a great seal, but also easy release with no adhesive residue when ready to open.  Food grade and very good moisture and oxygen barrier properties.  Like $4 for 140 Sq. Ft.  An added benefit is that you can use it around the kitchen for various storage and food protection applications, so it's not a "special purchase".

IMG_4277.JPG

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Mako254

I try to be disciplined with my buying. I have a general plan when ever I am traveling or shopping in bottle shops. 

 

Obviously, any unicorn bottles at a fair price are automatic buys. 

 

Store picks of roses are just about automatic. Older Evan singles usually go home w/ me as well. 

 

I rarely get something just to get something at a shop I dont visit often. 

 

Stuff that I like to keep on hand for daily drinking (OF sig, McKenna 10) I buy from my primary shop. And I make sure my guy there sees me do it. 

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Harry in WashDC
5 hours ago, GaryT said:

When out shopping (especially if not at your regular store), have a glass or collapsible cup in the car.  If you stumble upon a store pick that looks really interesting, buy one and try at the car.  Wish I had done this early on, as I'd have stocked up on some really nice store picks.  But now carry a Barton collapsible shot-glass in my car at all times for this purpose :) 

Indeed.  I've kept plastic glasses in the car for a couple years, now, after I missed out on a batch of really good HMcK 10s.  I've tried the "just open it in the car and swig from the bottle" approach, but trial and error has proven that I get less than a full experience.  Hence, the glasses.  But, they were thin and broke easily, and glass glasses got sticky over time or I forgot to take them back to the car after washing.  Or forgot to wash them.

 

BUT, thanks to an SBer who suggested these on another thread, I recently bought a pack of Tossware 4 oz. heavy plastic, food-non-tainting glasses from Amazon and keep a half dozen in the car.  On Amazon, and more info here - https://www.tossware.com/products/copy-of-12-oz-tumbler-jr 

Edited by Harry in WashDC
I just can't leave well enough alone.

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RWBadley

All good tips for sure. Especially keeping some sort of small cup in the car for tasting. You never know when a chance to pick up multiple of a good deal will show up.

 

Here's a few tips I use for (critical) tasting, which is a different animal than recreational tasting:lol:

 

Better earlier in the day on a more fresh palate.

 

Drink clean water before and with, especially with higher proof. Our tap water here doesn't help- as it's full of smell so filtered water is a must at my place.

 

The saltines, a neutral cracker or flatbread can help with consistency and taste reset. I like to water back the cracker.

 

I try not to dilute at first in the glass, but a clearing of water over the tongue can open a pour up. If water needs to go in, so be it- but see how it evolves with air time first. Do the other samples need water? Were they all similar proof? (probably better) Use a measured spoon and try to be consistent.

 

SBS blind is certainly best- but often not available. I can pretty much fool myself by pouring the samples into several glasses, leave the bottles and glasses in the order poured but then move the glasses to another room or area. Be sure to set the glasses down in correct order then walk away for a short bit. Come back and taste just as if you don't know what they are. It does take a little mind clearing- but works pretty well. Just don't allow the voice in your head to remind you what you're tasting. If you need a better shell game mix the glasses around but be sure you marked the bottoms of the glass with a reference for ID

 

Paper and pen creates a better mental focus as it forces you to create adjectives for descriptors. Keep going back over the samples to eventually form your favorites, why and what it is about it. Why are the other ones less good? Is it me or is there something wrong with the pour? What might have created that flavor I'm tasting? Am I being objective? or playing to a preference based on...? What does that (aroma, flavor, finish) remind me of?.

 

 The education here is not always to just taste the pour for preference hierarchy - but also to understand own palate limitations and/or gaps in knowledge. Having another person of less or greater knowledge can be helpful, each for their own reasons.

 

Don't rush. Higher proof complex pours especially can take quite a while. We often talk about how a pour evolves over time in the bottle, yet the biggest tell will be how it evolves over time in the glass. One of my favorite lines is from a fellow beer judge with his wry remark... "I think it needs more time in the glass" about a sample that started out less than stellar- but in that case would quite probably remain so. I've often been surprised with how a pour can change over time, along with increased thought and then understanding of what is exactly going on with this thing...

 

One other thing- if one of the pours seems to be a wild outlier in character- figure out what to do with it. Maybe it doesn't belong in this grouping. Sometimes setting it aside can be best for not confusing style parameters, and can do it a better service in either another group or on it's own.

 

Cheers,

RW

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Northern Bourbon

When nosing whiskey, try blowing into the glass for a second or two and directly after that, put your nose into it. It will remove some of the alcohol vapors, making it easier to get to the wood/barrel-aging notes.

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flahute
19 hours ago, PaulO said:

I thought Joe just gargled with Weller. :lol:

 

Seriously- If you can, do your shopping in the middle of the day and early.

Different Joe!

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musekatcher
9 hours ago, Harry in WashDC said:

BUT, thanks to an SBer who suggested these on another thread, I recently bought a pack of Tossware 4 oz. heavy plastic, food-non-tainting glasses from Amazon and keep a half dozen in the car.  On Amazon, and more info here - https://www.tossware.com/products/copy-of-12-oz-tumbler-jr 

These can work in a pinch:

image.png.6cf56d1b623de6840c4233a6796b5ad8.png

 

And this thread reminded me I have some acrylic shot glasses like these for camping:

 

image.thumb.png.8b2dd0d70791f35e62031ced32703439.png

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PaulO
3 hours ago, flahute said:

Different Joe!

Ha-ha, my mistake.

 

Ok more tips- Go hunting in the middle of the week.  Deliveries are coming in.  The manager is probably there too.  It's a good time to shoot the breeze, ask questions.

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graftonbc1

If you go to a tasting that features many brands (and lots of people):

 

1. Have a plan (of sorts). Find out ahead of time what is going to be poured, identify your must try, and do those first. Sensory overload will harsh the tasting (and your buzz).

2. When you get a sample, step back from the table, even if you want to discuss with the vendor. Nothing is more uncomfortable to the vendor and the rest of the patrons than a person who takes a sample, stands in front of the table to drink it, then discusses and wants something else. You can always step back into line, or if you want a flight, ask for the vendor to pour you a couple of samples and find a place to sample.

3. If you step up to a table and you aren't sure what you want to try, ask the vendor for a suggestion. Most of the time they can match you with something they think will work for you.

4. If you try something you do not like, do not spit it forcefully from your mouth over the vendor, and then fall on the floor clutching your throat as if you have been poisoned.

5. If the venue is offering food, cheese and crackers, chocolate, etc., completely swallow anything you have been eating before stepping up to a table to get a sample.

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smokinjoe

Pro Tip:

When hosting a tasting with several people and/or several pours, one of the most tedious parts of setting it up is getting small, even, and accurate pours into multiple small drinking vessels without splashing, spilling and dripping booze everywhere.  To make this process go infinitely faster, cleaner, and easier, get yourself one of those pour spout doohickies like in the pics below.  No runs, no drips, no errors...

IMG_4284.JPG

IMG_4285.JPG

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Mako254
12 hours ago, PaulO said:

Ha-ha, my mistake.

 

Ok more tips- Go hunting in the middle of the week.  Deliveries are coming in.  The manager is probably there too.  It's a good time to shoot the breeze, ask questions.

 

One of the perks of being a nurse. Days off mid week to make your rounds. 

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tanstaafl2
8 hours ago, smokinjoe said:

Pro Tip:

When hosting a tasting with several people and/or several pours, one of the most tedious parts of setting it up is getting small, even, and accurate pours into multiple small drinking vessels without splashing, spilling and dripping booze everywhere.  To make this process go infinitely faster, cleaner, and easier, get yourself one of those pour spout doohickies like in the pics below.  No runs, no drips, no errors...

IMG_4284.JPG

IMG_4285.JPG

Great tip! Some also come with a specific amount that they pour (1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, 3/4 oz etc). Very useful for pouring multiples pours although they take a little practice as you have to hold them just so to get a fairly consistent pour. Just be sure to rinse (and dry) well in between different whiskies.

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