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THE Worst tastebuds of Whisky mag /most subjective?

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THE Worst tastebuds of Whisky mag /most subjective?

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:07 pm

I would already at this point like to apologize to our host, the whisky mag, but having just combed through some 60 of their whisky tasting notes I feel invigorated enough to post this controversial topic.

For me, I feel the least knowledgeable and least in-tune with whiskies tasting notes must come from M. Nouet. Please forgive me, but the scores and notes she dishes out are just not in tune with whiskies.

Other opinions?
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Postby Reggaeblues » Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:50 pm

Dear MRJ,

What a great topic! wouldn't be surprised if this one runs and runs...

It's so subjective. just today i was thinking how, of all the whiskies I know and love, especially Southern islays and trad. sherried Macallans, all of which are to me distinctive and fairly recognizable even when offered "anonymously" so to speak...that the humble glenmorangie 10 year old, though far from being my regular dram, almost NEVER tastes the same twice. almost mystical!

...then i read your post and of course tasters are s subject to the vagaries of mood and senses too. I mean, some of jim Murray's descriptions, e.g. an SMWS 37 yer old Longmorn gifted me by a former Genesis band member, was spot on! (That malt BTW was given me because the S
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Postby Reggaeblues » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:05 am

...sorry 'bout that! Pressed a wrong key!

Anyway, the trademark SMWS description on the bottle simply said"A Rasta malt", which given by musical taste and style-i'm a pro muso - was right up my street - which is why he chose it! Great dram.

And there are other great reviews in his 'Bible"

and yet, as an Ardbeg freak, i just did not "get" Serendipity being THAT good, as he made out! In fact having bought 2, i swapped the 2nd at oddbins in Battersea( which,plug plug, probably has the best malt presentation of any Oddbins) for a "Still young" Glad i did!

Likewise Jim on the mac fine oak 15. my malt maniac neighbour and i tried hard to like it, but dismissed it as "bland" when compared to a "traditional" sherried Macallan - one of the whiskies i cut my teeth on. Yet JM gives it the highest mark of any macallan...Go figure!

I still rate him though. Dave Broom is fairly measured -not too hysterical, i find. and MJackson maybe more traditional in his approach, but I like his assessments generally.

so there you go.

"One Scotch, one bourbon ,One beer" John lee hooker recommends.

Mind if i go with "One scotch,one scotch snd one scotch"?
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Postby hpulley » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:12 am

In another topic I said I don't know a while well until I've had a lot more than a sample. These people are supposed to be pros but they're only human and honestly I don't think they drink enough of a whisky to be able to rate it properly. Thus I say ratings are interesting but not reliable so if you want to try a whisky, go ahead and try it.

Harry
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Postby Lawrence » Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:19 am

Her knowledge and skill at assessing a whisky are very good, I have no worries about her scoring ability.
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Postby kallaskander » Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:54 am

Hi there,

we talked about the general issues of taste, preference and objectivity before methinks and we shall do so for evermore I dare say.
If you analyse the tasting notes of Michael Jackson and Dave Broom and others who contribute, you might find peculiarities as well.
It just goes to show that you just can not argue about taste.
In complying to other´s tasting notes you can make two mistakes:
The mistake of the first order, e.g. believing tasting notes and reject whiskies without trying yourself which are superb.
The mistake of the second order, e.g. buying a whisky for the tasting note you read somewhere and be disapointed.

Greetings
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Postby Aidan » Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:13 am

I think all these pros should conduct their tastings blind. Otherwise, it's a bit of a waste of time.
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Postby Drrich1965 » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:32 pm

Well. I am no pro by any stretch, and my palate and nose are not even nearly as sharp as my wife's (and she only drinks SMS due to yours truely). However, I am going to share a very long tasting note to demonstrate how my tastes vary by day, by the amount of time that a bottle has been open, and by my developoing "understanding" of the malt. I understand how nutty it sounds; it is merely to give a new spin on a discussion about subjectivty/objectivity in tasteing.

Bowmore 12yo 1992 (46%, Signatory, Un-chillfiltered Collection, Cask 2228)

"August 2006. Ugg.. This is one that truly makes you understand the variability of single cask, independent bottlings. I have had two others from this series, and they have been great. This one though is not. Too bad, as this was a present from Jill, bought while she was in Colorado. She was so excited to have picked it out. In truth, she made a perfect selection. An Islay, one that I was certainly unlikely to have, and one that as a bit "funky." Sadly, the funky carries over the actual whisky. The nose is not that bad, a bit younger seeming than the OB 12, and similar to one of the Bowmore bastard malts. Something sour at the end of the nose, and that is what carries into the mouth and the finish. Something very sour, almost metallic tasking. Is this the taste of rotten wood? I am not sure, but something went wrong here. At this point, all I can do is hope some oxidation (time in the open bottle) does it some good. I feel almost guilty about sending this to some of my trading buddies, but I know that I am always exciting to try new malts, even if they are less than stellar. Also, it is part of my own education to compare my responses to those of others. Perhaps I need to spend more time with this one and try to pick out the elements more clearly. We shall see. Ok, second tasking and I think the malt is mellowing out with a bit with oxidation and time. I think that the metallic taste is actually some odd peaty quality, or perhaps it has lessoned and the peat is coming through more cleanly. In any event, still not great, but moved from a 60 to a 70. TAKE THREE: It seems after almost a month, the malt has mellowed out even more. I was about to give up on it, but Darvin, whom I sent a sample to, enjoyed it.(He called it the "White Bowmore," cute, and gave it a 86).The nose totally clears up. In fact, there is this gentle sweetness on the nose that balances the more harsh early notes well. That metallic taste is nearly gone, just a hint left on the end of the mouth, just before the finish. Let's call it a playful sour hint at this point. After a few minutes, I get raisins on the nose, maybe rum raison ice cream. The mouth is rich, rich more than complex, if that makes sense. The finish becomes long and peaty. What an odd ride this malt has become! After several minutes, the sweetness seems to abate a bit. How do you score a malt like this? An average of all scores from each impression? Do you give it the benefit of the doubt and score it at its end? Give it the initial score as that is what one will experience when they first try it? I guess in truth it has to be my overall sense of the enjoyment of the malt, and this malt has provided me with an interesting experience. Would I recommend it, no, but it seems to deserve a decent score. Yet, there is nothing "average" about it, so a 75 could not do. Yet, would I recommend it? I don't think so. No numerical score will suffice, but lets call it a 79 and call it quits (maybe :)). P.S (see?:)). The glass smells wonderful afterwards, almost like it does with an Ardbeg. Mid Sept. Guess what, having a bit tonight, and like it a bit more. And yes, I have to change the score. This has developed into a wonderful malt; or perhaps I am learnign to understand it more. Very wonderful mix of peat and sweet malt; raisons and smoky. Wonderful now. Wow, what has happned here. Seems I am learning too"

Final score 87

What a wild evolution. Fortuntaly, I was able to enjoy the last half of the bottle very much.
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Postby Ardbeg311 » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:40 pm

I too have noted some pecularities with WM tastings as I have with every site/book that scores whisky. However for me they all add to the mix. If I cannot personally taste a whisky beforehand, then I will line up a number of reviews of the particular bottle I am interested in and try to find what are the things common in the tasting notes. If a number of reviewers found peat, smoke, and sherry, and other flavors that I like then I will give that bottle a try (or the reverse: I will avoid buying a bottle if number of reviews found certain tastes present I don't like in a whisky). I will sample as many different whiskies as I can, but when it comes to putting down hard-earned cash then I like to have as much information as possible and that is where I can profit from WM. Personally, I have not found MN to be that far off in her reviews. I may not agree with her scores, but in the end I guess I don't really profit from the numerical score that each give but from their descriptions.

In a similar way, there are number of people here on this forum who have shared enough of their experiences of whisky that I probably could anticipate my own enjoyment of a bottle based upon theirs. That is, I have come to discover that their taste and mine are quite similar.**

Drrich1965: Interesting "history" with the bottle. A jump from 79 to 87 is quite a jump. I confess I have never had such a divergent scoring from start to finish (or any point) as you have.

**I think I wil add a new thread here on this.
Last edited by Ardbeg311 on Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:43 pm

Eventhough I'm sceptical about some of JM's scores I rate him highly.

Maybe the Macallan oak wood scores are more objective than people give him credit for. Firstly let me say I'm not a fan but if he can taste a Macallan without saying where is all that wonderful sherriedness, well is that not objective? The issue is that you have a certian group of people saying that the Macallan charachter is being subdued by the Sherry and anothers saying that the sherry is a Major part of the charachter so who is right??? you'll find both are because it is what you want to get out of a whiskey that counts.

Yes tasting notes are a very objective subject and people need to get used to different tasters and read between the lines before they place their life in their hands :wink:
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Re: THE Worst tastebuds of Whisky mag /most subjective?

Postby bamber » Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:52 pm

M.R.J. wrote:I would already at this point like to apologize to our host, the whisky mag, but having just combed through some 60 of their whisky tasting notes I feel invigorated enough to post this controversial topic.

For me, I feel the least knowledgeable and least in-tune with whiskies tasting notes must come from M. Nouet. Please forgive me, but the scores and notes she dishes out are just not in tune with whiskies.

Other opinions?


Dave Broom and Jim Murray are the best tasters IMO. So much so that I would buy a full bottle based purely on their opinion. M. Nouet has not really stood out either way (good or bad), with regards Scotch but her bourbon scores and tasting notes are objectively and absolutely wrong ;)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:10 pm

kallaskander wrote:It just goes to show that you just can not argue about taste.


Oh really? :P
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Postby kallaskander » Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:39 pm

Hi there,

not really. :roll:

Greetings
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:43 pm

I find it pointless to argue about taste as the only people who want to argue with me haven't got any.
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Postby sku » Tue Oct 17, 2006 5:17 pm

The question I have is not whether a given taster's notes are reliable, but whether tasting notes are useful at all. It is helpful to know what whiskies a reviewer enjoys and why, but does it really matter or help anyone to know that the reviewer felt the nose had subtle notes of elderberry and the finish had deep honey. These are subjective tastes that have to do with one's association with other foods and aromas, associations which may well very from person to person and place to place. (Take, nose of strawberry, for instance. I'm guessing a strawberry in the UK may taste quite different than the wide variety of strawberries I can get in California -- does it nose of the gaviota, seascape or chandler variety? It could make a big difference). My experience is that these type of notes don't have anything to do with what I will taste in the whiskey. I would rather have reviewers stick to big picture ideas, tell me something factual about how the whisky is made, and give a simple rating. I think MJ does this better than most.

I would also agree with those who emphasize the limits of a single tasting. I feel that to really get to know a whisky, I need to go through a substantial amount of the bottle. As others have noted, the whisky can change over time and the first taste is inevitably mingled with expectations about the particular bottle. How I like what I taste depends somewhat on what I expect - am I surprised? disappointed? All of this plays a role. It takes a few more tastings for me to fully appreciate the whisky on its merits. And of course, variables around the tasting change. Are you tasting in the morning, noon or night? Are you tasting with food or without? Is this your first glass or your seventh?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Oct 17, 2006 5:42 pm

Nick Brown wrote:I find it pointless to argue about taste as the only people who want to argue with me haven't got any.


Oh Nick - someone will surely bite on this well baited hook!:lol:
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Postby bamber » Tue Oct 17, 2006 5:59 pm

Nick Brown wrote:I find it pointless to argue about taste as the only people who want to argue with me haven't got any.


I beg to differ :)
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Postby Lawrence » Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:50 pm

Aidan wrote:I think all these pros should conduct their tastings blind. Otherwise, it's a bit of a waste of time.


If you are commenting on the WM tasters then you'll be happy to know that they do in fact tatse blind and I understand, three seperate times from each sample.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:17 pm

sku wrote:The question I have is not whether a given taster's notes are reliable, but whether tasting notes are useful at all. It is helpful to know what whiskies a reviewer enjoys and why, but does it really matter or help anyone to know that the reviewer felt the nose had subtle notes of elderberry and the finish had deep honey. These are subjective tastes that have to do with one's association with other foods and aromas, associations which may well very from person to person and place to place. (Take, nose of strawberry, for instance. I'm guessing a strawberry in the UK may taste quite different than the wide variety of strawberries I can get in California -- does it nose of the gaviota, seascape or chandler variety? It could make a big difference). My experience is that these type of notes don't have anything to do with what I will taste in the whiskey. I would rather have reviewers stick to big picture ideas, tell me something factual about how the whisky is made, and give a simple rating. I think MJ does this better than most.

I would also agree with those who emphasize the limits of a single tasting. I feel that to really get to know a whisky, I need to go through a substantial amount of the bottle. As others have noted, the whisky can change over time and the first taste is inevitably mingled with expectations about the particular bottle. How I like what I taste depends somewhat on what I expect - am I surprised? disappointed? All of this plays a role. It takes a few more tastings for me to fully appreciate the whisky on its merits. And of course, variables around the tasting change. Are you tasting in the morning, noon or night? Are you tasting with food or without? Is this your first glass or your seventh?

Very good points!
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Postby MGillespie » Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:27 am

See now why I don't post tasting notes or rate whiskies on WhiskyCast? ;)

Mark
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Oct 22, 2006 10:03 pm

What I find interesting is how in my humble opinion some whisky tasters try on purpose to be somewhat different from 'established names' in their opinions, and seemingly attempt to 'shock their way into our attention' - or just be different for differences' sake.

At the same time, some seem adamant to disregard some well known whiskies by putting them down a mark just for the sake of being able to do so.

And finally, some just seem rather uninterested in the whiskies - they appear more interested in 'does this whisky compliment my custard pie?' or not..

Matters of taste are certainly matters of taste, but again - it does seem occasionally some people, given the opportunity, just wish to 'be different', disregarding anything else.
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