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Should whisky tastings be conducted blind?

Take part in our whisky polls and votes. You can also post your own polls in this forum.

Should whisky tastings be conducted blind?

Yes
61
66%
No
14
15%
Maybe
17
18%
 
Total votes : 92

Should whisky tastings be conducted blind?

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Sep 29, 2003 11:04 am

Should whisky tastings be conducted blind?
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Should whisky tastings be conducted blind?

Postby Lawrence » Mon Sep 29, 2003 4:36 pm

It depends on the group and what you're trying to accomplish but really, does it add any enjoyment value to the whisky?
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Postby hpulley » Mon Sep 29, 2003 7:01 pm

Tasting blind is the only way to discover tastes. Tasking by reading notes first is a way to convince yourself what you should taste, instead of what you _do_ taste.
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Postby Admiral » Thu Oct 09, 2003 5:53 am

It certainly does depend on what you're trying to achieve.

If you are looking purely objectively to identify the aromas and flavours, then the name of the malt won't matter to you.

However, I know that if I'm handed a Macallan I'll look for the sherry in it, and if I'm handed a Highland Park, I'll look for the heather and the honey. In other words, knowing the malt influences the flavours and aromas I "think" I'm going to find.

But this can also be a fun thing - if you're used to how a certain malt USUALLY tastes, and then you're handed something from that distillery which noses & tastes outside the usual profile, then this also makes for interesting assessment.

I am also aware of many people who taste a whisky blind, claim it's sensational, and then look shocked when they find out afterwards that it's a malt they usually hate.

I don't think a simple "yes" or "no" answer is sufficient.
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Postby mickblueeyes » Tue Nov 04, 2003 6:05 am

I find that the best way to taste a malt, IMO, is to learn everything that is possible about it prior to tasting it. I study the distillery, its history, the geography, the water source, etc., etc., and then taste. The added information gives me far better insight into the malt.
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Should whisky tastings be conducted blind?

Postby Ian Fraser » Fri Apr 23, 2004 1:02 pm

IMO all whisky tastings should have some mystery about them.
The thrill of not knowing what you have in the glass adds to the excitement.
As a member of a small band of whisky lovers, here in Sweden, we used to have our meetings with the host providing the Whisky and a mountain of information about what we were going to drink.

This all became a bit tedious when some of us were a bit short of time in the preparation department.
So I decided that every time we were at my house I would prefer to simply pour up the different offerings and let them loose on their own.
The whole idea being to see what the dram has by way of characteristics and to compare our findings, then as a comparison read what Michael Jackson or Jim Murray had to say about the same Whisky.

I have gone as far as wrapping the bottle in tin foil or even in a cloth bag that I use for my shoes, when out travelling.

If you already know what you are going to be tasting, you may have some preconceived ideas about how it tasted the last time you drank the same spirit.

I think that it is equally impoortant to try and follow the guidlines regarding what you have eaten BEFORE you are doing any sort of tasting.

Carry on tasting blind or otherwise - Just enjoy the whisky and the company of your friends.
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Postby Aidan » Tue Jun 29, 2004 2:48 pm

Agree with most here - some should and some shouldn't, depending on the goal of the exercise.

Some "whisky experts" would wet their pants if they had to do a blind tasting, though.
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tastings

Postby maltnutter » Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:07 pm

I would say that if the result of the tasting is to produce some sort of independent score, then they must be blind - the only way to really concentrate on taste and smell is to go blind, otherwise you can never account for the 'emotional' side kicking in and effecting your judgement.

One man's creamy Macallen is another's oily spirt, one man's bop between the eyes is another's Laphroig cask strength!

If the tasting is for fun or to introduce new whiskies to friends, then you don't need to go blind. The story behind the whiskies always warms the taste buds.

I read somewhere that blenders have the blandest offices going, all white walls and no windows so that, if the sun is out and a good looking blond walks by putting them in a happy mood, they don't turn to taste an ordinary whisky and say 'life is great - that's a great whisky'!!!
:wink:
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Postby JimHall » Fri Dec 31, 2004 2:34 am

This goes hand in hand with the question "does colour matter?"
if you answer no to that q then surely this should be a yes.
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Postby Lawrence » Mon Jan 03, 2005 8:19 am

After reading all your posts I have to admit that I've been swayed a little by the excellent comments you're all made. I would hate to see all the tastings I'm involved in tasted blind but I can see the advantages depending on the situation. Out Club started out with 100% blind tastings but abandoned them quite a while ago. We now conduct about one a year blind and I think it's time we held another that way.
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Postby Admiral » Mon Jan 03, 2005 10:28 pm

My club has several branches around the country, and some of them insist on 'blind only' tastings, whereas others may feature just one blind bottling on the night. The branch I'm involved in usually features just one blind on the night, mainly so that we can all have a bit of fun trying to guess what it is. But the thing that stands out to me from these occasions is how often malts that would normally get pooh-poohed end up getting quite positive comments and scores.....right up until it is unmasked.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Lawrence » Mon Jan 03, 2005 10:50 pm

Yes, were all held hostage to our preconceptions. I'm glad this question was asked on the forum.
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Postby Rudy » Sat Jan 08, 2005 4:12 pm

Blind tastings are great events.
Not only is there more excitement (who has guessed most destilleries right?), but you only have your own senses as a guide. The discussions during the tasting were very helpful to me to develop my ability to distinguish and describe taste and to discover what we were enjoying. This discovery is a great way to appreciate whisky.

However, you can have the same fun when knowing what you're getting. At the end, having a great time is the most important thing.

Rudy.
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Jan 08, 2005 5:51 pm

Rudy you're correct in commenting on excitement and discovery, those are key to keeping a group interested.
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Postby Admiral » Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:44 pm

Also, blind tastings introduce one other aspect to the event......competition! :twisted:

I love the competitive aspect to it as people try and guess what it is, and the (rare) jubilation experienced when you get it right!

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Lawrence » Sun Jan 09, 2005 7:02 pm

Yes, that's correct also, there is a lot of happiness when somebody discovers the name.
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Postby gpgab97 » Tue Feb 01, 2005 9:37 pm

I believe in the tasting of whiskey to be just a part of the entire experience. To see the dark hues often given from maturity is just one example i can think of. Recently I had purchased both 18 and 12 yr bottles of suntory, and found myself admiring the lighter(and not only in sight but on the palate as well) 12 yr. This experience would not have been as enjoyable had the glasses been dark in color or my eyes hidden from thier glow. If it concerns the brand i would have to say this may become more exiting because comparing two similar malts seperated only by their notes exerted once experienced really seperates them from the bottle and labeling. Many of your favourites may still be out there hiding behind a tid shroud as i have found.
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Postby richard » Tue Feb 01, 2005 10:23 pm

me and a friend had a tasting at macallan and talked to bob delgano about the cobalt nosing glasses these are blue just in case we were given a measure of a malt whisky i nosed it and said its bunnahavin my tatse buds said i was right quite young no problem feeling chuffed bob agreed i was right he then poored the contents into a clear glass it was as clear as raw spirit
just a little way you can be decieved it had all the character of bunnahavin but it jut goes to show the we can all make mistake especially me

richard
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Postby Bullie » Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:59 pm

I would say it depends on who attends the tasting. I just resently organized a tasting for some beginners. Only three out of ten had participated at a tasting before. At this tasting, I tried to teach them how to do, and if I had done it as a blind, I don't think they would have appreciated it as much as they did.

So I must vote for the 'maybe', cause I think the attenders, and the theme for the occasion are subjects to consider.

If I have semi-pros at a tasting I'd probably runned a blind... :)

Another thing to think about... How are you supposed to run a blind on yourself?? I do a lot of tasting by myself, and they would be impossible to do blind. :shock:
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Feb 10, 2005 7:54 pm

I concur, Bullie, it depends on the intent of the tasting. If you're simply trying to get people to expand their range of appreciation, then appearance is a part of that. Me, I'd no more want to taste a dram without looking at it, than to taste one without smelling it. But if the intent is serious taste evaluation and the participants really think that the appearance of the whisky will color (!) their judgment, then by all means do it blind. Or, on the other hand, if you are consciously trying to get relative novices to shed color prejudices.
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Postby Admiral » Fri Feb 11, 2005 3:41 am

Bullie,

Take out all the bottles you want to taste in your solo blind tasting.

Wrap them in paper so that you can't see anything of the bottle or the label.

Once they're all done, shuffle and mix them around the table so that you don't know which is which.

You then get a pen and write A, B, C, D, etc, etc on each of the bottles.

You can then pour samples out into various glasses with corresponding letters and make your notes or evaluations.

Once you've finished with all of them, remove the packaging to reveal which whisky was which.

Cheers,
Admiral
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