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2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

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2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby WhiskyBill » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:45 am

I'm thinking it might be me but I find the second and third tasting of the same whisky (a few days or weeks later) to be different from the first. Take Auchentoshan Three Wood for example - my first tasting after opening the bottle pouring a dram and letting it sit for a few minutes I found it actually distasteful. Then I tried with a wee bit of water - still not pleasant. So I put the bottle in the "back" of the pack. Now a couple months later I figured I would give it another go after reading a positive review on it. I couldn't believe it - seems to taste totally different. I can taste more of the woods and fruits and appreciate the finish much more.
I found similar experiences with other whiskies as well. When I do my tasting I come to the table with clean palate and haven't yet eaten.
Anyone else experience the same?
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby Ganga » Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:31 am

A very good observation. I find this to be quite common. Some whiskies just need to breathe out a little bit. I find this true even with just a glass of whisky. I didn't like the initial taste of one whisky so I let the glass sit there for 45 minutes and loved the result.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby WhiskyBill » Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:42 am

Ganga wrote:A very good observation. I find this to be quite common. Some whiskies just need to breathe out a little bit. I find this true even with just a glass of whisky. I didn't like the initial taste of one whisky so I let the glass sit there for 45 minutes and loved the result.

Makes me wonder about some the pro tasters (first taste out of an open bottle) they might give a low mark when I myself might think it's better. I am glad hear to hear this does happen with others but does also tend to raise question about true objectivity from those giving reviews.
thoughts?
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby dramtastic » Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:26 am

Fair point about the so called pro tasters. In general they make their judgement on a single sample. This method of reviewing I believe is inherently flawed.

I may find different nuances from start to finish of the bottle and indeed I may need to buy a couple of bottles to get my head around a certain whisky.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby MoreDalmore » Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:48 pm

I also encounter this a lot and even after a bottle is opened only 1 week.

Last week I bought a 1 liter bottle of Talisker 18 and the with the first 2 drams out of it I wondered why I rated it so high in the past :? But now; 1 week later it tastes a lot better with the peppery finish back in place. 8)

I intend to leave more than half of the bottle a bit longer than normal for me to drink later to see if it improves more over time.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby The Third Dram » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:19 pm

WhiskyBill wrote:I am glad hear to hear this does happen with others but does also tend to raise question about true objectivity from those giving reviews.

Of course, quite frankly, there is no objectivity when it comes to reviews/ratings. Everyone's take is likely to be at least slightly different. And sometimes, these differences in assessment lead you to wonder if the tasters are actually experiencing the same whisky!

It's equally hard for me, personally, to generalize on the transition in aroma/flavour from a freshly opened bottle to one that's seen some time and sampling. I've tasted many a whisky that struck me as astounding right from the first glass poured, while others seem to have taken their own sweet time to hit their stride.

This is one prime reason why I always attempt to maintain a 'library' of miniature bottles filled with various whiskies I've opened and sampled through the years. Very often, when coming back to try the whiskies again after a long hiatus, I'm totally surprised at the contrast in my new-found perception of them vis-a-vis how I felt about them originally. And more often than not, I mark this contrast down to how my own preferences and ability to perceive have changed over the intervening period in time.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby corbuso » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:53 pm

WhiskyBill wrote:Makes me wonder about some the pro tasters (first taste out of an open bottle) they might give a low mark when I myself might think it's better. I am glad hear to hear this does happen with others but does also tend to raise question about true objectivity from those giving reviews.
thoughts?

The effect that you observed is often encountered, especially with old bottles. The problem is that if you want to review many whiskies 1) you don't have own the full bottle 2) you don't have time to taste 2-3 times the same whisky over x months 3) there might be variations between different bottles.

Tasting notes are always subjective and will remain so, but you might standardize your procedure in order to reduce the "experimental" bias.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby WhiskyBill » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:14 am

To be less subjective and more objective I guess we need scientists to develop a consumer level whisky tasting machine. One that would translate "notes" into readable data for would be tasters to understand - i.e. peat - 84.56%, citrus 12.49% alcohol 45.61% etc. And THEN do it after the bottle as been opened for a bit.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby lockejn » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:40 am

In the beginning I think it's comforting to rely on notes (others' and your own) for learning the whisky ropes. Once you've got a good handle on it, though, most folks find it's much more about just enjoying the experience. And, as you've noted, often that experience spans the entire bottle rather than just the first glass.

Other people's notes are still handy for deciding which bottles to invest in, though. A whisky that reviewers designate as "light, fruity, grassy" is less appealing to me than one described as "rich, malty, spicy, smoky". I tend to gloss over the more explicit descriptors as they're far more subjective and I prefer to work those nuances out for myself, thank you. That's sort of the point, I think.

I'm inclined to ramble on (sobriety has that effect on me) but I'll leave it at that.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby lexvo » Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:04 pm

I also experienced this the other way around: a bottle tastes great when opening it and having the first drams. After a few days or weeks, the taste is not as good as I remembered.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby pkt77242 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:37 am

lexvo wrote:I also experienced this the other way around: a bottle tastes great when opening it and having the first drams. After a few days or weeks, the taste is not as good as I remembered.


For me it depends on the bottle. Some bottles are at their peak when first opened, others are at their peak when they are almost finished.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby bredman » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:37 am

pkt77242 wrote:
lexvo wrote:I also experienced this the other way around: a bottle tastes great when opening it and having the first drams. After a few days or weeks, the taste is not as good as I remembered.


For me it depends on the bottle. Some bottles are at their peak when first opened, others are at their peak when they are almost finished.

It happens all the time for me.

Sometimes it's not just the whisky that changes, but the drinker. Also the air! Be it from air spray, hair spray, perfume and aftershave/cologne, all being in the vicinity - these background smells can have a profound effect. Also being outdoors.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby lexvo » Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:35 pm

bredman wrote:
pkt77242 wrote:
lexvo wrote:I also experienced this the other way around: a bottle tastes great when opening it and having the first drams. After a few days or weeks, the taste is not as good as I remembered.


For me it depends on the bottle. Some bottles are at their peak when first opened, others are at their peak when they are almost finished.

It happens all the time for me.

Sometimes it's not just the whisky that changes, but the drinker. Also the air! Be it from air spray, hair spray, perfume and aftershave/cologne, all being in the vicinity - these background smells can have a profound effect. Also being outdoors.


Yes, I agree with both of you. It depends on the bottle and the mood I am in. And also which whisky's you had before :)

Two months ago we had a tasting and temperatures were quite high. All whisky's seemed to have more body.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby WhiskyBill » Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:58 pm

I am finding more and more these tastings DO change after opening bottles with time. So it can't be about first impressions - you really do have to revisit bottles a few weeks/months after opening.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby WhiskyBill » Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:01 am

lexvo wrote:I also experienced this the other way around: a bottle tastes great when opening it and having the first drams. After a few days or weeks, the taste is not as good as I remembered.

I agree - I spoke of this in this thread:http://www.whiskymag.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=13099&p=247591#p247591
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby WhiskyBill » Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:06 am

Collector57 wrote:
WhiskyBill wrote:To be less subjective and more objective I guess we need scientists to develop a consumer level whisky tasting machine. One that would translate "notes" into readable data for would be tasters to understand - i.e. peat - 84.56%, citrus 12.49% alcohol 45.61% etc. And THEN do it after the bottle as been opened for a bit.

It's already in the pipeline Bill. There is a tasting machine in advanced stages of development. Not sure I'd rely on its opinions though...

Any links on this C-57?
This would really provide more for subjective and/or quantitive readings which I believe would be very valuable.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby WhiskyBill » Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:24 am

bredman wrote:
pkt77242 wrote:
lexvo wrote:I also experienced this the other way around: a bottle tastes great when opening it and having the first drams. After a few days or weeks, the taste is not as good as I remembered.


For me it depends on the bottle. Some bottles are at their peak when first opened, others are at their peak when they are almost finished.

It happens much of the time for me.
Sometimes it's not just the whisky that changes, but the taster as well. Also the air! Be it from air spray, hair spray, perfume and aftershave/cologne, all being in the vicinity - these background smells can have a profound effect. Also being outdoors.

It really goes show that the thoughts and tastings reviews we get from others really do vary. I have found already some reviewers/tasters can vary significantly. As such I tend to follow the marks given by the tasters similar to those that my own palate agrees. Not sure if I am alone on this but M.J. reviews don't quite meld with mine. And tastings DO seem to change from once opened to time of tasting.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby bredman » Mon Oct 18, 2010 2:46 am

WhiskyBill wrote:It really goes show that the thoughts and tastings reviews we get from others really do vary. I have found already some reviewers/tasters can vary significantly. As such I tend to follow the marks given by the tasters similar to those that my own palate agrees. Not sure if I am alone on this but M.J. reviews don't quite meld with mine. And tastings DO seem to change from once opened to time of tasting.

I'm not just referring to the differences between separate tasters, but instead how each of us can alter ourselves. Once a whisky profile has been introduced to our palate it may be more readily analysed/recognised ( for better or worse ) during future tastings. This is not as daft is it may seem. When we claim that the whisky is opening up to us after repeated sessions, it may not be quite that simple.

I must add that M.J. scoring system is quite absurd imo, as he factors in his own impression of the distillery's mystique into the score.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby WhiskyBill » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:16 am

bredman wrote:
WhiskyBill wrote:It really goes show that the thoughts and tastings reviews we get from others really do vary. I have found already some reviewers/tasters can vary significantly. As such I tend to follow the marks given by the tasters similar to those that my own palate agrees. Not sure if I am alone on this but M.J. reviews don't quite meld with mine. And tastings DO seem to change from once opened to time of tasting.

I'm not just referring to the differences between separate tasters, but instead how each of us can alter ourselves. Once a whisky profile has been introduced to our palate it may be more readily analysed/recognised ( for better or worse ) during future tastings. This is not as daft is it may seem. When we claim that the whisky is opening up to us after repeated sessions, it may not be quite that simple.

I must add that M.J. scoring system is quite absurd imo, as he factors in his own impression of the distillery's mystique into the score.

good points - I'm enjoying the tastings of some of the SWMS stuff without looking up the distilleries - without a primed pump of knowledge the tasting is quite different for me.
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby Lucas » Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:40 pm

Would this be the last bastion of 'whisky magic'? Unspoiled by chemistry blether. Pure emotion!
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Re: 2nd and 3rd tastings different from 1st?

Postby Willie JJ » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:01 pm

WhiskyBill wrote:I have found already some reviewers/tasters can vary significantly.

There's absolutely no doubt about that. For example, the author of a well known whisky bible (not mentioning any names of course) has given scores 15 points apart for the same whisky in what is effectively a 40 point range.

The number of variables that are involved in tasting a dram are well laid out above and in my opinion the only really sound test of someone's opinion on a malt is how they feel about it after having drunk a bottle, preferably over several sittings (drinking it in one sitting can lead to bias, especially the next day :dead: ). One taste opinions from a single person have to be treated with real caution.
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