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Favorite high-proof whisky ?

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Blind tasting?

Postby lexkraai » Thu Apr 19, 2001 10:23 am

Here my tuppence worth on whether tasting notes should be 'blind'.

Blind tasting obviously prevents any preconceptions on what to expect from a whisky, so my vote would be 'yes'. But I think the most important thing is that the reader (of WhiskyMag or whatever else) is told whether the tasting is done blind or not.

The recent blind mega-tasting is very interesting, but I'd LOVE to see more of the tasting notes gathered in that event!

Cheers, Lex
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Postby georgebarkman » Fri Apr 20, 2001 12:39 am

Lex, you are absolutly correct on the blind tast test issue. One cannot help but have preconceived ideas and it really would be good to know if blind or not.
gbark
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Postby Mr A Gurner » Sun Apr 29, 2001 4:31 pm

Most of my tastings are done blind drunk on a friday at about 11:30pm
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Postby Frederick C. Lindgren » Mon Apr 30, 2001 6:29 am

Thanks first of all to the most generous of all to my responses in Iain's exposure of false advertising in today's whisky market. Let's put it this way, I don't believe a word about any present day distillery in Scotland, much less Manx, before 1800 A.D. Nevertheless, one can go between Crewe and Chester in 1944 A.D. and have found whisky in the Tarpoley Manor House that was the smoothest, smokiest, "peatedist", spicyist and medicinal
whisky ever tasted before or since. What was that all about, I forget, except it had something to do with getting those "damn Jerries" out of the garden. Am still looking for a bottle of Caol Ila here in Milwaukee. It's like finding a needle in a haystack.

Skol,
Fred
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Postby Frederick C. Lindgren » Wed May 02, 2001 3:41 am

To Lex and all,
Thanks for your patience with my ignorance about whisky. I've taken Lex's advice and started to do some reading. Blind tasting of whisky will prove that no matter how perfect a person's taste buds; a blind taster will not be able to tell you the exact brand of whisky being tasted. This was tried in the high-end stereo equipment business over the past decade. Blindfolded listeners, even those musicians with perfect pitch, were unable to tell with any measurable degree of accuracy which speakers they were listening to. The speaker tests were conducted using the highest standards of scientific experimentation methodology with a control group and an experimental group, etc. An overwhelming percentage of the listeners were wrong! This was all published in dozens of articles in such periodicals as "Stereophile"; "The Absolute Sound"; and "The Audiophile". If blindfolded, I seriously doubt if a taster could discern the difference between, Ardbeg, Laphroiag, Lagaluvin or Talisker. The tastes are too similar, and quite excellent, I might add. Like excellent high-fidelity equipment, the more one pays for the whisky, the smaller the benefits in taste become. Once you become accustomed to the sound of a pair of Jim Theil's at $5000.00 per pair, moving up to a pair of B&W 800's at $9000.00 per pair, the improved sound quality is very slight, although it is there. The same holds true for excellent whisky, the difference in taste between an excellent whisky at $40 to $60 per bottle and a $400 to $600 bottle is really very small.

Fred
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun May 13, 2001 1:37 pm

Lex,

A blind nosing and tasting could be very nice, but that is nice if you don't want to find yourself deceived by any color or brand. I think that this is more to get your self to your maximum senses, your only reliable tool is your nose. From time to time this could be fun, and you can't misled your self by other opinions from people who are selling a particular brand or their opinions about a specific brand. However I can understand why people say: "no blind nosing and tasting for me" because they want to note the color and its viscosity etc. I think that blind nosing and tasting is useful if there is some "brand benefit" is involved.....

Slainte,

Erik
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed May 16, 2001 2:51 pm

I couldn't agree with you more Huurman.

Blind tastings is the way to go when sampling whiskies Image

Except for on thing: WHy bother comparing or even taking notes on the coulour of whisky? It's pretty pointless, since caramel (E150) or other artificial colouring might have been added to obtain the "corporate colour" or the "right shade of reddish brown"... Image

And Frederick, i think you're mistaken. It is definitely possible to identify Talisker, Laphroaig, Knockando, and other brands in a blind tasting. I've done it and many others too.

Skål,

Martin B
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Postby Frederick C. Lindgren » Sat May 26, 2001 5:52 am

Martin B & Co.,
We've bin blind tastin' Ardbeg, Lagavolin, Laphraoig, and Caol Ilon (pardon me spellin') for months now and can't come up with the right brand 33.3% of the time. All's I can say is your a better man than I Gunga Din.

Slainte,
Fred
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun May 27, 2001 7:15 pm

Hi Frederick,

Most times my friends and I taste whisky we tend to overindulge things get out of hand, and the tasting turns into a *whisky*-party... Image

However, there are several whiskies from Speyside where I haven't got a clue what brand or age I am drinking. It's not always easy Image

Regards and Skål

Martin B

[This message has been edited by mgmtmbeh (edited 27 May 2001).]
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Postby Wee Mark » Sun Jun 03, 2001 9:34 pm

I can see your points about blind tastings when trying to be as objective as possible during your tastings, the recent best of the best proves this. however this also something nice about knowing what your drinking and getting side tracked by it all it can make the appreciation of the whisky far more enjoyable. Similar to Jim Murray's point in a previous whisky magazine about how when you taste a whisky at the distillery it is one of the best whisky you will ever taste. So if knowing what you are drinking enhances your enjoyment (and that's what drinking whisky is all about) then it shouldn't be a problem
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Favorite high-proof whisky ?

Postby St.Peat » Tue Dec 03, 2002 4:07 am

What is your favorite high-proof whisky?
Is it drinkable undiluted?

Cheers Image
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Postby blackkeno » Tue Dec 03, 2002 5:45 am

It depends on my mood but certainly the following would be up there: Springbank Local Barley 30yo; Ardbeg 29yo (OMC "The Ardbeggeddon"; Aberlour A'bunadh; Longrow Millenium (Samaroli 12yo). These are all fine for me without water, although I usually add a drop or two.
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Postby Ize » Tue Dec 03, 2002 6:57 am

Speyburn 21yo at ~60% was nice without water. There is Jägermeister-type of licorice taste in it which is astonishing finding in a whisky. Image

Kippis,
Ize
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Postby hpulley » Tue Dec 03, 2002 4:23 pm

I love MacArthur's Old Master's cask strength 60.5% bottling of Fettercairn taken neat. It has a lovely earthy, mossy nose and taste and a white-hot finish but somehow the body feels just medium until you swallow it.

Harry
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Postby Ileach » Tue Dec 03, 2002 8:44 pm

Laphroaig 10 yo cask strength

or

Bowmore non-age cask strength

Ileach
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Postby ccarleen » Sun Dec 08, 2002 2:28 am

Talisker 25 Years Old 1975 Distilled 2001 Bottled 59.9% Natural Cask Strength is very fine neat hand warmed. A drop or two of water is only needed for added nose.
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Postby Aidan » Sun Dec 08, 2002 1:32 pm

Connemara Cask Strength is superb.
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Postby GordonH » Sun Dec 08, 2002 4:46 pm

If i'm feeling extravagant the Ardbeg Provenance is Superb without water . But if not the DL Brora 1972 / 29yo / 59.5% and the Cad Ardbeg 1991 /11yo / 60.3% are well worth not hitting with water , they stand out on their own!
Slainté
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Dec 09, 2002 4:33 pm

Bunnahabhain 1965 at 46.1%, a nice Glenturret Vintage 1972 at 47%, perhaps a Highland Park 25Y at 51.5%, Aberlour A'Bunadh at 60.2%, and some Port Ellen from the distillery's annual release, is very good. And many others I like.

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Postby anna zigure » Mon Dec 23, 2002 8:18 pm

I know that this might sound crazy but try a cask strenght 15 years old of ( are you sitting down) Glenfiddich- with soft water not hard water if you dilute it that is !
love
the whisky Lady
Anna Zigure
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Postby yorkie » Mon Dec 23, 2002 9:12 pm

Just off to try and work my way down the Glenfarclas (I am trying very hard here to spell this right)105 cask strenght (oops!)

And yes I do have to dilute it with good old Pennine tap water.
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Postby Dana » Tue Dec 24, 2002 12:59 am

While I am American, and prefer Scotch whiskies to bourbon, one high proof bourbon
which I particularly enjoy is "Booker's Bourbon ,produced by Jim Beam brands.
It has a complex nose ,a smooth taste

.and a very long finish. Reminds me of an excellent cigar.

A great duty free choice for those of
you leaving the States for your home countries.
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Postby Dana » Tue Dec 24, 2002 1:03 am

Regarding Bookers bourbon it is 63 percent abv and is able to be drunk neat with some spring water in a separate glass.
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Postby blackkeno » Wed Dec 25, 2002 8:32 am

I just picked up George T. Stagg, a 15yo bourbon at 68.8% abv from Buffalo Trace. This is he best bourbon I've ever had. Must rank in my top 10 (or 5) whisk(e)ys. I can't even bring myself to add a drop of water it is so smooth and delicious!
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Postby Lemmy » Mon Dec 30, 2002 11:43 am

The best ones are Glen Garioch 29 y.o. from 1968 and Talisker 25 y.o. To drink them with water is a great sin. Haha.
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Postby mickblueeyes » Sun Jan 12, 2003 10:06 pm

Caledonian Selection Macallan 26 yr, 1974, 102.6°

Caledonian Selection Caperdonach 31 yr, 1970, 104.6°

Hart Brothers Clynelish 15 yr, 1984, 108.2°

Caledonian Selection Laphroaig 20 yr, 1981, 110.6°

Longmorn 25 yr (sherry and bourbon cask), 110.0°

Highland Park 10 yr, 1988, 115.2°

Aberlour A'bunadh

SMWS Mortlach 13 yr

These are the cask-strength bottlings that I personally rated at 8/10 or higher. I drank each of them undiluted.
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Postby mickblueeyes » Sun Jan 12, 2003 10:07 pm

Sorry, on the above the Longmorn and Highland Park are also Hart Brothers bottlings.
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Postby Rudy » Sun Apr 13, 2003 5:10 pm

Hello St. Peat,

in addition to some great suggestions above, I'd like to add the

Lagavulin 12 y 58%
Signatory's Edradour Straight from the cask 60.2 %

They're all quite affordable, especially the Lagavulin, since all other recent Diageo (former UDV) releases seem to be extraordinary overpriced.

[forgot to say:] I usually add some drops of water.
[2nd correction:] the Douglas Laing Brora Old&Rare Platinum Selection 1970/2002 at 58.4% can be taken neat.

Rudy.

[This message has been edited by Rudy (edited 13 April 2003).]

[This message has been edited by Rudy (edited 18 April 2003).]
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Postby ceedeedoos » Mon Apr 14, 2003 3:14 pm

aberlour a'bunadh, 60.2% and neat or with very little water
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Postby Rudy » Mon Apr 14, 2003 7:22 pm

Hello everybody,

although this is an older issue, I'd like to share my experience with blind tastings.

If asked, what the best way would be to enjoy and appreciate whisky my outcome would be:

1. Ex aequo: with your best friends or at blind tastings
3. At 'normal' tastings
4. Alone.

I have participated in some blind tastings and that is absolutely great fun!!
In a group of 20 people we got 10 samples in clear glasses with someone animating the session. After each sample, the discussions and taking notes, the bottle was revealed.
You really find out how your taste buds work. Especially when there's an Irish whisky among them and everybody claims it to be one of the Lowlands...(to be honest, I did not think of Irish either...) I learned quite a lot from the discussions we had.

What you see, is that 'well known' regional characteristics can be identified by many group members, with the experienced participants getting approximately 50% right!

For me that still as a long way to go, but well, I keep on practising!

Rudy.

PS1: there was no brand benefit involved, there were OB's, independents, finishes, cask strengths, limited editions, almost any variation possible.

PS2: Frank, have you found your bottle of Coal Ila by now? Surely since there's a range of OB now. Have you already improved your score of 33.3%? And about high end audio: there are also some very characteristical differences like dynamic vs. electrostatic speakers or solid state vs. tube amplifiers. So here the differences should be noticeable as well...
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Postby skywalker » Wed Apr 16, 2003 9:14 pm

Most of my tastings are done blind drunk on a friday at about 11:30pm
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Postby Marcin Miller » Thu Apr 17, 2003 7:38 am

The vast majority of tastings in Whisky Magazine - new releases, the tastings by region etc and the Best of the Best - are performed blind.

We use plain glasses so the tasters can study the colour, appearance and clarity of the whisky.

Dave and Michael have their samples prepared. They assess and score them once and write their notes. They assess them a second time to 'double check' their notes. The identities of the whiskies are then revealed allowing the tasters to write their comments.

The only exception to this is the occasional food and whisky matching exercise, which tend to be far less formal.

I hope this helps to explain.

Marcin
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