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Palate cleansing, What works for you ?

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Palate cleansing, What works for you ?

Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Fri Apr 01, 2005 10:40 am

Taste-buds are like a desert land scape, or the weather in big sky country, evolving, unpredictable even, at any rate definately a sense that we all love to appease. Yet for that constant or shoving-off spot, the cleansing agent; may it be salt, sour, sweet, nuetral or otherwise. Avacados to Zee chocolate pudding:
What works for you ?
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Postby hpulley » Fri Apr 01, 2005 1:15 pm

Plain crackers and water works for me.
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Postby bamber » Fri Apr 01, 2005 2:09 pm

Water.
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Postby jimidrammer » Fri Apr 01, 2005 4:45 pm

A little water in the glass sloshed around to rinse the glass and palate and I'm ready for the next expression, although I'd use a different glass if I were writing my notes. After 3 or 4 drams I usually have a bite of cheese or more water.
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Postby Aidan » Fri Apr 01, 2005 5:24 pm

Wire brush and Detol.

Actually, some people use dark chocolate, don't they?
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Postby andrewfenton » Fri Apr 01, 2005 6:52 pm

More whisky!
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Postby richard » Fri Apr 01, 2005 8:00 pm

water pure and simple

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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Fri Apr 01, 2005 8:34 pm

I have said that i didnt find the Highland Park peaty at all, when the other day i had just finished a dark chocolate pudding, poured a glass and WHAM there it was, a wave of wonderfull peatiness.
The glen garioch 10 yr old @ 40% witch i thought ought to have been released at 43% or better as it tasted watery and faint seemed fuller and more flavorfull than in a previous incounter after chocolate.
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Postby Durttbeag » Fri Apr 01, 2005 9:20 pm

Always Distilled Water. (Room temp)

NOT tap or Bottled water, these contain too many minerals that will affect your next sip of Scotch.

Depending on the Scotch I am about to try, dark chocolate can work but again will affect the taste of the Scotch as chocolate is thick and
takes more time to dissolve and leave the mouth. I like an 80% cacoa Dark chocolate
when having a speyside.

Bread and crackers is another but I tend to choose these when
moving to a Scotch will a large MALT flavor

DISTILLED Water is the best. (Room temp)

Cheers :D
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Postby Aidan » Fri Apr 01, 2005 11:07 pm

Yes, tap water is 1/1000 the cost of bottled water and has to go through a significantly more stringent purification process.

Of course, bottled water is not necessarily distilled water.

I remember Peter Allis talking about the blurb on the Evian bottle: Filtered through the Alpine rocks for 5,000 years - Use before Jan 2005...
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Apr 02, 2005 12:18 am

Water and some time. Sometimes I use simple tap water and if I have the chance I let it sit for a while. If the tap water is chlorinated then I avoid it, failing that a simple still bottled water.
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Postby Admiral » Sat Apr 02, 2005 12:43 am

Between drams: Water

Before a tasting session, to cleanse and prepare the palate: Beer!

(Sounds strange, but beer is great to wash off the day's meals and other tastes in your mouth. Being a barley drink, your palate is readied to take on the real stuff!)

Cheers,
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Postby rthomson » Sat Apr 02, 2005 10:51 pm

Water has worked and I've tried some light crackers, but for the most part I use beer. And that's simply because I enjoy having a beer with my scotch. I've tended to stay away from stouts and heavy porters when I'm drinking single malts. I also stay away from some of the incredibly hoppy beers out here in the Northwest.

Ron
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Postby Nock » Sun Apr 03, 2005 1:08 am

Ya, water works for me.

However, what I find works best for my palate is to cleanse my olfactory system (that is my nose). So I like to keep a little bag of coffee beans around so that in between whiskies I can "clear my nose." I find that this helps more when tasting a whisky then anything else I could put in my mouth.

Do any of you do this or is there some negative aspect going on that I am unaware of?

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Postby bernstein » Sun Apr 03, 2005 8:46 am

Good point, Nock! Considering that our olfactory system (nose :lol: ) is by far the most sensible organ, and plays an even more decisive role in the whole tasting process – taking care of cleansing the nose (olfactory system :wink: ) is of high importance.
I’ll try Your “little bag of coffee beans”- trick next time for sure. I’ll let You know if I detect any negative aspects of this proceeding.
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Postby islayjunkie » Sun Apr 03, 2005 9:31 am

Water, crackers, beer and coffee...hmmmm. I've used water and crackers since my wine tasting days however beer and coffee are more appealing :D

I'll try them tomorrow!
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Postby Bullie » Sun Apr 03, 2005 9:37 am

I've also found coffee as a great taste-remover before heading on to the next dram. A mouthfull of coffee, followed by a mouthfull of water.
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Postby Tom » Sun Apr 03, 2005 12:50 pm

The problem with coffee however is that it enhances the alcohol in your body, you get drunk faster. But it does work, it cleans the palate. If on a festival with many whiskys to sample i use 2 full glasses of water after a 2 to 3 cl dram. and then proceed to the next. As for dark chocolate (99% pure chocolate that is) i havent tryed it yet, but im a bit sceptical towards it. Yes it is bitterish, but in the end it is also sweet in the mouth. And im not so sure all the sweetness is gone when sampling the next dram. But im still open-minded about it, and willing to try it if the occasion arises.
However i doubt there is a waterproof way to do it. Im sure we all know on a tasting session after about 5 drams it all tastes better. And chances are that if you sample the fifth dram of yesterday today as your first, your views will be different.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Apr 04, 2005 7:29 am

Unsweetened chocolate is not in any way sweet. It is rather unpleasantly bitter, even to a hophead like me.

Tap water is unreliable. If your own source is without chlorine taste, you are very lucky. Bottled water is more consistent, and I like some more than others. Incidentally, I don't care for Evian at all. (Besides, it's "naive" backwards.)

Frankly, I don't often care about cleansing the palate. I'm not interested in tasting whisky "in a vacuum" and making definitive notes (not to denigrate the many of you who do just that; it's just not my thing). I enjoy whisky in combination, or in sequence, with other things--after a meal, alternating with pints. If I feel the need to freshen my tongue, I will drink a bit of water.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Apr 04, 2005 7:43 am

I'll have to agree with you Mr Tattieheid! Having done quite a bit of wine tasting myself I've never ever used anything else than water and some white bread. One really looks for something without any strong flavour at all at a tasting event. Having said that - there are lot's of things that "go" with wine - and whisky for that matter in terms of taste.
Like Mr Tattieheid I like to enjoy a whisky or two but don't take the "tasting" as seriously as I used to some years ago. For me it turns into something pathological and clinical and it takes (for me) away some of the joy of drinking. Just whisky or beer or whisky will do thank you!

Skål!
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Postby Ed » Mon Apr 04, 2005 3:27 pm

Hello All,

I don't try to clear my palate so much as try to make sure that my palate is clear. By that I mean, I try not to eat just before or during a "tasting". I would rather drink first then eat. Garlic, even when eaten hours before, makes everything (whiskey) taste bitter. Salt doesn't help either. Like many other people who have posted on this thread, I drink water between pours, whether I am changing whiskeys or not. Tap water is fine IMHO. I fill my whiskey glass with water, drink it off and wipe it with a clean cotton cloth. Then I nose the glass to see if I can smell the previous pour. Repeat as necessary.

I drink tap water even though we have a water cooler in our home. The water cooler chills the water and cold water has a bigger effect on my taste buds than chlorine. Also, I can't help thinking, "This glass of water costs 50 cents." I would rather have a water filter on our tap, but my wife likes the water cooler and doesn't want to lose the handy dandy spray head on the kitchen sink tap.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Apr 04, 2005 5:18 pm

Ed wrote:I would rather drink first then eat.


:shock: Bad idea for me! But if it works for you, fine. Actually, the time I most enjoy a dram is right after eating.

Many times in pubs I've asked for a glass of water between drams, only to be assaulted by chlorine. Maybe I'm more sensitive to it than some of you--I swam competitively in high school, and I can barely stand to get into a pool now--but I find it extremely off-putting. I suppose I should carry a bottle when I go dramming. Fifty cents for water to avoid spoiling a $12 dram doesn't seem out of proportion.
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Postby Paul A Jellis » Mon Apr 04, 2005 5:33 pm

I find that oatcakes followed by a good gulp of water does the trick. As for the nose, again, I use water, hold your nose over a glass of water and have good long sniff, that works for me anyway.

When things get too bad ie 'Whisky Live' and the palate and the nose have just given up, I stop for half an hour, go and get something to eat and finish the meal with a long drink of water.

Cheers

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Postby WestVanDave » Tue Apr 05, 2005 7:29 am

You know distilled water can be contaminated with bacteria. Also distilled water is not meant for consumption due to lack of quality control.


Given the risk of contamination from distilled water - the only way that seems to make sense is: Cleanse the palate with more whisky: Cleanse - rinse - repeat :wink:

Slainte, Dave.
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Postby Lawrence » Wed Apr 06, 2005 1:31 am

Good point Dave.

:D
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Postby si_peacock » Wed Apr 06, 2005 1:09 pm

My heart says Dave is right but my head says go down the route I always have - water with white bread and a few minutes between nosings to help clear the nose.

On the subject of eating - showed my inexperience at Whisky Live this year. Myself and a friend met in a pub beforehand. "Shall we eat?" he said. "Nah, there's bound to be loads there" was my reply.

:roll: Doh!!
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Postby JimHall » Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:40 pm

Just water for me but need to wash the glass between diffrent drams. (that is essential as far as I am concerned)
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Postby rthomson » Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:28 am

I've been enjoying a few drams tonight and decided I might try a few of the suggestions on this thread. When it came down to it though, no- nothing but a pint would do. I simply enjoy the combination too much. Choosing a good beer for accompaniment truly adds to my enjoyment of a dram. I have tried a couple of things such as bread or crackers but 99% of the time when I finish a sherried Macallan or a peaty Islay I grab for my pint and the beer, along with the break taken while drinking it, cleanses my palate in a most enjoyable manner.

Ron
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:56 am

Please forgive me for saying so Ron, but wouldn't that be enjoying rather than cleansing ?
I wouldn't do that with wine - and still haven't done it with whisky if the occasion was a whisky tasting. But enjoying is another matter...... 8)

Skål!
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Sat Apr 09, 2005 8:38 am

Christian:
Your suggestion of a reisling antigued me and i thought of a posible excellent wine to cleanse a palate would be a Pelee Island Gwerstramiller as it leaves-off rather cleanly indeed and perhaps with the nuetrality of melba-toast would be an excellent cleansing combo. Hmmm toss-up between that and an ale with melba-toast.
Quite right Nock; A blessing when a whisky puts a smile on your face the second that it passes your lips but even nicer when the smile comes a soon as you get a snoot-full.
Ardaíonn ár ngrá muid féin níos airde de shior!
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Postby Ed » Sat Apr 09, 2005 10:25 am

Hello All,
As to beer, I rarely switch to beer after I have begun to drink whiskey. I sometimes start with a beer, maybe two, especially if I aim to feel the effects. My first pour of the night might take me an hour to finish, my second almost as long. At that rate my liver can process it almost as fast as I am drinking. If I drink a beer or two I can drink whiskey faster. I drink water while I am drinking my pour. Maybe that is one reason that I don't mind drinking before eating even though that flies in the face of common sense. The rate at which I drink beer, well, let's just say that my beer never has a chance to get warm...
I have tried crackers and didn't like them as a palate cleanser. I ate the cracker and thought, now I need to cleanse my palate of the cracker. I ended up brushing my teeth with a dry toothbrush. I might try plain white rice sometime. The flavor isn't as 'strong' as crackers or bread, it doesn't stick to your teeth and there is always some about the house, this is Japan after all. I will let you know how it works out.
I have tried coffee, both rinsing out my mouth and smelling it, just sniffed my container of coffee grounds now. I can't report that it really helps me. No, "Oh, that's much better!" experience anyway.
Water is the best for me. Drinking more than sniffing. It clears most of the alcohol from the mouth and nose without adding any competing flavors or scents. The main reason that I don't sniff is that I often drink tap water. I don't think that sniffing chlorine would be of any help. When I quickly drink a glass of tap water I don't really get that much chlorine. It is down the hatch before I have a chance to smell it. Mr TattieHeid, you told of your aversion to chlorinated water earlier, do you get much of an aftertaste from it? Or is it just the nose as opposed to the finish that bothers you? For me swimming has only pleasant associations so I don't particularly mind it as long as it is not too strong.
I always clean my glass between different whiskies. A rinse is enough if the two pours are similar or not strongly flavored. If they are different I will wipe with a clean cotton cloth that is reserved for that task. I nose the glass afterwards to check that it is clean enough. If it is not or if it is a really smoky Islay I have a spray bottle filled with vodka that I use. A few quick squirts of that and wipe, then rinse with water. That is how I clean my glass at the end of the night as well. No detergent.
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Postby rthomson » Sat Apr 09, 2005 4:53 pm

Mr Fjeld wrote:Please forgive me for saying so Ron, but wouldn't that be enjoying rather than cleansing ?


Oh yeah, the primary function is definitely enjoyment. :D If I looked into it, it wouldn't surprise me to find that the time I take to drink a pint between drams has as much, if not more, to do with cleansing the palate as the beer itself. If I sat down to a formal tasting I would likely try something else. However, last night as I went to the kitchen to try one of the other methods discussed I couldn't help but reach for a beer anyway. Friday night- guess I was in the mood for spoiling myself a bit :wink:

Ron
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:51 pm

Keep on spoiling yourself Ron! After all - isn't that what it's all about :D

If I take myself as an example or illustration I can tell you I've become very lax about being "objective and neutral" towards tasting in general. Ok, when the situation dictates it like in an official tasting I'll use water and white bread as it does the job well. Apart from that I don't really care that much anymore. Beer and occasionaly wine is how I "live" and I'm perfectly happy enjoying it the way I want to. I suppose years of wine tasting has brought the "extremism" to and end - and I don't mind because I'm not gunning for the "whisky connoisseur" title. I just want to enjoy!

Skål!
Christian

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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Apr 11, 2005 6:09 am

Ed, I think it's not so much either the nose or aftertaste of chlorine that bothers me, but simply the flavor--it sends a minor shock through my nervous system. Breep, breep, chlorine alert! Chlorine alert! Shut down all sensory receptors! It's not that bad, really, but I much prefer a nice beer. Christian's right, it's not cleansing, but it might be thought of as priming.

It's worth noting that I may have been spoiled when it comes to water--the tap water here is really very good. It's when I'm elsewhere that I get ambushed.
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