Sunday, May 06, 2012

Whisky Tasting Dos and Don'ts

My good friend T graciously hosted another whisk(e)y* tasting last night. Having now attended 3 (2 guided, 1 not), I have some tips to share.

DO: Be the first to make the "Smells/tastes like whiskey" joke
DON'T:   Be the second/third/etc. to make the joke. Just because you're drinking doesn't mean you can steal jokes

DO: Cleanse your palate between tastings.  Bread and water are perfect.
DON'T:   Use vodka to cleanse your palate.
DO: Use appropriate glasses for the tasting
DON'T:   Use Big Gulp cups.
DO: Make appropriate age jokes, such as "Oooh, this one can legally drink itself!"
DON'T:   Make jokes along the lines of "This is the best 18 year-old I've tasted this week!" Rule of thumb: If you have to think if it's appropriate or not, it's not.
DO: Be honest about what you taste and smell
DON'TBe TOO honest. No one wants to know that this tastes exactly like what you drank the night you lost your virginity
DO Use These Adjectives to Describe the Tastes/Aromas
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Salt
  • Smoke
DON'T Use These Adjectives:   
  • Skank
  • Bodily Fluids of Any Kind, especially if asparagus is involved**
  • Homelessness
  • Uncle Freddie
  • Department Store Santa Claus
  • Turpentine/Paint Thinner (unless you're the professional leading the tasting)

In case you're wondering, my favorite whisky was:
The Balvenie Portwood 21 Year Old. Of course, at $140+ a bottle, it damn well better be good.
My favorite whiskEy (and second favorite overall) was:
The Tullamore Dew Single Malt 10 Year Old was completely different from the standard Tullamore Dew.  And at $40 a bottle, it's far more reasonably priced.  Unless you're buying a gift for the blogger of your choice, then the Balvenie is the way to go.

* Whisky is Scottish, Whiskey is Irish.  You're welcome!
** Though quoting Robert Parker, "Tastes like the urine of Satan after a hefty portion of asparagus" is always appropriate.

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