Important Changes in Tasting Notes

Dear Whisky Friends,

I'm nosing and tasting whisky since the end of 2011 and within short I will have completed 700 Whisky Reviews. Many things have changed in these years with respect to my ability to describe Aromas and Flavours. I will give you just one example to make it clear. Sweet became Sugary or Fruity. The Fruit became a Peach or an Apple, the Apple became a Green Apple or Red Apple and the Red Apple became Fresh, Dried or Cooked. The human brain is apparently able to do that because it stores all memories and activates those memories when it recognises the same Aroma or Flavour in another Whisky. As a result my tasting notes have become longer and more detailed with each passing year. Lots of people have asked me how I recognise all these notes and hints of notes and my answer is twofold. Experience and time.

The experience is self-explanatory I suppose. The more different Whiskies you taste, the more memories you store in your brain for future reference. I would like to make it clear here that it's just my brain of course. That produces my opinion only which is as good or as bad as yours. I can only say in all fairness that after almost 700 Whiskies I am able to distinguish excellent, good and mediocre whiskies. From a quality point that is. Taste was, is and will always be extremely personal.

The second item is time. When I review a Whisky, any Whisky be it a cheap Blend or rare Single Cask, I nose and taste those whiskies on two different days. Each of those sessions will take at least 1,5 hours. I spend most of that time nosing as I regard this the most interesting part of the session. In the first 10 minutes or so I get the basic Aromas and then with time more impressions pop up. Many of those are mere hints or suggestions but it's the fun part of the Nosing. It was the day before yesterday that I suddenly realised that most Whisky lovers will probably not take that long to analyse all bits and pieces and are basically interested in the Quality of the whisky and its basic Aroma and Flavour Profile. I checked this with a few Whisky friends and they confirmed my thoughts. 

So as of Whisky Review # 694 that I will post later today I will split Nose and Palate in two sub parts namely 1- The Main Aromas and Flavours and 2- The Supportive Aroma/Flavour accents. I will also limit the number of these accents. Finally, as of Whisky Review # 695, I will not add Water to my Whisky anymore. I believe that the Whisky should be judged as it is presented and obviously was meant to be. I'm really curious to find out how this works in practise and I'm looking forward to your reactions and suggestions.




Nico Meijboom said...

Interesting read Jan. The only comment I have is on your water decision. Water and whisky are not enemies and a cask strength bottled whisky is not "as it is meant to be". The bottler just left it to you to figure out if you want to add water and if yes: play around how much...

Jan van den Ende said...

Hi Nico, thanks for commenting! All reactions so far seem to go in that same direction. So I will continue to add Water, providing the size of my sample allows it.