My name is Jan and I was born in Rotterdam in The Netherlands in 1952. Since 1994 I live and worked in Sao Paulo in Brazil. In the meantime I'm retired.
My hobbies include Rock Music from the 60's and 70's, Wine, Beer and Fine Spirits. I suppose that I, probably like most of you, started drinking beer when I was a teenager. After that there was the inevitable Cuba Libre during the holidays in Spain. But as life goes on you become interested in other alcoholic beverages and normally wine is the first step in becoming more aware of actual flavors rather than just drinking for the drinking if you know what I mean. Usually the white wines and the rose wines come first and after that you start exploring the red wines.
Around 40 you start to appreciate a good Brandy after dinner and maybe even smoke a (small) cigar with it. Or maybe even try a whisky! Blended of course and On the Rocks. Good chance your first whisky on the Rocks was Johnny Walker Red Label! Or Jack Daniels or Jim Beam if you live in the States and would probably be exposed to Bourbon or rye whiskey before exploring Scotch whiskies.
And then after years of drinking Red and Black and Ballantine's and Chivas on the Rocks you return from your holidays, enter into the Free Shop and suddenly become aware that there are a lot of different whiskies available. They are Single Malts and will include the usual suspects such as Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Dalmore, the Balvenie and the Irish Jameson. You give one of them or a couple of them a chance and if you like them you probably want to know more about them. And then you buy a book or two, start surfing the net and find out that there is more to whisky than you thought!
Actually, this is more or less what happened to me. But I'm sure a lot of you malt lovers will recognise at least some part of the journey.
One of the books I bought was Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2011. This guy is highly recognised as a whisky writer and connoisseur and, after all, it's not called a Bible for nothing. However when I started tasting some whiskies for fun I found out that I almost never agreed with the opinions I found in the Bible.
Naturally I thought that the problem was me as I just started while Jim is doing this for 35 years or so. But when I started looking around the net it became clear quite rapidly that I'm not the only one who questions the Whisky Bible.
Thinking about this there were a number of thoughts that crossed my mind. Apparently various people can taste the same whisky under similar conditions and reach a completely different opinion. That's Fun! But it could also be that there are writers out there who are too close to the industry for whatever reason to be able to reach an objective opinion.
I remembered my youth when I had to go and buy oranges. My mother always instructed me to ask the guy in the shop if the oranges were sweet. Of course the guy always confirmed that they were lovely and sweet.
When surfing the net i found that a lot of people felt the same about this problem and started independent blogs with whisky reviews. Some are quite excellent and have reached levels that i will never touch upon.
Still I decided to give it a try and I learnt about the basic flavors that can be detected on the nose and on the palate when tasting whisky. So before starting to nose the whisky I started sniffing and tasting fresh and dried fruits, marmalade, honey, sherry, beer, spices like pepper, cinnamon and cloves, lemon and orange zests, coffee, tea, corn syrup, toffee, cake, fresh bread and chocolate. After that I learnt about the different regions of productions and I started to nose ashes and leather and salt. When I had to go to the port of Santos for my work I even went for a walk around the quays sniffing cables, fish,brine etc.
Of course It was impossible to remember all these impressions during my first tasting sessions but after some 10 different whiskys including Single Malts, Blended whiskies and Bourbons I began making progress.
I've tasted almost 550 now and since end of November 2011 I felt sufficiently confident to share my thoughts through this blog.
So welcome to Best Shot Whisky Reviews. I do hope you like the Tasting Notes and Reviews but always remember they don't represent the absolute truth. They merely express my opinion. Have Fun!