Words, words, words. What about flavor?

I thought I would get things rolling by talking about the art of tasting. While tasting a new whiskey should be relaxing and enjoyable, it can also cause a lot of anxiety to those who want to describe and understand the complexities of the dram. Tasting notes on store shelves or bottles are often esoteric and confusing (even moreso than wine). I mean, who really wants to drink something that tastes like ‘aged leather’ or ‘damp earth?’ And what about peat? Who’s Pete? So here is my humble opinion on the subject.

Whiskey is incredibly diverse and complex. I am sure some people will argue with me, but I believe that you should start with something less complex to get your palate going. So pick out an Irish or a nice Speyside (preferably young and aged in bourbon casks). These whiskies will give you a good basis for what whiskey is supposed to taste like. Try to describe them using your experience. A Master Distiller might say that something has notes of black currant. If you’ve never tasted a black currant, that is not particularly helpful. As you develop your own vocabulary, start searching out the flavors that the Master Distillers talk about. If you like cask finishes, try the wine that was in the cask first. Find places where you can smell leather, iodine, and peat. Become more aware of your senses of taste and smell. Before you know it, you will be tasting like a pro. You’re vocabulary just may be a little different (i.e. ‘This takes like ‘Nilla wafers and fresh mown grass’).

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Begin At The Beguine

Well, this is my first post.  My good friend Richard and I have been discussing a whiskey blog for some time and now is the time.  We will be blogging about the wonders of all forms of whiskey with the occasional shout out to a revered spirit or beer that strikes our fancy.  I am coming to you from New York City, where I will be attending every whiskey event I can possibly attend, and Richard is holding it down for the Dirty South.  We are also working on a system for helping newbies and whiskey enthusiasts find their perfect dram.  So, give us read, give us a shout, and we hope that we will be able to help you in your quest for knowledge and the perfect dram.