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Had my first "Measure of the Macallan" last night
04-26-2011, 11:09 AM
Post: #64
RE: Had my first "Measure of the Macallan" last night
(04-26-2011 09:59 AM)dheafey Wrote:  
(04-26-2011 06:27 AM)boomer Wrote:  Ooooo you must share some of the SECRETS of that book dh.

I would be happy to, kind sir!

For the most part, it is a fun read, but not complete from a "catalogue of whiskeys" perspective, which I completely understand; there's just too much to keep track of. Can you imagine the size of a hardcover tome that included each expression from every distillery? Yikes...

The author does a really nice job of touching on not only the well known regions (ex: scotch from Scotland and bourbon from Kentucky), but takes us around the world to the Far East and other European countries as well. It's been a hoot to read about Scotch distilleries in Japan, for example. Now, on to some of the more useful stuff, possibly linked to discussions we've been having about tasting, etc...

The author has a great section on Whiskey Tasting which is broken down as follows (with my notes/synopsis):

Appearance

Chill filtration, used to remove particles from the whiskey, can rob it of aroma. The traces these particles leave, after swirling, are an indication of a whiskey's "oilyness". The longer they take to travel down the glass, the more body they have.

Smell

Nose the whiskey when it's first in the glass, then swirl and nose to see if more aromas develop. In most cases, the first impression is the most reliable.

Taste

When tasting, the entire tongue and mouth should be coated thoroughly, allowing the flavors to first unfold on the tongue and the aromas to unfold on the upper respiratory tract. The whiskey's bouquet is essential to its flavor

Finish

After swallowing, a short finish (time it lingers on the palate) is associated with "freshness" while a long finish is associated with a rich whiskey. Medium to long is preferred.

Water

Water will release more aromas. Although not necessary with "drinking strength" whiskeys, it doesn't hurt. Water is frequently a necessity with cask strength samplings.

Miscellaneous

- Professional tasters will cover their glasses, preventing unnecessary contact with the air which may lead to slight changes in taste and smell
- Serious tasting should be done in the morning because senses are more acute during that time of day
- Lighter whiskeys are better around lunchtime while heavy, full whiskeys work better after a fine dinner
- Taking notes is a good way to keep track of what whiskeys taste best and when

Some great notes! Some that I wasn't aware of, but some - like using water, I am just experimenting with now. Case in point. Never use tap water because of its chemical content. Those flavors would kill the flavor immediately and might actually have some unintended results as well. Always use distilled. Unfortunately I am not a particular fan of using water. I feel it deadens the flavor but not necessarily the aroma, but I have never tried it with cask strength and after my first sample a couple weeks ago I can see why water might work a little better with that form of whisky.

Chilled filtration. This is one I am just learning about. Not a big fan. I like the odors and the flavors right off, and like the book says, chilled will damage the flavors or inhibit them. Whiskeys of any type need to be full of flavor and aromas.

Some of the other notes I have seen before, like covering the glass, and when to drink what kind of whiskey or whisky. One thing I would be interested in is what kinds of foods go with what. Another is how to take actual tasting notes. One of my coworkers has a whole notebook on her notes. Its probably thicker than a dictionary. And speaking of thick books - I don't know that there is one all complete book on whiskies. There are so many distilleries in so many places that it must be very difficult to keep track of all of them.

Whats the name of the book BTW?

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RE: Had my first "Measure of the Macallan" last night - Boomer - 04-26-2011 11:09 AM

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