Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

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rm
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Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by rm » Mon May 25, 2020 10:35 pm

Whenever we (used to :-)) meet socially we used to have wine or scotch. I enjoyed them especially scotch. However, I couldn't make out large differences between the various scotch (Except for the obvious - peaty vs non-peaty). The descriptions of the various scotch had orange, or spicy or nutty or fruity etc. but to me these aspects didn't jump out.

Now I'd really like to develop a palate so I can pick up the nuances and enjoy scotch more deeply.

I am curious how boglehead's developed their palate. I see many are sophisticated on this forum with strong point of views. A few options I had thought of
a) Join a scotch club where they mail you smaller taster bottles and do blind tasting.
b) Go to a scotch bar and just try various flavors side by side.

Has anyone tried these options. Or others that I may be missing

Cheers

WhatsIRR
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by WhatsIRR » Mon May 25, 2020 11:51 pm

Best way I have developed a palette for wine, whiskey and beer is immersing myself into it.

We have done a Napa trip, a Bourbon trial trip and more breweries than I can count. After both Napa and KY my knowledge, taste and appreciation skyrocketed.

You don’t have to travel to Scotland (but I couldn’t hurt) but a guided tasting of some sort would accelerate your understanding. After returning from KY we had a whiskey night at our house and introduced a few friends to the difference in various ryes and bourbons to try and help them learn a little

Starfish
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by Starfish » Mon May 25, 2020 11:58 pm

So you are enjoying cheap wine and scotch now.
You want to put effort, time and money to become a snob and enjoy only expensive stuff so you can spend more in the future. :oops:
:D

RightGuard
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by RightGuard » Tue May 26, 2020 12:20 am

You're gonna have to drink more :D

Take time to smell your beverage both before and during its enjoyment. The human sense of smell is a huge contributing factor to a large variety of physiological responses, the most obvious being taste. Getting a firm understanding of the major flavor profiles (guided by someone with experience?) in a relaxed setting and taking the time to fully experience them with your senses will allow you to pick them up later. The analogy I like to make is with Marijuana (or a rotting carcass). Smell it intensely once and you can always recognize it again, even if its faint.

I'm mostly a beer and clear spirit drinker but its amazing how exposure to a WIDE variety of styles, presentations, and temperatures can quickly build a basic depth of experience.

For beer I find that the differences between style, brewers, and age are not really subtle at all. After a period of wide sampling its fairly straightforward to tell if something brewed from wheat, rice, or corn. If fruit oils/juices have been added, roasted malt, heavily/lightly hopped, ABV(to the percent, not something vague like 'strong or week'), or if its old.

So get started :sharebeer

cogito
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by cogito » Tue May 26, 2020 12:30 am

I love Beer, Whiskey, and Wine, and tbh I still can't tell the difference between tons of stuff. I know I really like Laphroaig, Bulleit Rye, Lagunitas, and Costco boxed Cabernet. I also know I definitely don't like Glenfiddich, High West, New Belgium beers, and any kind of Rose. I don't pretend to be able to have a taste for the many subtleties inbetween, but I definitely have many acquaintances who do. I would encourage you to just experiment and drink what you like, and don't worry about if your palette is qualified by someone elses standards - cheers! :beer

oldfort
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by oldfort » Tue May 26, 2020 12:32 am

Starfish wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 11:58 pm
So you are enjoying cheap wine and scotch now.
You want to put effort, time and money to become a snob and enjoy only expensive stuff so you can spend more in the future. :oops:
:D
This is spot on. The OP should go read the Millionaire Next Door.

countdrak
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by countdrak » Tue May 26, 2020 12:34 am

Like someone else said - Start drinking more 😊 . In all seriousness I stuck to scotches that I liked and watched a ton of YouTube videos and reviews to try to understand the flavors and textures the “experts” were describing. Then you can start experimenting.

I Started with some cheaper bottles and quickly realized I like single malts more than blended, stuck with it to develop a taste for it. I don’t think my nose or pallet can recognize all the smells and flavors but I enjoy the experience.

Could never develop any taste for beer 🍺 and found wine overwhelming!

Chip
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by Chip » Tue May 26, 2020 5:09 am

rm wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 10:35 pm
Now I'd really like to develop a palate so I can pick up the nuances and enjoy scotch more deeply.
Note that many of us don't have the ability to develop the palate you're describing. I'm one of them. The sense of taste/smell just isn't there and likely never will be. OTOH, some people are so-called "supertasters", and can easily discern subtle differences.

DW used to volunteer at work for product "panels", testing various Megacorp products. One of them involved tasting and she had to pass a test to qualify for the panel. The test was to differentiate amongst peppermint, spearmint and watermint. She flunked. :D

As you immerse yourself :P in your new project, may I suggest that you do everything via blind tasting so that you're not influenced by the price or label on the scotch you're trying.

SimonJester
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by SimonJester » Tue May 26, 2020 9:12 am

For scotch check out a glencairn whiskey glass, they really do enhance the nose of the dram vs other glasses.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Topic Author
rm
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by rm » Tue May 26, 2020 10:17 am

oldfort wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 12:32 am
Starfish wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 11:58 pm
So you are enjoying cheap wine and scotch now.
You want to put effort, time and money to become a snob and enjoy only expensive stuff so you can spend more in the future. :oops:
:D
This is spot on. The OP should go read the Millionaire Next Door.
I am not saying that I am going to buy expensive stuff because I want to spend more :-)

I am saying that even in less expensive scotch I'd like to taste the nuances. I just feel it will help me experience life fuller and richer.

So nothing to do with money, all to do with experiences

Topic Author
rm
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by rm » Tue May 26, 2020 10:19 am

SimonJester wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 9:12 am
For scotch check out a glencairn whiskey glass, they really do enhance the nose of the dram vs other glasses.
Totally agree. Started using them a few weeks ago :beer

WS1
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by WS1 » Tue May 26, 2020 10:30 am

OP is not looking to become a money burning snob. OP is looking for a vocabulary like this. There’s nothing wrong with learning how to describe the flavors you do and do not enjoy

https://modernthirst.com/2014/08/06/th ... ing-wheel/

https://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/w ... oma-wheel/

https://counterculturecoffee.com/learn ... avor-wheel

wfrobinette
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by wfrobinette » Tue May 26, 2020 10:59 am

rm wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 10:35 pm
Whenever we (used to :-)) meet socially we used to have wine or scotch. I enjoyed them especially scotch. However, I couldn't make out large differences between the various scotch (Except for the obvious - peaty vs non-peaty). The descriptions of the various scotch had orange, or spicy or nutty or fruity etc. but to me these aspects didn't jump out.

Now I'd really like to develop a palate so I can pick up the nuances and enjoy scotch more deeply.

I am curious how boglehead's developed their palate. I see many are sophisticated on this forum with strong point of views. A few options I had thought of
a) Join a scotch club where they mail you smaller taster bottles and do blind tasting.
b) Go to a scotch bar and just try various flavors side by side.

Has anyone tried these options. Or others that I may be missing

Cheers
Whiskey tasting is an art and it involves the nose more so than the mouth.

“Nosing is probably where you’re going to find out the most about the different aromas and flavors in the whisky,” Whitfield says. His trick involves putting your finger in the glass to get a few drops of whiskey on your finger, and then rubbing your finger on the back of your hand - hard. “Basically what you’re doing is you’re rubbing off the alcohol,” he says. “If you then smell the back of your hand, you’ll actually pick up oaky, sweet, fruity flavors, depending on which whisky it is. It’s basically deconstructing the whisky – you’ve rubbed off the alcohol leaving all the flavor compounds behind on your hand.”

https://lifehacker.com/nose-whisky-like ... 1819031742

Option B is going to be expensive
Option A is a better route
Option C - go to the liquor store and buy a bottle of Balvenie 12 year to use as a baseline(best bang for your buck here). Then realize that the Irish, Japanese and Americans also make some fine whiskey.

As for wine? I have no clue except that I would try this nosing trick too.
Last edited by wfrobinette on Tue May 26, 2020 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

wfrobinette
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by wfrobinette » Tue May 26, 2020 11:02 am

cogito wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 12:30 am
I love Beer, Whiskey, and Wine, and tbh I still can't tell the difference between tons of stuff. I know I really like Laphroaig, Bulleit Rye, Lagunitas, and Costco boxed Cabernet. I also know I definitely don't like Glenfiddich, High West, New Belgium beers, and any kind of Rose. I don't pretend to be able to have a taste for the many subtleties inbetween, but I definitely have many acquaintances who do. I would encourage you to just experiment and drink what you like, and don't worry about if your palette is qualified by someone elses standards - cheers! :beer
Bulleit Rye is fantastic. Little known fact. Almost all rye whiskey is distilled in 1 place. Lawrenceburg, IN. A lot of bourbon there too. They sell wholesale barrels to bottlers that slap their label on it.

oldfort
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by oldfort » Tue May 26, 2020 11:08 am

rm wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 10:17 am
oldfort wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 12:32 am
Starfish wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 11:58 pm
So you are enjoying cheap wine and scotch now.
You want to put effort, time and money to become a snob and enjoy only expensive stuff so you can spend more in the future. :oops:
:D
This is spot on. The OP should go read the Millionaire Next Door.
I am not saying that I am going to buy expensive stuff because I want to spend more :-)

I am saying that even in less expensive scotch I'd like to taste the nuances. I just feel it will help me experience life fuller and richer.

So nothing to do with money, all to do with experiences
A lot of wine tasting is pretentious nonsense. See this study, where oenology students were fooled when a white wine was dyed with red coloring. If you can't tell the difference between a white and red in a blind taste test, how significant do you think the more subtle differences are?
https://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2 ... sting.html

That said, if your mission is to become a wine snob, an intro sommelier course like this may be right up your alley.
https://napavalleywineacademy.com/produ ... alifornia/

7eight9
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by 7eight9 » Tue May 26, 2020 11:17 am

It might be interesting to watch Somm, Somm: Into the Bottle and Somm 3. I found them to be both enjoyable and informative.

Somm is a 2012 American documentary following the attempts of four candidates to pass the extremely difficult Master Sommelier examination, a test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somm_(film)

Also fun is the book Judgement of Paris.

The only reporter present at the mythic Paris Tasting of 1976—a blind tasting where a panel of esteemed French judges chose upstart California wines over France’s best—for the first time introduces the eccentric American winemakers and records the tremendous aftershocks of this historic event that changed forever the world of wine.

The Paris Tasting of 1976 will forever be remembered as the landmark event that transformed the wine industry. At this legendary contest—a blind tasting—a panel of top French wine experts shocked the industry by choosing unknown California wines over France’s best.

https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/ ... 0743297325
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Topic Author
rm
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by rm » Tue May 26, 2020 11:37 am

WS1 wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 10:30 am
OP is not looking to become a money burning snob. OP is looking for a vocabulary like this. There’s nothing wrong with learning how to describe the flavors you do and do not enjoy

https://modernthirst.com/2014/08/06/th ... ing-wheel/

https://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/w ... oma-wheel/

https://counterculturecoffee.com/learn ... avor-wheel
Thats very enlightening. I think thats what was missing. Need a common vocabulary to compare different scotch for myself at least

The below seems the most quoted one for scotch (of course, there are many other variants
https://malt-review.com/2015/09/10/whis ... ur-charts/

This seems simpler and probably what I'll use
https://thescotchclub.files.wordpress.c ... _file2.jpg

Thanks
:beer

MJS
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by MJS » Tue May 26, 2020 11:44 am

Pick up 3-5 50ml mini bottles of good Scotches. Do the whole 9-yard tasting, 10 ml at a time. Take elaborate notes. The next day, do a blind tasting & try to identify each sample via nose and flavor analysis. Third day, read the expert's notes and try to find them in your 10ml samples. Fourth, try another blind tasting. Fifth, buy more Scotch.

Move on to a 3-pack of a single malt Scotch at different ages to get a sense for the effects of aging.

Chrono Triggered
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by Chrono Triggered » Tue May 26, 2020 11:47 am

I originally did this for craft beer but I've started doing it for other spirits.

First, check some reviews for something that is recommended for the price. You do not want to spend a lot of money because you may not tell the difference between bottle x and bottle y, even though y might be much cheaper. So look for something that is a good bang for the buck.

Continue to read about the notes from that particular spirit, and see if you can spot them when you sample it. If you like videos, you can sometimes find clips of people drinking and reviewing exactly what you have, so pour a glass, smell when they smell, taste when they taste, and see if you can pick up what they're describing.

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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by Kenkat » Tue May 26, 2020 11:56 am

wfrobinette wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 11:02 am
cogito wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 12:30 am
I love Beer, Whiskey, and Wine, and tbh I still can't tell the difference between tons of stuff. I know I really like Laphroaig, Bulleit Rye, Lagunitas, and Costco boxed Cabernet. I also know I definitely don't like Glenfiddich, High West, New Belgium beers, and any kind of Rose. I don't pretend to be able to have a taste for the many subtleties inbetween, but I definitely have many acquaintances who do. I would encourage you to just experiment and drink what you like, and don't worry about if your palette is qualified by someone elses standards - cheers! :beer
Bulleit Rye is fantastic. Little known fact. Almost all rye whiskey is distilled in 1 place. Lawrenceburg, IN. A lot of bourbon there too. They sell wholesale barrels to bottlers that slap their label on it.
I got to go through that facility as part of a field trip for a high school economics class back when it was owned by Seagrams who produced Seagram 7 Crown at that plant. Many of the wholesale buyers will blend various barrels (both sourced from that plant and not sourced from that plant) to create their signature bourbons.

caffeperfavore
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by caffeperfavore » Tue May 26, 2020 12:08 pm

Wine can seem overwhelming, so I recommend focusing on an area or a grape at a time and get to know them. Start with the basic grapes and big areas. If you find something you really enjoy, use it as an opportunity to go deeper. Take a few notes on what you taste.

As others have said, visiting places makes a huge difference. Tough to do know I know, but when you've been to Gigondas or Tain l'Hermitage or Puligny-Montrachet or Meursault, etc. all the funny names in the wine shop start to make more sense. You get a feel for the distinct terroirs.

But it will take time. As others have said, you just have to drink more. Explore. Let your taste guide you.

wfrobinette
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by wfrobinette » Tue May 26, 2020 12:51 pm

Kenkat wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 11:56 am
wfrobinette wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 11:02 am
cogito wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 12:30 am
I love Beer, Whiskey, and Wine, and tbh I still can't tell the difference between tons of stuff. I know I really like Laphroaig, Bulleit Rye, Lagunitas, and Costco boxed Cabernet. I also know I definitely don't like Glenfiddich, High West, New Belgium beers, and any kind of Rose. I don't pretend to be able to have a taste for the many subtleties inbetween, but I definitely have many acquaintances who do. I would encourage you to just experiment and drink what you like, and don't worry about if your palette is qualified by someone elses standards - cheers! :beer
Bulleit Rye is fantastic. Little known fact. Almost all rye whiskey is distilled in 1 place. Lawrenceburg, IN. A lot of bourbon there too. They sell wholesale barrels to bottlers that slap their label on it.
I got to go through that facility as part of a field trip for a high school economics class back when it was owned by Seagrams who produced Seagram 7 Crown at that plant. Many of the wholesale buyers will blend various barrels (both sourced from that plant and not sourced from that plant) to create their signature bourbons.
Yeah. Some at twice the price as others. When I was a drinker, I found several lower price high quality whiskeys.

Bulleit made the cut for both rye and Bourbon.
Evan Williams Black label for mixing. They also had a very affordable single barrel as well.
Four Roses has value as well.

I digress

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queso
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by queso » Tue May 26, 2020 1:41 pm

I drink a lot more scotch than I ought to, but am not very good at detecting the subtle flavors. I was the same way with wine even after 2x Napa trips and a wine tasting class in Napa. One thing I like to do when trying something new for the first time is drink it while watching Horst Luning (whisky.com or look at their youtube channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnCE0- ... aud1l9rhkA) or Ralfydotcom (https://www.youtube.com/user/ralfystuff). Sometimes it helps me identify a flavor or smell I can't seem to put my finger on. I'm still no good at it, but Horst can be pretty entertaining the way he "chews" on the scotch.

I tend to give up getting technical with it and just take the Nick Offerman approach - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS-ErOK ... verified=1
Last edited by queso on Tue May 26, 2020 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SxSW
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by SxSW » Tue May 26, 2020 2:39 pm

oldfort wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 12:32 am

This is spot on. The OP should go read the Millionaire Next Door.
There's a quote from a grumpy guy in that book who says, "I drink Budweiser or whatever's cheaper!"

That attitude is downright silly. An extra couple of bucks gets you a much better product. Cheaper is not always better.

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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Tue May 26, 2020 2:43 pm

SxSW wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 2:39 pm
oldfort wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 12:32 am

This is spot on. The OP should go read the Millionaire Next Door.
There's a quote from a grumpy guy in that book who says, "I drink Budweiser or whatever's cheaper!"

That attitude is downright silly. An extra couple of bucks gets you a much better product. Cheaper is not always better.
It wouldn’t be Bogleheads without some good ol’ fashioned money shaming!

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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by tomd37 » Tue May 26, 2020 4:33 pm

SimonJester - I enjoy my two ounces of Scotch whisky every evening in my Glencarin whiskey glasses. Thirty minutes away now. :D
Tom D.

SimonJester
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by SimonJester » Wed May 27, 2020 9:11 am

tomd37 wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 4:33 pm
SimonJester - I enjoy my two ounces of Scotch whisky every evening in my Glencarin whiskey glasses. Thirty minutes away now. :D
Ive done side by side comparisons of the same dram in a Glencarin glass and other glasses, its amazing how much of a difference the Glencarin glass makes. I'd say drinking Scotch is 50-60% about the nosing and you miss 95% of that with a normal glass...
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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queso
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by queso » Wed May 27, 2020 9:15 am

SimonJester wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 9:11 am
tomd37 wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 4:33 pm
SimonJester - I enjoy my two ounces of Scotch whisky every evening in my Glencarin whiskey glasses. Thirty minutes away now. :D
Ive done side by side comparisons of the same dram in a Glencarin glass and other glasses, its amazing how much of a difference the Glencarin glass makes. I'd say drinking Scotch is 50-60% about the nosing and you miss 95% of that with a normal glass...
+1 on Glencairn glasses. Very cost effective way to improve your scotch experience.

WS1
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by WS1 » Wed May 27, 2020 9:51 am

SimonJester wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 9:11 am
tomd37 wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 4:33 pm
SimonJester - I enjoy my two ounces of Scotch whisky every evening in my Glencarin whiskey glasses. Thirty minutes away now. :D
Ive done side by side comparisons of the same dram in a Glencarin glass and other glasses, its amazing how much of a difference the Glencarin glass makes. I'd say drinking Scotch is 50-60% about the nosing and you miss 95% of that with a normal glass...
The nose matters for everything. 90% of the time I drink my beer from a red wine glass. Hell, one of the best beer bars in the USA, called Tørst, only uses wine glasses. Maybe they chose to do it as a gimmick, but it certainly made me feel like I’d been making the smart move with my cup choices.

Walkure
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by Walkure » Wed May 27, 2020 12:32 pm

cogito wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 12:30 am
I love Beer, Whiskey, and Wine, and tbh I still can't tell the difference between tons of stuff. I know I really like Laphroaig, Bulleit Rye, Lagunitas, and Costco boxed Cabernet. I also know I definitely don't like Glenfiddich, High West, New Belgium beers, and any kind of Rose. I don't pretend to be able to have a taste for the many subtleties inbetween, but I definitely have many acquaintances who do. I would encourage you to just experiment and drink what you like, and don't worry about if your palette is qualified by someone elses standards - cheers! :beer
I seem to have met my nemesis! I'd take Glenfiddich or a Rosé every time and find IPAs revolting. :sharebeer

EnjoyIt
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by EnjoyIt » Wed May 27, 2020 12:48 pm

All that stuff about palate is a bunch of hooey and there have been plenty of studies that have tricked snobs into thinking otherwise. One particular study had experts taste the same wine out of different bottles and they had different adjectives for each.

Ignore the BS and just drink what you like and enjoy. Try different things. In particular with regards to scotches, try them from different regions. I really only enjoy just a couple of Islay scotches with LaGavulin 16 as my favorite with Bunnahabhain as a nice lower priced Islay. Frankly I am not a huge fan of the Speyside scotches and more often than not prefer the Highlands as they are a little sweeter. Macallen makes some good scotches though they are kind of mass produced like Glenfiddich and a little overpriced but a very smooth scotch. They have a delicious 12 year the was finished in Sherry cask. Glenmorangie has two bottles under $50 that are pretty smooth. One is finished in a Sherry cask and the other in a port cask. The 12 year port I believe is better, but as of recent they only have the 14 year port finish which I don't think is very good. If you can find the 12 year, in my opinion it is probably one of the best Highland scotches for under $50. My favorite Highland is Dalmore though it is rather pricey these days.

As others have said. The only way to learn what you like is to keep trying and don't waste your time with trying to pick out notes of orange, oak or any other BS that people think they taste. One thing my spouse and I do is blind taste tests of a few different scotches to see which ones we like more. We tend to just buy what we like and experiment every so often.
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WhatsIRR
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Re: Develop scotch/wine palate quickly and effectively

Post by WhatsIRR » Wed May 27, 2020 9:26 pm

We did the Bourbon Trail last year and visited 23 distilleries and tasted an estimated 100+ spirits.

At many of the distilleries I enjoyed their base bourbon over the higher end bottles. Buffalo Trace stands out in my mind with base Trace being my preference over Eagle Rare.

I like the heat and spice on the younger whiskeys which have sat in the barrels shorter lengths of time. The higher end 10+ year bottles have mellowed too much for my preference.

Only way I found this preference was drinking them all side by side and trying not to have preconceived ideals.

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