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Scotch actual flavour/smell versus tasting notes

 
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Do you honestly taste/smell most of the flavours and/or nose described by distillers?
Yes
4%
 4%  [ 3 ]
No
8%
 8%  [ 6 ]
I perceive some of the flavours & odours
87%
 87%  [ 63 ]
Total Votes : 72

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SidK
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Joined: 23 Sep 2019
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:27 pm    Post subject: Scotch actual flavour/smell versus tasting notes Reply with quote

Hi guys,
I'm new to this forum and am working with researchers and laboratories across the UK & EU on flavour mapping for Scotch. We often find that people don't experience the taste/flavours/nose that is described by producers. So I just wanted to get your perspective on this. Thanks for sharing your insights!
Sid


Last edited by SidK on Wed Sep 25, 2019 11:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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BigShing
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you asking this in the definite sense Sid? What I mean is, are you only interested in whether members here pick up ALL of the tasting notes, and not some of the tasting notes on some of the whiskies they try? Coz for me the question you posed isn't really a Yes/No answer. I tend to pick up on some of the notes but often not all of them. Do you want us to just vote Yes in instances like that?
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arqueturus
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd argue that reading them first can help 'steer' you to taste them subconciously. I never get all of them if I taste then read but certainly get more if I do read them first, still seldom all of them.

It's far too subjective.
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DaveWn
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not really a yes or no question which probably explains the lack of votes.

A producers description tells me (or should do) where I would roughly find the whisky on the flavour map, as for the individual nuances you will find in a whisky that is a very personal thing and will vary from person to person so not everyone will experience the same flavours, as not everyone has a sensitive sense of taste. For example some people will sense a fruitiness but couldn't break it down to individual fruits, some may sense apple where others sense pear.

Tasting notes are very individual and personal, some whisky producers can be overly pretentious when trying to push their whisky and so can some whisky critics/writers, which does not help anyone.

Personally if I don't get the chance to taste a whisky before I buy it I would seek out an independent tasting note which has also scored/rated the quality of the whisky which is just as important as the tasting note.
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Alexppp
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave put it best I think - I assume most of us here would be on the same page in general terms when tasting a whisky. But the particulars are very much subjective. Maybe the type of sweetness in a whisky would remind me of chocolate, and someone else of dark red fruit. To take it one step further, some people like to clarify what type of chocolate exactly, and what kind of fruit. While this is very subjective, most of the time they're different descriptors for the same thing picked up on the palate.

A big reason for this is that we don't have tailor-made words to describe smells and tastes the way we do to describe other senses like sight and sound. For example, imagine having to describe the colour blue without access to the word 'blue'. Some of us would say 'it looks like the sky after a storm', others might say 'it looks like the Mediterranean sea' etc. We would all see a very similar thing (provided we're not colour-blind) but the way we describe it would be personal and subjective, and sometimes even pretentious. It's the same with flavours.
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SidK
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Joined: 23 Sep 2019
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi gents,
You're all right, thanks for valuable feedback.

- Yes I should amend the poll to include an option "I taste some of them'' -> how do I do this?
- It is true that recognition and subsequent labelling (you can't label what you can't describe even though you might pick up the scent/taste) is a very subjective thing and depends on a person and even culture. Research has shown that Asian/African cultures have a totally different way of describing scents & flavours
- I guess that it's all part of the romance of buying and discovering a new bottle of whisky? At the same time it's kind of a pity that we spend money on sometimes expensive bottles and then discover they don't quite taste like the description.

In the latter sense it's a shame we're more driven then by marketing and packaging or habit rather than actual content of the bottle?
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lincoln imp
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find many bottlers notes so far from reality that I just ignore them or take them with a pinch of salt, some are an incredible work of fiction over describing basically a mundane whisky but you would think you were drinking the nectar of the gods by what they were saying.
I agree they could give you a pointer in the right direction but that is about it.

There are some exceptions , I used to like the no nonsense simple notes that Balblair dumpy bottles had on them.

All I need to know from the like of a single cask are what fill it is and whether its bourbon or sherry casks really.
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SidK
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"some are an incredible work of fiction over describing basically a mundane whisky''

Hehe, good one.
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