A Pocket Whiskey Tasting Journal
I wrote an article on tasting whisky and didn’t direct you to a tasting notebook, sorry about that. A tasting notebook is the first piece of “equipment” you should purchase, we use 33 Glasses of Whiskey.
I’m in a whiskey club that meets once a month officially, but we “taste” whiskey much more often. The idea started with three of us who were drinking whiskey but wanted to expand our knowledge and our palate. My own taste ran to Irish, Tullamore Dew and Jameson, and Scotch. On the Scotch side my go tos are Johnnie Walker Black and Laphroaig. One of the other guys preferred Bourbon and the third was also a scotch drinker.
The three of us decided that while we enjoyed what we were drinking we really didn’t know much about whiskey. We picked a price range which started around $60-$75 giving us a good selection of moderately priced whisky. The club has now grown to seven members and our price range is anywhere from $60 to about $120. Every month a different member selects a bottle giving us quite a variety as our tastes and interests are all a bit different. At the start of our meeting we all chip in to cover the cost so no member lays out more for a bottle than another.
We start each meeting with the new selection and do two pours, about 1.5 ounces each. The first pour is neat, we do our taste and have a discussion about color, aroma, and of course taste. The second pour is on the “rocks”, we actually use a stainless steel cube so we don’t dilute the whiskey. We repeat our tasting and observe the change temperature can bring. Then we add a drop of water, using an actual eye dropper, and see how water can affect the flavor.
Our tasting is recorded individually in our handy dandy 33 Glasses of Whiskey notebook. These were purchased for the group by one of the guys when it became obvious we were screwing up by not recording our tastings. When finished the member who brought the bottle shares tasting notes from various online organizations and the distillery itself to see how we compared.
We then put the new bottle away and revisit bottles from prior tastings, we usually have about three others on hand. These are all revisited neat and we can take a look at our corresponding notes to see if anything has changed or anything new is discovered. The club has also recently decided to end each meeting with a taste of Lagavulin 16, because it is awesome.
That”s how we do it. Whether you’re in a club or just love tasting whiskey a notebook of some sort is vitally important. I really like the 33 Glasses of Whiskey book for a number of reasons. One, it fits in your pocket so I can carry it anywhere. This lets me keep records of whiskey I have outside of the club- I can then share these notes at our next meeting. It’s also only $5 so it’s cheap enough to purchase a few to keep around and share. The only problem I have with this book- the flavor wheel is missing Peaty. Not that big of a deal but I do lean towards peaty whisky in general.