OK… So we’ve made some rather lofty claims on our web site. Chief amongst these is “The 3 Drunken Celts are set to change all that you know about whiskies…” Well here’s the start of that:
You’ve seen us using them at Whiskies of the World in San Francisco, and other tasting events we attend, now get your own so you won’t forget what you’ve tasted and more importantly, what you thought of the taste! Simply said, these are essentially blank notebooks designed to guide tasters through their own note-taking while tasting various whiskies. The notebooks include free-text sections as well as basic rating scales to capture your own reactions to the whiskies you are tasting.
There is more information about this new offering below… I’ve a personal beef with tasting notes and ratings as are currently done by the whiskey world at large; eg: Would I like a given “98” rated whiskey? Would it be good on a hot summer afternoon? Is it thick and warm or thin and refreshing? Is it complex or curt in its story? The “98” really doesn’t mean anything to you unless you were the one who tasted the dram or at least know what scores in each of the individual categories the reviewer has used that then where added up to the 98. I’m pretty sure we, the 3DC, can do a damn site better than that. I find that some whiskies that rate highly I don’t like while others that do not rate so highly, by the experts at least, are rather enjoyable and visa versa on both these statements.On the most rudimentary level what I’d like to know about a bottle of whiskey I’ve never had is how thick the dram is, how strong the taste is, how long the story is. I find that I prefer a stronger, thicker dram in the winter and a lighter more complex one in the summer so knowing the viscosity, boldness and length of story goes a long way towards picking out a dram I’m not familiar with. Additionally, these are categories that can be reviewed with far less subjectively. We’ll use a 1-5 scale. For example, if it drinks like a 10W40 motor oil, as far as viscosity is concerned, you’d give it a 5 and if it was thin as water you’d give it a 1. The same scale will be used for Boldness and length of story.
From there, more traditional tasting notes regarding descriptive verbiage of the nose, flavor and finish can come into play when deciding between drams I already know to be appropriate to my mood’s general requirements at the time. I should be noted that the evaluations, 1-5, in the categories above are not indicative of quality or approval. A 1 is no better than a 5, just an empirical take on the dram’s properties. This is what makes our system drastically different from the status quo as well as makes the future database a much more useful tool.
The last category, and notably the least important, is an indication of how much we liked the dram based on own personal taste with an A-F scale. This is simply intended to be a reference or reminder of our overall impression of the dram as time passes and also a means for others to get to know our individual preferences while reviewing the database. For example, Seamus really likes the Balvenie 21, and so does Fergus, so Fergus looking over Seamus’ favorable review of the Edradour 10 cask strength would lend Fergus to think he may well want to try it too. Simple huh?
To this end we have introduced a 3DC tasting notepad on our Café Press shop page.
We are also, in time, going to be able to start logging these tasting notes onto our web site for others to reference. The idea here is that you can try things that others have tried and get to know each other’s tastes and preferences. Once you get to know the others preferences you may be inclined to try something you’d not normally have tried simply because someone with similar tastes as your own rated it favorably regardless of what the late M. Jackson or J. Murray has said about the dram. Not that they don’t know their business. As Fergus and Seamus will tell you, I’ve nothing but the highest admiration for Jim but his tastes have developed far beyond my own and his sophistication of pallet is also well out of my current personal reach. He has highly rated things I don’t care for and has panned some of my favorite drams as well so as much as I like the man, I can’t rely on his ratings to determine whether or not I’m going to like what’s in the bottle in front of me. I just know if Jim liked it.
I urge you to give our little experiment in changing the whiskey world a try. We’ve put a PDF copy of one of the pages up in the downloads page if you’d like to “try before you buy”.
Please let us know what you think and feel free to post a version of your tasting notes to the list for a while so we can see what you think of the drams you are trying.