Thursday, September 30, 2010

Notes on Notes

I thought I'd put here a semi-random smattering of thoughts I've had recently about tasting notes.

1. I encourage you to keep tasting notes. People will poke fun at me when I'm at a tasting and whip out my little Moleskine notebook and start writing stuff down. Then they probably realize in a few weeks that they can't remember what they tasted or whether they liked it or not. Sucks when you realize that, and I got tired of it. Hence the book.

2. If you publish your tasting notes, write them in terms most people can relate to. Here are a few recent ones I read that struck my fancy with their lack of meaning in my vocabulary:

- "suet pudding" (I've only ever fed suet to birds)
- "highly polished oak" (at what point is it "highly" and what polish are you using?)
- "highly perfumed rye" (I guess this is rye that's going on a date)
- "wild silk" (this silk likes to PARTAAAAY)
- "crackling winter fires" (not those lame winter fires)

Ok, maybe I'm just jealous that they can actually come up with interesting things to say about whisky.

3. A few sources of tasting notes that I like are:

- the blog of John Hansell, Malt Advocate Magazine editor and publisher
- Jim Murray's Whisky Bible (contains many typos, though)
- the website for Whisky Magazine
- the whisky producers' websites themselves (but take them with a grain of salt)
- random webpages I find by searching online ("normal" people sometimes give good, honest feedback about whiskies)

It might be worthwhile to try to figure out what you like and then try to find a published reviewer who likes similar things. Or find someone who likes what you don't and mock them. Both lead to good times.

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