Originally Posted by angelsword
If I really want understand a spirit my personal proceedure is: First nose, then neet, then with a splash of water, finally over ice. Each reveals different characteristics.
Originally Posted by The Sheriff
When tasting rum should it be cut with a little water? Seems to me that sometimes the alcohol can over power my taste buds.
I recently attended a Cognac tasting and found the tasting procedures to be somewhat different than wine.
Rum is the most varied of all the distilled spirits and can have the widest variety of flavors.
Tasting rum, as opposed to drinking it, should be approached with an open mind, nose and mouth.
I like to start with a glass which will allow me to assess as many of the flavors in the spirit as possible. The glass should be straight-sided or wider at the top than at the bottom, you don't need or want to concentrate the aromas of rum, especially barrel proof rums, in the chimney of a glass. I like to use a glass which is about as wide as possible and about as high as it is wide.
After pouring enough rum in the glass to amply cover the bottom, I swirl the liquid to release the aromas then I let the glass sit a few seconds while I see how the liquid runs back down into the glass. Then I tilt the glass about 45°
and gently smell the top or high side of the glass. Next I move my nose to the lower side of the glass and see the difference in aroma as I move acorss the open mouth of the glass.
I sip some water and repeat this process giving the spirit some time to breathe. After sipping some more room temperature water I'm ready to suck a few drops of the liquid through my lips into and over my tongue while mentally assessing how the initial taste, the body and finish are integrated. Does any flavor dominate the others? Does the body reflect the initial taste and does the finish flow evenly from the body are they disjointed segments of flavor?
I sip some more water and let the spirit sit a few minutes then repeat nosing the spirit before I assess it in my mouth a second time. It is amazing how some spirits change with time in the same way a good wine will improve as it breathes.
After I've assessed the spirit neat, I like to add a few drops of water and see how it changes. Too much water and most spirits taste flat but with just a little water, most good spirits improve. Our taste buds aren't really designed to assess spirits which contain more than 40% alcohol so a little water is generally a good idea though ice will tend to attenuate our senses.