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Old 09-16-2007, 05:03 PM   #1
Milicent
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Default Blind Tastings

It's well known how enlightening/humiliating blind tastings are for scotch lovers. Favorites score abysmally low while lesser offerings fly off the charts. Study after study have revealed how strongly perceptions affect our taste, appreciation, and experience with everything and spirits in particular.

I am curious and would like to hear about the different experiences everyone has had with true blind tastings. The goal would be to create an environment that would make it difficult to "figure out" what was what and enable a true blind tasting. Several rums are unmistakable, but many others are open to being tasted for what they are. This is why I am interested in hearing other's experiences.

As a point of beginning, it was a blind tasting that convinced me I like Barbancourt 8 year more than their 15 which was a previous favorite. It's also what showed me I like Clontarf's blend over its Reserve of Single Malt (Irish Whiskey).

Anyone have experiences, insights, etc. they would like to share? Let's here your stories and experiences.
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Old 09-16-2007, 05:10 PM   #2
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Your discovery that Barbancourt 8 is preferable to their 15 is a very good example of how a label and bottle presentation can color your perception of a drink before you even get it to your mouth.

The order in which you taste spirits will also color your opinion. Tasting 5 overproof rums for example will make it almost impossible to taste anything else.

Although some rums are definitely distinct, I would say that with experience, the better rums, or whatever spirit you are tasting, rise to the top. It is difficult not to be persuaded by advertising and fancy bottles and labels, but there is also the variable of consistency of product.
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Old 09-17-2007, 01:18 PM   #3
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See my spiel on the Cigar N Rum thread regarding the staggering number of variables to weigh before one might truly decide upon right vs. wrong & better vs. worse.

Unfortunately as consumers we are vulnerable to marketing. Some of us a lot more so than others - it seems. I think the first rule to guard against (outside of experimenting and becomnig acclimated) is NEVER buy something based upon anything other than your needs a likeability. Sure, your friends love X so you keep some around even though you could do without. But don't buy X because it costs a lot and every rum or single malt enthusiast has to have a bottle of X to maintain their status as "enthusiast".

I like single malts a lot and have a pretty solid dugout. Absent an Independent bottle, I've bought no Macallan in 8 years. It's been 13+ years since I've purchased any Glenlivet. I don't buy Oban. Glenfiddich, except for the Havana cask finished - NEVER. Those are a few that many regard as industry standards. I don't care about that. I simply don't have the budget nor the capacity to stock things I'm not at least attentive to.

It depends on what you do with your spirit and of course if you find what you feel is a great deal with regards to cost verses what you get, I do sometimes find myself with something I'm not as attracted to but do keep on hand. The rest I'll try it - if it doesn't rate as a best buy or captivating, I usually move on. I will sample at tastings and am open to re-evaluation but absent a change in findings, it's doubtful I'll spend a buck.
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Old 09-17-2007, 01:59 PM   #4
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This is a bit different than what I think you mean, but a couple days ago I was subjected to a blind testing by a friend. I had to do my best to identify 10 rums out of about 30 that I knew. I blogged about it here: http://scottesrum.com/2007/09/16/ide...e-blindfolded/

In a nutshell, out of 10 rums, I identified 3 cleanly, 2 closely, and missed the rest. But 2 of those simply astounded me with how good they were, the Barbancourt 5-Star and the El Dorado 15-year-old.

Completely blind, (almost) no idea what was coming next, and these two truly blew me away. Great rums.
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Old 09-17-2007, 02:31 PM   #5
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Not too surprising Scottes. In the true blind, most wine enthusiasts can't accurately differentiate white from red. Professionals that are really good do so at 70-80% accuracy.

The most defining sense we have as far as taste goes, is SIGHT.
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:12 PM   #6
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Scottes,

Just finished reading your write up. The Mount Gay banana fiasco was especially humorous. I always enjoy your site. I have a feeling I would do about the same if not worse in a similar situation. My recent experiences make me want to go through all of my rums blind to discover what I really like most.

Thanks for the input everyone.
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Old 09-18-2007, 04:52 PM   #7
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Fiasco?? FIASCO??

That hurt.

- Just kidding.

I really have to wonder if that would happen again. I may have to get my wife to mark cups and pour for me some night.


Another thing that I thought about... When I sipped each rum, I tried to identify which one it was. As a result I think that I missed some nuances about several rums. Next time I am going to sip and describe the rum just like I do when I taste it for my site - what smells are there, what tastes, how's the burn and finish? Then I'll try to remember which rum best fits that description.
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Old 10-11-2007, 02:26 PM   #8
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Default Blind Tastings

I didn't taste the Barbacourts blind but I arrived at very my preference immediatetely. Thumbs up for the 8 year old.

I have blind tasted Barbancourt 8, Brugal Aсejo, and Ten Cane. Brugal came in last and Ten Cane Second. To me Ten Cane had a slight yeasty aroma and taste which I consider a defect in any distilled spirit. Distilled at low proof perhaps?
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottes View Post
But 2 of those simply astounded me with how good they were, the Barbancourt 5-Star and the El Dorado 15-year-old.
Barbancourt 5-star is a rum I commonly use to demonstrate that idea that you shouldn't get hung up on the age of your rum. Almost everyone I know prefers the 5-star, aged 8 years, over their more expensive 15 year old rum.

El Dorado 15 has been the flagship of Demerara Distillers for as long as I've known about them.
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