What allows you to taste and evaluate spirits in a consistent way and to record your notes systematically?
The Systematic Approach to Tasting Spirits (SAT)
An ideal tasting room will be...
- Good natural light
- A white surfaces against which you can judge the appearance of the spirit.
A great glass for tasting spirits, which includes a bowl with a tulip shape to concentrate the aromas toward the nose.
ISO stands for International Standards Organization
With spirits, what is the ideal size for a tasting sample?
.5 US fl. oz
What is the order of tasting components, according to the SAT?
4. Final conclusion about quality
What should you make a quick note of regarding the appearance of a spirit, before adding water?
Hazy in a spirit would be considered...
Some premium spirits that are not filtered and can become hazy when chilled or with the addition of water.
Louching is a reaction that happens with some spirits turning opaque and cloudy when water is added for dilution.
One example is Aniseed based spirits
Water-white describes the color of all spirits when they come off the still.
One example of a spirit that remains water-white when bottled would be Vodka.
What is the measure of how easily one can see through a spirit?
What term is used for spirits that can not be seen through at all?
Cream liqueurs are opaque.
When would a spirit have a pale intensity?
A spirit would be described as having a pale intensity when the producer has used no caramel color or has aged the spirit in barrels that were not new.
What are three terms often used for wood-aged spirits?
Should you swirl a glass of spirit when smelling?
No, swirling can cause increased alcohol evaporation, which can impact the ability to smell fine aromas in the spirit.
What is one of the most commonly encountered faults in a spirit?
A common fault is the bottle becoming out of condition due to being open too long.
The Spirit Lexicon
A table of suggested aroma/flavor words that can be used to describe characteristics in a spirit - these are divided into three systematic groups: raw materials, processing, oak and maturation.
Excessive aromas of heads and tails in a spirits are generally considered to be what?
What aromas are associated with oxygen during oak maturation?
'Oak and maturation', these aromas include vanilla, cinnamon and other spices.
What is a good ratio of water to spirit addition for assessment purposes?
50:50, this allows the aromas to emerge while diluting the impact of alcohol.
The tongue is responsible for recognizing five tastes:
What taste is not present in spirits?
What are the two important tastes in spirits?
Sweet and Bitter
With regard to taste, newly distilled spirits are accurately described as...
Sugar is added after distillation.
How can vanilla and fruity aromas be deceiving with regards to sweetness?
They give the allusion of sweetness when in combination, even if there is no sugar present.
What does texture refer to?
Texture refers to how the spirit feels in the mouth.
What should you focus on when assessing the length of the finish of a spirit?
One should focus on the positive flavors. Unpleasant tastes, textures or flavors should not be considered.
What should you focus on when considering the nature of the finish of a spirit?
When considering the finish of a spirit, one should focus on whether the finish is simple, complex or neutral in nature.
Whether one flavor, texture or structural component dominates, or if they all present in harmony - and according to the style of the product.
A high quality spirit will have...
A balanced, pleasant finish where complex flavors linger and evolve for several seconds.
When does Purity become a consideration?
For neutral spirits such as vodkas, this will be the consideration, as opposed to complexity of flavors and aromas.