Blind tasting

Sylvia Simm | 11. March 2024

We don't know which Whisky is in the glass!

When we usually have a well-known whisky in our glass, we have usually already made half of the judgement in our heads before tasting it.

Now we don't have the usual and crucial information about the bottle, brand, variety, image, alcohol strength and ageing.

We have to concentrate solely on the appearance, smell and flavour. So our eyes, nose and mouth are challenged. Without further limiting clues - such as the distillery - it becomesreally difficult!

Table of content

Guide to blind Whisky tasting

Look at it - smell it - taste it - savour it

We have already written about this elsewhere. We have already discussed how to judge a whisky when tasting and also when tasting at home. The difference here is that we don't know which whisky we have in our glass!

View

First of all, we look at the colour of the whisky and can make an initial assessment of its age and cask age. Normally, the lighter the colour of a whisky, the younger it is and, accordingly, the darker it is, the older it is. However, it must be taken into account here that a certain cask ageing also produces a darker whisky. We must also bear in mind that many whiskies are coloured with caramel to achieve the same colour.

Any chill-filtering can also be recognised by looking at the whisky. Without chill-filtering, streaks or suspended particles may appear in the whisky.

Smell

Then the nose comes into play ... take a nose!

Smoke and spiciness are probably the quickest and best to smell. Other notes such as wood, fresh fruit, ripe fruit, vanilla, spices and so on are certainly more difficult to perceive and require some practice. If we smell notes of sherry, rum or wine, we can conclude that it has been aged in a cask.

Taste

Next comes the flavour ... take a sip!

The flavour gives us further clues. Here we pay attention to the alcohol sharpness to get closer to the age of the whisky. The flavours of fruit, wood, vanilla and spices help us to track down the whisky in the glass.

Further features

We can easily determine the alcohol content of the whisky using an alcohol meter. To do this, the whisky is poured into the spindle and the alcohol content is read off. This also shows whether we may need water to dilute it.

And then the big guessing game begins. Guessing in a group is certainly great fun. Without any clues, however, you can't determine exactly which whisky it is, only the direction.

Video by Horst Lüning on the subject of blind tasting from 2012

Blind tasting for advanced tasters

A blind tasting can be further enhanced by mixing an 'outlier', for example a rum, with the whiskies. Or you can use a coloured glass so that you can't see the colour of the whisky.

Conclusion

Whether 'blind' or not - have fun tasting!

The choice for a blind tasting is huge!

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Port (B-Ware) 14 Years
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Port (B-Ware) 14 Years
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Inchmoan (B-Ware) 12 Years
Inchmoan (B-Ware) 12 Years
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Rascally Liquor
Rascally Liquor
0,5/ l · incl.  VAT
Aberlour Small Batch 15 Years
Aberlour Small Batch 15 Years
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Hebridean Journey (B-Ware)
Hebridean Journey (B-Ware)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Bunnahabhain Cask Strength Cask No. 1299 16Y-2007/2023
Bunnahabhain Cask Strength Cask No. 1299 16Y-2007/2023
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Glenlivet Captain's Reserve (B-Ware)
Glenlivet Captain's Reserve (B-Ware)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Mortlach Distiller's Dram (B-Ware) 16 Years
Mortlach Distiller's Dram (B-Ware) 16 Years
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Braeval 21Y-2000/2021
Braeval 21Y-2000/2021
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Stork Club Full Proof Rye
Stork Club Full Proof Rye
0,5/ l · incl.  VAT
Chichibu Ichiro's Malt Red Wine Cask /2023
Chichibu Ichiro's Malt Red Wine Cask /2023
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
Dingle Single Malt Batch 5 (B-Ware)
Dingle Single Malt Batch 5 (B-Ware)
0,7/ l · incl.  VAT
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Sylvia Simm is an experienced employee of Whisky.de. After more than 20 years in online sales and service, she supports the company with her extensive whisky knowledge in marketing. As online editor and content manager, she is responsible for editing and updating the texts on the knowledge pages.

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