Participants

The number of connoisseurs of high-quality single malt whisky in Germany is estimated to be approximately 250,000 by the author [6]. Connoisseurs of high-quality single malt whisky are distinguished by their high level of experience, meaning they have tried a large number of different single malt whiskies in recent years. The estimate of 250,000 whisky connoisseurs in Germany is based on the export figures of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) [7] and on the assumption that a connoisseur has a yearly minimum consumption of six high-quality bottles with a retail price of 30 Euros or more.

With more than half a million of high-quality bottles sold in 2013, the mail order company The Whisky Store is likely to be the biggest single malt whisky retailer in Germany. Thus a sufficiently large group of connoisseurs could be invited to the project.

Each participant had to pay a service charge of 1 Euro per sample in order to give the experiment a certain level of value, along the lines of: 'What costs nothing is worth nothing'. If the participants did not return the evaluation forms in time, they had to accept a penalty fee of 5 Euros per sample. Encouraged by this gentle enforcement, 111 of the 112 participants returned their evaluation forms in time.

The questionnaire for the participants contained questions about the level of single malt whisky experience (number of whiskies tasted), the age of the participants and their preferences in terms of chill filtration. They were also asked for other parameters such as smoker/non-smoker, taste preferences, region, whisky colouring etc. The evaluation of this information will be the subject of subsequent publications.

On a special form that was separated from the questionnaire, the participants had to sign a declaration that they did not cheat and that all samples were tasted by the same person.

Exemplary questionnaires and evaluation forms can be found in the appendix.