Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tasting spirits - the influence of the glass


I'm convinced of the fact that the glass that you use for a spirit has a big influence on the taste of the spirit itself. Some call me snobby, I call them ignorant cuz they waste the good experience they could have by using the wrong glass.

During a pharmacy smoke in February we made exactly this experience and due to this I decided to make a lil experiment... Ralf was so kind to take part and to support it by takin part and givin me his impressions too. I really appreciate it, thx a lot, Ralf...

Ok, let's start with the two most important participants... the glasses. One is a typical nosing glass, the glass I always use if I drink spirits. Whisk(e)y, Cognac, Brandy, R(h)um... whatever. One the other hand we took a tumbler. I got them as a gift many years ago, but they´ve never been used.

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The glasses: Tumbler (left), Nosing glass (right)

The spirits've been the following:
  • Woodford Master's Collection Seasoned Oak Wood
  • Pyrat XO Reserve
  • Octomore Orpheus 02.2
  • Macallan Fine Oak 12 yo.
  • Spiritueux de Cannelle from Metté
  • Montecristo Edmundo Dantes Anejo Rum 15 yo.

For me it's natural that those spirits have to be enjoyed at room temperature and WITHOUT ice.


Ok... let´s taste the Woodford Master´s Collection Seasoned Oak Wood with an ABV of 50.2 %.

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Seasoned Oak Wood, 50.2 %


Ralf's impressions:

1. Tumbler
    Nose: very dominating smell of wood, hints of smoke, some kinda sulfurous notes but not unpleasant, some sourish aromes (reminding of mash), decent notes of vanilla
    Taste: a lot of wood combined with vanilla, oily, a lot of tannin
    Aftertaste: really spicy (chili) and once again the decent sourish mash-aroma, not very complex, just straight.

2. Nosing glass
    Nose: Smell is less intensive but more complex and more pleasant. Smoke, wood, mash and vanilla seem to be combined better.
    Taste: more complex, the tannin is not in the foreground, but the vanilla is more intensive. On the whole it's sweeter and the woody aromas are less dominant.
    Aftertaste: Longer, less acridity and mash, more vanilla and caramelized sugar.


Heiko's impressions:

1. Tumbler

    Nose: Hints of vanilla, alcohol is very intensive, decent sweetness
    Taste: Very intensive spiciness, glue, burnt wood, decent bitterness
    Aftertaste: Long and warming with spices remaining...


2. Nosing glass

    Nose: Intensive vanilla aroma, butter toffee, some spices
    Taste: Spices even more intensive than in the smell, some caramel, vanilla coming up through the dominating oak wood, a lil bit mouth drying, dried fruits, cinnamon, nutmeg
    Aftertaste: Oak wood and a mix of spices, some honey... the spices last long... long and warming


Resumee: The nosing glass is the winner, again. The Whisky is more harmonic and complex.

Rating: Tumbler : Nosing glass - 0 : 2


Next one of the tasting panel is the Pyrat XO Reserve.. in this case we still have available the old bottling which is - if you like it - much better than the newer ones.

Pyrat XO Reserve, 40.0 %

Ralf's impressions:

1. Tumbler

    Nose: A bit flat, some phenols, decent notes of orange, very sweet (vanilla) a bit unpleasant (the empty glass smells like Sherry)
    Taste: sweet, oily and harmonic, orange and rumpot fruits comin to my mind, very complex and pleasant
    Aftertaste: Long and sweet… long lasting aroma of orange and rum pot fruits…


2. Nosing glass

    Nose: less phenols, sweet with some hints of orange and vanilla, decent notes of smoke, very pleasant
    Taste: Sweet and oily taste, again orange and rum pot fruits, very complex and harmonic, even better than in the tumbler.
    Aftertaste: Very long aftertaste with orange, rum pot fruits, caramelized sugar and some chili acridity…. Very nice…


Heiko's impressions:

1. Tumbler

    Nose: Where's the orange?!? Smells like a mix of exotic fruits and alcohol
    Taste: Nearly no (typical) orange taste, decent sweetness, oak wood's more intensive, lacks some "body"... a bit weak, like diluted with water
    Aftertaste: Long lasting pleasant sweetness


2. Nosing glass

    Nose: Very intensive orange aroma, creamy, some vanilla, hints of marzipan
    Taste: Bitter-sweet taste, intensive orange aroma, hints of oak wood, fat and creamy, liquor-like
    Aftertaste: Everlasting, pleasant sweetness... not as sticky as many other molasses-based rums


Resumee: More complexity with the nosing glass… it seems more complex especially in the nose and the aftertaste…

Rating: Tumbler : Nosing glass – 0 : 2


Let's go ahead with a very extreme Whisky, the Octomore Orpheus. Peat level is 140 ppm and it has been finished in Chateau Petrus Casks which promises to be a very interesting combination.

Octomore Orpheus 02.2, 61.0 %

Ralf's impressions:

1. Tumbler

    Nose: biting in the nose, some peat and tar after a while but still covered by some unpleasant notes of intensive alcohol
    Taste: Sweet and oily at the first sip, then the peat comes like a hammer out of a sudden!
    Aftertaste: Smoke and fire… like scorched earth with a good portion of chili which lasts very long


2. Nosing glass

    Nose: Smell is more intensive than in the tumbler and not biting (phenolic), intensive smell of smoke, peat and tar… but also a decent fruity sweetness, aroma reminding of an empty wine cask (wet wood, slightly sour ? in a pleasant way)
    Taste: fruity sweetness, some wine, tender notes of smoke and tar…
    Aftertaste: Now there’s the peat! Chili, peat and charcoal… very, very long finish…


Heiko's impressions:

1. Tumbler

    Nose: PEAT!!! with some nose-biting alcohol
    Taste: Peat and charcoal, no sweetness but just peat, alcohol is less intensive than in the nose, lacks the complexity
    Aftertaste: Long and peaty with some black pepper


2. Nosing glass

    Nose: Peat, sweetness.... sweetness, peat... charcoal, wine vinegar
    Taste: CHARCOAL AND PEAT!! A massive attack on the taste buds... then the sweetness of the wine is risin up, coatin the mouth; orange and almond, peat and tar are present all the time.
    Aftertaste: Very, very long and warming... a real monster!!


Resumee: Much better in the nosing glass for both of us, more harmony, more complexity. It’s definetly a very extreme dram… but you should’ve tried it.

Rating: Tumbler : Nosing glass – 0 : 2


Now it's time for some Macallan... Fine Oak 12 yo.

Macallan Fine Oak 12 yo.

Ralf's impressions:

1. Tumbler

    Nose: lacking some body, very weak; slight notes of sweetness and some phenols, spicy, hints of wood and vanilla
    Taste: dried fruits and vanilla-like sweetness with some hints of wood
    Aftertaste: Long aftertaste in the mouth with some more woody notes and some peppery acridity


2. Nosing glass

    Nose: very intensive with a subtle sweetness of raisins and vanilla, complex, woody spiciness, I can smell the influence of the Sherry cask
    Taste: well balanced and harmonic with some pleasant bitter aromas, decent sweetness of dried fruits, very intensive and complex
    Aftertaste: Very long in the mouth... especially the sweetness remains for a long time and it ends up again with some peppery notes...


Heiko's impressions:

1. Tumbler

    Nose: Oak wood, decent spiciness
    Taste: Malt, wood, notes of bitter orange, a bit mouth drying
    Aftertaste: Malty and spicy... longer in the mouth than with the nosing glass


2. Nosing glass

    Nose: Malt and cereals, ripe apples, well balanced
    Taste: Sweet, malty, some caramel, marshmallows?, hints liquorice and toast
    Aftertaste: Short with some malt and roasted nuts, short but very complex


Resumee: We both agree that the nosing glass is the better choice for this drink. The difference in taste and aftertaste is really impressing.

Rating: Tumbler : Nosing glass – 0 : 2


Let's go now with the Spiritueux de Cannelle from Metté... cinnamon... one of the crazy things you can get there.

Spiritueux de Cannelle

Ralf's impressions:

1. Tumbler

    Nose: sweet smell of cinnamon attacks the nose (too intensive), seems very “alcoholic”
    Taste: Perfume-like cinnamon taste, artificial, very intensive taste, unpleasant notes of chili (too intensive)
    Aftertaste: Not very long with an unpleasant acridity which makes room for the cinnamon


2. Nosing glass

    Nose: smell is much more pleasant, very gentle in the nose, intensive smell of cinnamon (but not artificial), some sour notes
    Taste: intensive sweetness and later a pleasant taste of cinnamon
    Aftertaste: Longer than before… less acridity and a pleasant aroma of cinnamon


Heiko's impressions:

1. Tumbler

    Nose: Strong smell of alcohol, smells like a cheap spirit…
    Taste: Alcohol and cinnamon in a very unpleasant combination, perfume
    Aftertaste: It’s gone immediately… hrm…


2. Nosing glass

    Nose: Pleasant and intensive aroma of cinnamon
    Taste: Less intensive taste of cinnamon than expected (positive), pleasant sweetness
    Aftertaste: Long and sweet


Resumee: In this case the nosing glass is definitely the winner, the tumbler destroys all the fine aromas in this extreme spirit.

Rating: Tumbler : Nosing glass – 0 : 2


And last but not least... Montecristo Edmundo Dantes Añejo 15 yo. Rum.

Montecristo Edmundo Dantes Añejo 15 yo

Ralf's impressions:

1. Tumbler

    Nose: at first some really alcoholic smell, later: notes of melasse, rock candy (very intensive), vanilla, honey and wood
    Taste: sweet-spicy mix, complex, well-balanced and harmonic, oily, explicit woody aroma
    Aftertaste: very long sweetness of melasse, decent bitterness of almonds and some acridity (chilli?), liquorice’s comin to my mind


2. Nosing glass

    Nose: It seems some kinda “sealed”, it smells definitely different, some melasse and rock candy, some rubber (?)
    Taste: same taste like before with the tumbler
    Aftertaste: same as before with the Tumbler… but in this case I’m missing the liquorice…


Heiko's impressions:

1. Tumbler

    Nose: Very alcoholic with some hints of sweetness, wood, vanilla
    Taste: Hints of spices and wood, some sweetness in the background, very pleasant and well balanced
    Aftertaste: Wood and bitterness of almonds


2. Nosing glass

    Nose: Molasse sweetness, exotical spices, fresh roasted coffee
    Taste: Vanilla, oak wood, dried fruits, pleasant sweetness, hints of caramell
    Aftertaste: Very long sweet fruityness


Resumee: Ralf prefers the Tumbler with the Montecristo Rum…. for me it's a draw… the taste was different for me with both glasses but I cannot say that one was “better” than another.

Rating: Tumbler : Nosing glass – 2 : 1


Overall rating

For me the nosing glass was the winner in 5 cases, 1 was a draw. This means 6 points for the nosing glass and 1 point for the tumbler.

For Ralf the nosing glass was the winner in 5 cases, the tumbler in 1 case. This means 5 points for the nosing glass and 1 point for the tumbler.

In the end we have 11 points for the nosing glass, 2 points for the tumbler. The nosing glass is the better solution in most of the cases, so in general you go better with this one… but on the other hand the tumbler can be also good choice for some drinks.

4 comments:

  1. AyeAye.
    I believe that the type of drinking vessel has a massive influence over the enjoyment of whether your drinking, Beer,Spirits,Wine and even with Tea & Coffee.
    And the same may be said for the Ashtray for Cigars.
    Steve

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh yeah... the influence of the ashtray on the taste of a cigar is totally underrated... I agree...

    ReplyDelete
  3. ive always thought this way. Very nice writing Heiko

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thx Ahmed... it was a very interesting experiment...

    ReplyDelete