Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tasting Spirits to Really Get the Most from Them

    How do you taste rum and really get anything out of the tasting?   I hear people tell me that they first sniff then put it into their mouths and swallow.  When I watch the people that I serve at a tasting, the majority just slam it back and wonder why they don’t get much out of it.   I’m of the conclusion that these are the people that also think “Captain Morgan” is great sipping rum.   Rum like any other quality spirit is a very special entity, that takes some time and interest by the taster to really understand and enjoy.
The Neat Spirit Tasting Glass
     First of all, you need to be in a place where you are comfortable and undistracted.  To properly enjoy a good spirit, you first must be interested and not just going through the motions.  You also need proper glassware to allow you to take in the aroma of the spirit without being over whelmed by the alcohol that is hovering at the top of an improper glass.   The “Neat Glass is a good example of a glass that will allow the alcohol to flow away and allow you to take in the aroma of the spirit without being overcome by the alcohol fumes.
     When I start the evaluation my first step is to hold it up to the light where I can observe the color and the clarity of the spirit.  Color is a big part of the appeal of a good quality spirit.  Next is the taking in of the aroma of the spirit.  Aroma is a huge part of your tasting sensors.  You taste by somewhere around 75% aroma and 25% actual passing of the spirit across the taste buds in your mouth.  For this reason, I like to move directly from sniffing the aroma to taking a very small sip of the spirit that I allow to roll across my tongue and the rest of my
mouth.  Taking enough time to allow the flavors to fully develop in the mouth will give you a good basis for evaluating all the flavors the rum is providing.
     Next, I slowly swallow the sample to see how it goes through the rear of my mouth and down the throat.  This will lead me to how the flavors finish and linger before fading away.  If you then sit and savor the total experience you’ll really understand why you do or don not like the expression.  Before repeating the tasting be sure to cleanse the palate with water.
     It has been my experience that if you follow these steps and take some time to enjoy and truly experience a spirit you will find that there are a number of really fine spirits out there that you may have passed over because you weren’t taking the time to fully sense the expression.  Give this method a try I think you will be surprised how much more you get out of tasting spirits.