One of my favorite follows on the internet is a guy by the name of @TheWhiskeyJug. I met him on a trip down the Wild Turkey distillery last year, and he’s one of the nicest, most knowledgable people I’ve ever met.
We drink a lot of the same shit, and I’m always blown away by his reviews. Just look at what he recently had to say about my favorite spirit, Wild Turkey’s Rare Breed.
When I taste that shit — and I love that shit — I get booze and whiskey, and that’s about it. I can’t discern subtle flavors, or minor hints, or little notes, or any of the what not.
Thankfully, almost no one else can, either, so don’t feel bad the next time you go to a tasting and don’t get leather and vanilla and toffee.
A new study by Drexel University found that the average American is unable to tell even the most basic difference in whiskey apart: what is bourbon and what is rye
[A] new study from a Drexel University food scientist shows the average consumer cannot discriminate between the two flavors.
[Jacob Lahne, PhD, an assistant professor in the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management,] presented 21 study participants with trays of 10 anonymized whiskeys — five bourbons and five ryes — in random order. They were instructed to smell but not taste the alcohol. This method is in accordance with published guidelines for Scotch whisky evaluation.
The participants were then asked to organize the whiskeys into no fewer than two and no more than nine groups, by any criteria they wished.
[Lahne] found, in a blind sorting task of American ryes and bourbons, participants were more likely to group together products by brand rather than type of whiskey.
So you’d be able to say that’s Michter’s and that’s Michter’s, but not, that’s the Michter’s Single Barrel and that’s the Rye. That said, just because you aren’t able to discern what is what doesn’t make you a bad drinker. No, not at all. Frankly, I’m a great drinker, and I would have SUCKED at this experiment. The Smithsonian agrees:
What this study indicates is not that Americans are bad at drinking whiskey. It’s more an indication that our groupings for bourbon versus rye are not necessarily the most helpful in conveying anything about the whiskey itself. After all, some bourbons have rye content very close to a rye whiskey; Jim Beam, for example, makes a “high rye” bourbon. And some ryes, like the High West Double Rye, have pretty high concentrations of corn (that one has 37 percent corn).
Right so fuck with your bullshit of an old-fashioned must must must be made with rye. It should be made with booze. That’s all that matters.
Oh, and follow The Whiskey Jug. He knows what the fuck he’s talking about, even if the average person doesn’t.