Paralyze your taste buds to enjoy whisky?

by Oliver Klimek on August 13, 2009

In the German TWS whisky forum there is currently a debate about the best way to enjoy the new peat monster from Ardbeg, the Supernova. I have not tasted it before, but the discussion highlights a point that I think is imortant to whisky tasting in general.

One user came up with this idea to get the best out of the Supernova: Before tasting, you have to cool down your mouth with iced water “until your tooth fillings are hurting”. Then drink it quickly (but not gulp it down) withought letting it stay in your mouth too long. This way, the strong peat would not totally dominate the other aromatic components in the whisky.

Two things struck me immediately:

1. He only ever tasted one 2 cl sample and decided to use the aforementioned method. How can you possibly say that this method works best when you haven’t tried it in a normal fashion before?

2. Freezing your mouth paralyzes your tastebuds. If a whisky tastes best with handicapped tastebuds, what does this mean for the quality of the whisky? Is this the way it should be or does this mean the whisky is flawed?

As mentioned before, I have not tasted the Supernova myself (yet), so I can’t comment on the success of the iced water method. But I would be interested to read your comments on this topic.

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