This weeks blog is about every individuals unique palate and how it is honed. What makes your palate the way it is and what can you do to increase the range of flavors to develop your palates’ experience?
Stretching your palate and broadening your flavor profile will bring you a lot more pleasure as you delve ever deeper into the world of Whisky.
You’ve all heard the saying “Stop and Smell the Roses” and in fact some of you may own Ringo Star’s album… if you’re as long in the tooth as I am. This is a much broader and more important statement in terms of your life. If applied to whisky, it has a more immediate impact.
Some of you reading this blog will have sat through one of the many whisky classes that I have facilitated over the years (thanks by the way) and I have on many occasions talked about “Mango theory”. Smelling roses and eating Mango have a lot in common.
We all start life with a clean slate and through circumstances, upbringing and culture are honed into the individual that sits reading this today.
Where does the Mango come into it? Born and raised in Australia, I experienced Mango as a luscious ripe and full flavored fruit. Now living in Calgary for 12 years, my Mango experience has been lessened somewhat. Green, under-ripe, early picked expressions are shipped North to find their way to market shelves. Those born and raised in Calgary paying an eyebrow raising amount for these exotic palm sized versions would be wondering what all the fuss is about. If I were to pick a fresh Aussie Mango and wave it over the top of the latest batch to hit supermarket shelves, instilling just the barest essence of what it should deliver, I would have accomplished the same task.
Growing up in Calgary and never traveling you would have a very specific set of palate memory on what “Mango” constitutes in your library of flavors. It would be completely removed from mine.
Taste and smell are the two most important senses for building memory. The more you work at trying as many different flavors as you can, the more you will not only expand your range of enjoyable whiskies but you will also notice an appreciation for subtle flavors that you did not pick up on before.
Think of your palate like you would your body… work it out!
With continual exercise, working out, and challenges, your body will become fitter, more sharply honed and able to perform. Your palate is the same. Given the sugar orientated North American diet, most of us will have flabby, lazy palates used to only a tiny range of flavors and unable to comprehend much beyond those self inflicted borders.
So I challenge you, if you want to experience a wider range of flavors and enjoy the immense diversity that whisky/ey has to offer, step out of your comfort zone. Throw away those old foundational beliefs and absolutes and open yourself to possibilities that you have not yet imagined.
” Stop and Smell the Roses” and if you can’t get a tropical ripe Mango expand your palate in other ways. Don’t always order the same thing on the menu when on your weekly date night (another topic). Dare to be disappointed and take a risk.
The number one regret for those that are retired is that they did not take more risks.
Make a commitment as we continue on this journey, that you will pledge yourself to be a risk-taker, smell-er and taster of life.
What is your unique tasting experience, where you have discovered that all tastes are not created equal?
Have you had an “AHA” moment?
Share them below in the comments so that I can add them to my bucket list for new experiences to seek out.
Next week my blog is entitled “Water, Water Everywhere but not a Drop to Drink” – I delve into whisky and water, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
“Huli Pau!” (Hawaiian for Cheers)