WSET Diploma Level Unit 4 Spirits Tasting Practice II

朋友A的Spirits考試漸漸的迫近眉睫,在朋友A完成assignment後,事隔差不多一個月後,又再開始第二次的tasting練習了。

今次多了兩位新朋友參加,其中B之前有參加過我安排的sparkling wine tasting練習,而tasting的成績也考了個distinction,但依然未能合格,有點可惜。

今次同樣預備了兩個flights,但一開始就先來個回顧,再次問他們有甚麼spirits是透明的。之後再問他們有甚麼spirits是有顏色的。大家一路的數至whisky時就簡單的說”whisky”了,就提醒他們有甚麼類型的whisky。的確,如果在考試盲品時只估樣本是whisky是沒有分數的,當考生平日習慣了思考有甚麼類型的whisky或spirits,就自然會留意她的flavour profiles,到考試時就更會有把握,如果對樣本沒有頭緒時,也可以用淘汰的方式將沒有可能的種類除了,再思考剩餘下來的可能性,最後就算是靠估,中的機會也會大增。

Flight 1

1. Marker’s Mark Bourbon Whisky 45% abv

Marker's Mark Bourbon Whisky

Marker’s Mark Bourbon Whisky

Appearance

Bright and clear with medium amber color with legs

Nose

Clear with medium intensity aromas of citrus fruits(orange, tangerine, lemon), orchard fruit (apricot ), sweetness(corn, vanilla, syrup, methol, caramel, toffee, honey), kernel(hazelnut), herbs(mint), spice(cinnamon). It brings out more varnish and more intense apricot after added water.  It is matured.

Palate

Off dry with warming alcohol, medium body, creamy texture, medium flavour intensity of citrus fruit (lemon, tangerine), sweetness (corn, vanilla), oak(smoky, toasty), spice (nutmeg, cinnamon), olive with medium length with some complexity finish.

Conclusions

It is very good quality spirits for standard priced market. It has intense flavour with very subtle sweetness and the warming alcohol to make it balanced. It has good complexity and reasonable length which lingered by sweetness and smoky. The nose, palate and finish are very much inline. A fuller body or longer length can make it target for higher priced market.

 

2. Jameson Triple Distilled Irish Whiskey 40% abv

Jameson Triple Distilled Irish Whiskey

Jameson Triple Distilled Irish Whiskey

Appearance

Bright and clear with deep gold color with legs.

Nose

Clear with medium intensity aroma of flower(orange blossom ), solvent(peardrop),  citrus fruits( grapefruit, tangerine), hint of sweetness(caramel). It brings out more peardrop after added water. It is matured.

Palate

Off dry with smooth alcohol, full body, creamy texture, medium tannin, light intensity flavour of citrus fruits(grapefruit, tangerine), flowers(orange blossom), herbs, spice(ginger, nutmeg, black pepper), oak(smoky) with medium length with some complexity and lingered by smoky, spicy.

Conclusions

It is a good spirits for inexpensive priced market. It has integrated flavours (subtle sweetness, oak flavour) which balanced by the smooth alcohol. It has good level of length but the fair complexity and rather light flavour intensity make it cannot be a better quality one.

 

3. Chivas Regal 12 years 45% abv

Chivas Regal 12 years

Chivas Regal 12 years

Appearance

Bright and clear with medium gold color with legs.

Nose

Clear with medium intensity aroma of cereal(barley, rye), orchard fruit(apricot), sweetness(caramel, toffee), kernel(almonds), citrus fruit(lemon). It brings out more orange aroma after added water. It is matured.

Palate

Dry with smooth alcohol, medium body, supple texture and medium intensity flavour of citrus( tangerine), oak(smoky, toasty, spicy), spice(ginger), dried fruit(peel), cereal(barley, rye) with medium length and with some complexity finish and lingered by spicy, smoky.

Conclusions

It is a very good quality spirits (blended Scotch whisky) for standard priced market with integrated flavour of (subtle sweetness, oak, cereal and fruit flavour) and balanced by smooth alcohol. It has good level of flavour concentration and shows typicality of blended Scotch whisky from its flavour profile. A longer finish can make it to target for higher priced market.

 

第一flight主要是Whisky,讓朋友們有機會一次比較幾隻不同又常考的Whisky品種,可以嘗試掌握各種whisky的特性,也有點像2012年6月的考試題目,不過題目的single malt Highland park 12 yo被我改為blended Scotch whisky Chivas Regal 12 yo。原因是我發現朋友們專飲靚spirits,飲single malt 的機會也會比較多,但我也提醒朋友們如果家中有single malt的也帶一支過來,不寫tasting note也可以作一比較,比較single malt味道的purify 。而帶來的竟然就是Highland park 12 yo。

 

Highland park 12 yo

Highland park 12 yo

Flight 2

4. Chabot Armagnac XO 40% abv

Chabot Armagnac XO

Chabot Armagnac XO

Appearance

Bright and clear with medium amber color with legs.

Nose

Clear with medium intensity aromas of oak (toast), sweetness( vanilla, caramel, honey, toffee), citrus fruit(lemon), orchard fruit(prune). It brings out more prune and honey aromas after added water. It is long aged.

Palate

Dry with smooth alcohol, medium body, creamy texture, medium intensity flavour of dried fruit(citrus peel), orchard fruit(prune), phenolic(earthly, smoky), spice( cinnamon, clove, nutmeg), sweetness(caramel, toffee, vanilla), oak(char, toasty), rancio(candied fruits) with medium length and some complexity finish lingered by honey, spicy, caramel, smoky.

Conclusions

It is very good quality spirits for super premium market. It shows typicality of Armagnac from its flavor profile (prune, earthy). The color, intense rancio flavors and highly integrated flavour showed it was long aged in barrel. It has smooth alcohol and intense flavour and integrated oak flavor with good level of complexity to make it well balanced. A longer finish can make to be target for higher quality spirits.

 

5. Christian Drouin Calvados Selection 40%

Christian Drouin Calvados Selection

Christian Drouin Calvados Selection

Appearance

Bright and clear with medium gold color with legs.

Nose

Clear with medium intensity aroma of orchard fruit(apple, pear), solvent(peardrop, varnish), floral, sweetness(honey, syrup), kernel(hazelnut). After added water, it brings out more apple aromas. It is short aged.

Palate

Off dry with smooth alcohol, medium body, supple texture, medium intensity flavour of orchard fruit(apple, pear), flower, spicy, honey, hazelnut, oak(coffee) with medium length and simple finish.

Conclusions

It is good quality spirits for standard priced market. It has integrated flavour of sweetness, oak and smooth alcohol to make it balanced. The lacking of complexity and rather simple finish to make it cannot be a better quality spirits.

 

6. Martell Cordon Bleu Extra Old Cognac 40%

Martell Cordon Bleu Extra Old Cognac

Martell Cordon Bleu Extra Old Cognac

Appearance

Bright and clear with medium mahogany color with legs.

Nose

Clear with medium intensity aroma of orchard fruit(plum), currant (black currant), spice(clove), citrus fruit(orange), dry fruits(apricot, citrus peel), rancio(candied fruits, mushroom),

sweetness(vanilla, caramel) , oak(toasty), flowers(violet, perfume). It brings out more plum, honey, dry fruits, orange and vanilla aroma after added water. It is long aged.

Palate

Dry with full body, creamy texture, smooth alcohol, pronounced flavour of orchard fruit(plum),  kernel(hazelnut), sweetness(vanilla, caramel, honey), rancio(candied fruit), phenolic(earthy), dried fruit(raisin, orange peel), spice(clove, black pepper), oak(coffee). Long length with very complex finish lingered by plum, spicy, orange peel, coffee.

Conclusions

It is outstanding quality Cognac for super premium market. It shows typicality of Cognac by its flavor profile (plum). It has flavours are complex, integrated with smooth alcohol to make it well balanced. It has dense body and long complex finish. The color, intense rancio flavors and highly integrated flavour showed it was long aged in barrel.

原本第二個flight是打算全brandy的,只不過買不到Spanish brandy才改為Calvado,而這兩支Armagnac和Cognac屬於super premium的種類其實並不適合tasting 練習之用,因為太貴的關係在考試時是不會考的。這只是同學家中有酒,不作浪費吧!

當中有同學提到學校老師說不要用integrated一詞,因為沒有意思,所有酒也integrated云云!而且的確在Spirits 中balance,length,concentration,complexity,expressiveness才是quality assessment要address的方向,但integrated代表了aging的時間也代表了質素,而且integrated一詞很普遍。加上我經常放在口邊的一句話”寫錯唔扣有分,唔寫一定無分”。

另外其中一位新朋友O因為還在上堂spirit堂,解答了我新SAT中price range的定義

  • Inexpensive < HKD200
  • Standard HKD200-350
  • Premium HKD350-500
  • Super premium > HKD500

最後提醒各位同學,無論考試的策略是主力是在tasting中拉分至合格,還是tasting,theory雙向發展,現在也是時間開始溫習theory了。

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