F. Paul Pacult is the publisher of Spirit Journal and a recognized expert in the field. The man tastes eight liquors every morning—when he says his palate is at its best—and has reviewed thousands of spirits in his illustrious, booze-soaked career. And at Tales of the Cocktail on Thursday, Pacult led a seminar on how to taste spirits.
Before taking a whiff or sip from the six glasses in front of us, Pacult walked us through his tasting process, which includes the following rules:
1. Don’t think too much, and let your senses talk to you. We all eat food, so we already know how to gauge whether or not we like something.
2. Follow the same format each time. This helps to build a memory library from which you can recall spirits at a later date.
3. When possible, taste blind.
4. Identify a spirit by first eliminating what you know it isn’t.
5. Don’t overtax your palate. Pacult tastes no more than eight spirits per day, but this number varies by individual.
Other takeaways from the seminar –
– Pacult thinks that smell is the most powerful sense and resource, and more helpful than taste when evaluating spirits.
– He likes to swirl his glass before taking a sip, but notes that some experts believe this puts out too many aromas at one time.
– Pacult does not like Bluecoat Gin. At all.
– “The scientific term for Jameson Gold is yummy.”
– “Gin is such a lovely invention. There’s the wheel, and then there’s gin.”