How We Taste
Tasting and evaluating products is the most valuable thing we have at Seelbach's. Once it's listed on our site you can guarantee it meets our level of quality. Every bottle may not be for everyone. We rigorously research, taste, debate (and sometimes argue) over each product. Last year we developed the Seelbach's Tasting Wheel to help condense the amount of information in each review. Here's how we thing about our tasting notes.
The Seelbach's Whiskey Flavor Wheel (or spider graph) is something that our team developed over the past four years. I've noticed that tasting notes can inconsistent. Even when I write them myself. During reviews we would debate whether a whiskey was caramel sweet or vanilla sweet. The wheel was our way to eliminate unnecessary nuance. Plus, some tasting notes can be down right obnoxious.
I love reading different whiskey bloggers. Until I come across a tasting note like sandalwood or marzipan. I have no idea what either tastes like. For Seelbach's extremely specific and subjective tasting notes aren't beneficial. It doesn't help our customers make informed decision. Seelbach's continued to add tasting notes to each product listing. These reviews help paint the story of the whiskey. Included in each review will also be our flavor wheel. This is a better predictor for "if" you will enjoy a whiskey! Fee free to download a copy here.
Seelbach's Flavor Wheel Scale:
1 - Flavor is non-existent
2 - Flavor is light or or barley noticeable
3 - Flavor is balanced and well represented
4 - Flavor is strong and a dominant portion of the overall profile
5 - Flavor is overpowering and out of balance
This graph is used to rate a whiskey on the six most predominant flavor notes. In general, a whiskey's flavor falls into these categories. Grading it from 1-5 makes it easier to understand. The score of 1 is the lowest and 5 as the highest. If a whiskey is filled with Oak notes that border on overpowering, that would be a 5. A good balance is 3-4. Too light or non-existent is 1-2. This graph is to simplify the whiskey grading process.
A balanced whiskey is usually a grade of 3-4 in at least four of the six categories (Fruit/Floral, Sweet, Spice, Herbal, Grain, and Oak/Tannins). Rarely will a whiskey grade above a 3 in all six categories. That is because a lot of notes are mutually exclusive. Because oak and tannins usually develop with age that will overshadow a lot of the fruit and floral notes.
Seelbach's Tasting Team:
Blake Riber @bourbonr
Dee Jones-Reid @deestilled