The Whiskey Explorers Club from Doug Stone’s ForWhiskeyLovers.com is a blind flight tasting club that we’ve been following since its inception. Tasting whisk(e)y when you have no real clue what it is you’re drinking is absolutely essential to honing your nosing and tasting skills. It’s essential because the power of suggestion and human bias exert amazing influence over our judgments, and tasting blind makes you aware of that fact in a hurry.
I’ve waxed a bit philosophical about the WEC in the past, and all of those thoughts still hold true with respect to the WEC’s latest iteration. The main change has to do with the My Whisk(e)yIQ game that is part of the online process of nosing and tasting through the whisk(e)y. The game is new and improved, with the entire interface being much more accessible and interactive (with more graphics as part of that interactive interface). I found the number of descriptors one has to run through for the nose and the mouth to be a bit too high, but then again, as you might be able to tell from our rating system, we ascribe to the view that many of the particulars of nosing and tasting are rather subjective. Having a smaller number of descriptors to identify–and perhaps ones that are more general–would streamline the game, it seems to me. But I should note that this complaint applied to earlier iterations of the game as well, and if anything, the number of choices has been cut down a bit in the latest version. Still, the game forces you to be attentive to all the right things and gives you an opportunity to guess the whisky in question and to guess its price. On the guessing front, I was wrong on two of the four–and in one case, crazy wrong–and that just underscores the point about how essential it is, whether you’re aspiring to be an expert or, like me, mired in Impostordom. I have to say that I really enjoy the part where you get to guess the expression and the price. It’s easily my favorite aspect of the game.
The expressions are interesting and varied, including one in this case that we have not reviewed, which is both pretty cool and pretty hard to do in our case. For the whisky aficionado, the Whiskey Explorers Club offers the unique opportunity to do guided blind tastings, and ones that you can do alone or with another person. Just be prepared to be humbled.