The life of a bourbon lover is first and foremost enjoyable. The entire process of anticipating, nosing, and tasting this wonderful golden fluid is an adventure to which enthusiasts await. We are in “this game” for the fun and intricate sensory experience of Bourbon. However, tasting can be complex and frustrating at times, in addition to enjoyable. Why would this be the case concerning this delightful amber liquid? The reason is the ever-changing palate of Bourbon drinkers.
The more you drink Bourbon, the faster your palate changes. You will begin to notice certain tastes more prominently. That can be good or bad. For instance, you may not be a fan of high rye Bourbons, yet your palate may become hyper-sensitive to rye or spice. Your tongue will begin to identify these things and their nuances in any whiskey that you drink. Conversely, it can be good when you begin to identify flavors (pear, caramel, vanilla, cinnamon) that previously you were unable to distinguish. This allows you to become a better critic of Bourbons. It is important to note that taste and flavor are not the same things and use different senses. Spiciness, saltiness, and sweetness in Bourbon are associated with taste or the tongue, while flavor is a little more complex and involves the sense of smell. So, if your smell receptors are compromised during allergy season, how you enjoy Bourbon will change.
Over time you will find that Bourbons you could not live without previously have become lackluster. They will not have the same wow factor they had early in your relationship. That is why it’s good to occasionally step away from certain favorites or go-to's because these whiskeys are the most susceptible to change. It may be good to stop drinking them for a few months and then circle back later. You may find that you may regain the love you once had for a particular Bourbon after time passes.
Yes, your palate will constantly evolve. Thus, Bourbon drinking is a journey that can be thrilling at times and uninspiring at others. This is normal, and this is the life of a bourbon enthusiast.