Systematic Approach to Tasting
Always check the WSET website to make sure you have the correct SAT. The textbook and CAG can be out of date.
The markers are excepting you to use this - NO EXCUSES. This needs to be followed down to the T. Not following the SAT is the easiest way to loose marks in your exam. As soon as you sit down for your tasting write down a the SAT so you do not forget anything!
Write the following letters down to remind yourself !
F(length and nature)
clarity - 0 (have to state)
intensity - 1
colour - 1
other - 1* (only aniseed)
Total - 2/3
Clarity - most are clear or bright. I highly doubt a hazy or dull spirit will be given in the tasting exam
Colour - colour sources come from oak, caramel, natural or artificial colourings
Clear water-white colourless spirits
Gin and Genever
Gold and Amber spirits > intensity ranging from pale-medium-deep
Brandies (Cognac, Armagnac, Jerez)
Other - louching (aniseed spirits)
Clean - O
Intensity - 1
Aromas - 5
Maturation - 1
Total - 7 marks
I think a clean spirit will always be given in an exam.
Intensity - 1 mark
Neutral > be used for VODKA
Aromas - 5 marks
If the spirit is brown - key their is oak. You should write down oak derived aromas
Oak > spice, char, sawdust, toast, coffee, sherry, cedar
Neutral spirits eg Vodka - marks are gained for stating the simplicity of the aroma!
Up to 5 marks for aromas > write down 5!
pear drop, lemon, aniseed, turpentine > state they are neutral!
botanicals ! > juniper, pine, lavender, citrus peel, coriander etc
Tequila blanco aromas
peppery, citrus, green beans, aniseed, apple, pear
vanilla, almond, oak, honey, sweet melon, butterscotch, brown sugar
Grape brandies - Cognac and Armagnac
dried fruits and floral, vanilla from wood
always state grain! cereal, porridge aromas, possible peat = iodine
White - Molasses, apricot, pear, banana, mango, papaya, citrus, fig, fruity, orange blossom, jasmine, herbal, mint, grassy, nutty
Dark - banana, roasted nuts, coconut, caramel, vanilla
Maturation - 1 mark
Colour less spirits - UNAGED !
Short-aged > Reposado Tequila
Aged briefly, oak flavours not too much development
Matured > VS, VSOP Cognac, Whiskies, Calvados, Rum
oak aromas are integrated into the aroma profile
Very aged > XO Cognac
rancio notes - mushrooms, fruitcake, decaying leaves, wood polish
Sweetness - 1
Other - 1
Flavour Intensity - 1
Flavour Characteristics - 3
Length - 1
Nature - 1
Total marks - 9
Sweetness - nearly all are dry !
Alcohol - some unaged spirits can seem harsh (vodka) majority will be warming
Body - think of richness, weight and viscosity.
unaged, white spirits are usually light, save medium and full for aged.
Other - comment on the tannin integration or texture of the spirit
Flavour intensity - concentration of flavour on the palate
Flavour characters - name 3, remember oak.
Finish - comment on the length and nature
Length - short / medium / long
Simple - white, unaged spirits
Some complexity - VS Cognac, Tequila Reposado, Blended Scotch, premium Gin
Very complex - layers of flavour eg XO Cognac
6 or 7 marks depending on if the extra mark was allocated
in the appearance section
Simply state the quality - faulty - poor - acceptable - good - very good
I do not think a faulty or poor spirit will be given in the exam
What is your reason ?????
balance (dominated by alcohol or wood)
finish (too short)
expressiveness (raw material)
In context - READ THE QUESTION, not sure where all the paper it will be, top or bottom. Sometimes are specific question is asked and you do not need to discuss the spirit in context.
Past examples of questions
"How method of production accounts for the style"
"How raw material is processed prior to distillation"
"How maturation influence the style/aroma
If NOT follow SAT
Country of Origin
Style within category > give reason why
Method of production > give reason why