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Gin Tasting Wheel

31/10/2014
Written by Gin Foundry

Before we talk about our innovative and beautifully textured Tasting Wheel – please indulge us a little and allow us to explain why we set out to create it in the first place.

Try to imagine the colour purple. Deep purple. Picture it in your mind’s eye. Now picture a vivid pink. Seriously – try it for a second before reading on. Lastly picture something violet-coloured, in-between the two shades you previously had created. It’s a relatively easy exercise that most people find simple to do. We all get taught about colours as children and our vocabulary to describe them is – even if you might not think so when considering your own – quite advanced. It’s amazing to think that the words magenta, mauve and indigo are all things that a majority of adults would be able to visualize or at least feel like it’s possible to attempt. Colour is also something that is uniform. There is common consensus over what’s blue and what’s green. The lines may get blurred sometimes but for the most part, we all agree that the sky isn’t green and the trees inky purple and we all know how to picture similar colours to one another.

Taste and smell is however something that is much harder to imagine, let alone contextualize in words and share with those around you. Many authors have gone to great lengths to depict the aroma of a scene, form fetid stenches to alluring wafts of seductive perfume. However, for the great majority of people, words escape them when they try and articulate what they are smelling and fail to pin point it to a particular thing. We’re never taught how to smell and often, it’s overlooked all together. Try the same exercise as above but swap out colour for flavour. Imagine a lavender smell (something that as a colour is often deep purple). Really try to recall the oily, almost soapy lavender invading your nostrils. Not that easy! Now imagine inhaling rose perfume or a bouquet of Bulgarian roses. Again, not that easy when they are not in-front of you. Now try envisioning something in-between the two – freshly cut violets. Depicting the three it’s similar to the colour trio above but when trying to imagine the smell and taste, it’s much more difficult.

This is particularly true when tasting spirits and trying to discern individual notes amongst a bouquet of others. Other than adjusting to the level of alcohol in the glass which can mask some of the senses, it’s not something we are used to doing frequently. When it comes to tasting, your nose and flavour map is something that needs to be trained and actively developed in order to improve.

After encountering this issue time and time again at tastings we’ve hosted, we decided to put together a little guide to help people describe flavours. We charted out the most commonly used botanicals in gin and placed them a few degrees apart, separated by their flavours. We then marked out wider flavours areas as opposed to specific ingredients and started to add in adjectives to describe the intensity and particularities as well. We found that moments where someone previously got an overarching flavour by themselves, by using the wheel they could start to describe it better and narrow down to exactly what they were tasting in gin. More importantly they could articulate why they were enjoying it and what they would be looking out for in a gin as a result – or even understand which garnish to use in their next G&T!

Based off the early versions, we’ve improved, refined and designed the wheel to the point where we are finally happy to share it with everyone. We’ve printed it on beautiful, thick, textured paper stock and the result is something worthy of being framed and mounted to the wall. We hope that you enjoy it and find it a good addition to your future tastings. More importantly – we hope you find it a useful tool in discovering the complexities of gin and helps you on your journey of discovery to find which suits you best.

Click HERE if you’d like to buy your Gin Tasting Wheel now!