I've always been incredibly curious about blind taste tests, for anyone that doesn't know this is when you taste a bunch of bourbon without knowing exactly what you are consuming, so that preconceived ideas, hype, etc... are taken out of the equation and a bourbon is based purely off of it's qualities.
I've messed around with mini blind taste tastings for myself and another friend, which have been a fun experience. Those small tastings were to get an idea of what I planned to taste for the future, consisting of only 2-4 different options.
A friend and myself came up with the idea of doing a much larger scale blind taste test, with a much larger selection.
In order for me to be able to do the tasting with everyone else, I changed a couple things up from a normal blind taste tasting, I picked12 bourbons. My fiance then randomly selected 8 of those, so i didn't know which ones were chosen. I poured a bunch into 8 different containers, which I then used to fill up sample bottles.
She wrote down which numbers belonged to which bottle, so that once the tasting was finished I was able to look at the sheet and announce to everyone which bottle belonged to each number. This worked out really well.
Note: If you do this method of using sample bottles, please invest in a small measuring cup and funnel, it makes pouring half ounce pours a lot easier.
The first of many tastings took place over two different Friday nights, as there were plenty of people and with it being December, the group was split on which night to do it on. The great part is that the first group happened to involve a lot of experienced bourbons drinkers with the second group being made up of more inexperienced drinkers - allowing for interesting results and a fun experience for both groups.
Above is what our tasting sheet looked like. Shout out to my design artist for the great sheet, if anyone wants a scorecard/tasting sheet made up reach out to Fallon Greer HERE: She is also the individual who designed my logo, she's amazing at what she does. Definitely reach out to her.
Now for the part that you actually care about, the results.
The results are based off of a total of 20 points, with a potential of 1 to 5 points coming from each of four different categories: aroma, taste, complexity, and finish. The lowest potential score a bourbon could receive is a 5 and the highest would be a 20.
Top Choices By Average Numbers:
1) 2017 Michter's 10yr Bourbon - 14.08
2) 2017 Rock Hill Farms - 14
3) 2016 Rebel Yell 10yr Bourbon - 13
4) Makers 46 - 12.17
5) Old Grand Dad 114 - 11.92
6) Eliajh Craig NAS (No Age Statement) - 11.83
7) Russell's Reserve 10yr - 11.33
8) Wild Turkey 101 - 10.5
1) 2017 Michter's 10yr Bourbon - 14.64
2) 2016 Rebel Yell 10yr Bourbon - 12.36
3) Makers 46 - 12.36
4) Elijah Craig NAS (No Age Statement) - 12.27
5) Old Grand Dad 114 - 10.45
6) Wild Turkey 101 - 10.36
7) 2017 Rock Hill Farms - 9.91
8) Russell's Reverse 10yr - 8.82
1) 2017 Michter's 10yr Bourbon - 14.34
2) 2016 Rebel Yell 10yr Bourbon - 12.69
3) Makers 46 - 12.26
4) Rock Hill Farms - 12.043
5) Elijah Craig NAS (No Age Statement) - 12.043
6) Old Grand Dad 114 - 11.22
7) Wild Turkey 101 - 10.43
8) Russell's Reserve 10yr - 10.13
Take Aways from the Results:
1) 2017 Michter's 10yr Bourbon (Yes I realized I typed it incorrect on the info. graph) was the favorite for both groups. In the more experienced group, it slightly edged out Rock Hill Farms, 14.08 to 14. The interesting part is how much of a blowout it had with the second group, beating out 2016 Rebel Yell 10yr Bourbon 14.35 to 12.7.
2) Rock Hill Farms, which I've reviewed before HERE received 6 out of 12 nods as people's top pick in Group 1, and only slightly losing out to Michter's 10yr Bourbon as the favorite by average score. It's lowest 3 numbers were 9, 11, and 13. In Group 2 however, it scored 6 different times below 10 points, with the lowest 3 being a 6, 7 and 8, and didn't receive a single nod as anybody's top selection. My only theory could be the differences in palates among more experienced bourbon drinkers vs beginners. Most in the first group really enjoyed the spices of RHF, but it was dismissed quickly by the second group.