Three Weeks of Tasting, Guesswork and Amusement

Three weeks of...

Some of you might have noticed the countdown clock that I placed on the WhiskyWobbles homepage since a few days. Don’t panic! It is not counting down to the end of the world, in contrast, it is the beginning of the 4th edition of the Whisky ProefOlympics 2018. Organised since 2015 by fellow whisky enthusiast Norbert Terbarts as a yearly competition for selected whisky enthusiasts in the Netherlands and Flanders. This year’s edition will involve 85 contestants, and as you might have guessed, luckily I am one of them! During three weeks we will have to taste 18 different samples, of which 15 will be single malt Scotch and 3 (every Wednesday) a mystery dram, meaning everything except single malt Scotch. Each day the deadline will be at 22.00 (GMT+1) to fill in the region, distillery, age and alcohol percentage for a particular sample (except for Sundays). A few weeks ago, I received the box with the samples:

You can imagine that my curiosity and enthusiasm made it difficult to wait until the beginning on Monday June 11th. Also because of the vast amount of samples combined with my fairly limited tasting experience, I slowly commenced my journey into this competition. A quick survey that involved nosing and tasting a few drops of each sample already lead to much confusion. So many possibilities, so little information! This overwhelming experience might have lead to a slight drop in my positive approach, but obviously I did not give up. I started with a more extensive tasting of the first few samples, and I have some more ideas about them. Well, at least I think I have. Monday will reveal the first of the answers that will either expose my incapability, luck or who knows some knowledge. At least I can’t wait for it to start. As is the motto of this competition: 

To participate is more important than to win.

Picture from ProefOlympics Facebook page

You can follow the competition (in Dutch) on Facebook, however, you need to apply for membership of the group. In any case, you can follow my proceedings in the competition on this website. Cheers and write to soon!

Addition: After completing the 18 samples of the competition, my overall conclusion was that is has been a wonderful experience. I have learned more about whisky (and a little more about myself). My preconceptions were certainly not always corrected, well most of the time they were not, but during the competition I certainly improved. This was mostly due to the fact that I started to follow and trust my senses more, instead of following logic or my first hunch. Those latter have proved my wrong several times in the beginning, which cost me points. Nevertheless, the experience provided much enjoyment with fellow tasters, and I even ended up on the 14th place (out of 80). Next year I will certainly give it another try!