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My wife is a scotch expert. She hosts tastings where they taste scotch of three different ages. It used to be that after the tasting, most people would rate the oldest one the best. She then started to do blind tastings (tasters didn't know the age). Now the oldest is picked as the best around 30% of the time.



yeah; i'm in chile where the supply of scotch is limited, so i've started drinking the local hooch, called pisco, which is a kind of brandy. there are quite a few aged piscos available (the economy here is pretty good and people are starting to have more disposable income). as i tried a few i noticed that the ones in nice bottles, aged for longer (and more expensive), were noticeably more complex. eventually i had enough different bottles to arrange a blind tasting (my partner did the pouring etc; i was blindfold as they have different shades). the results were amazing - my rating was all over the map and completely inconsistent with what i was expecting. yet still, when i can see the bottles, the expensive ones taste better :o)

tl;dr: brain - why are you so shallow?

[in my defense, my proudest wine moment was when i bought a bottle of cousino macul cs on offer, took it home, tasted it, and thought it amazing (for the price). when i checked my receipt i had picked up the reserve (not on sale, twice the price) by mistake... (their labels were very similar a year or two ago)]


When I am trying a new whisky or brandy, I like to have a pour of something I know, so I have a reference point. I have found that time of day, outside temperature, what I am eating or have eaten, etc. really affects how much I am enjoying the drink. Of course the main point of the article is that while we think we are just using the current observation (the data), we often have strong priors that often dominate our posteriors ;)


Hehe - only 30%? I see...




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