Tastings. Don't you just love them? Being able to try something new. Explore new bottles, new flavors, new stories?
I do too! I like meeting up with other whisky fans and aficionados and listen, taste and discuss.
However, two years of a social pauze (let's call it that) have led to some innovating ways to do those tastings. Namely: Online.
So, how does that work and what was my experience? Let me tell you!
the tasting set as presented on the mackmyra website
I just realized that this story, like most of my writings on this site, started online.
Once again, I was sitting on the couch in my living room, the wife watching some TV show and me browsing on my phone.
I think I read too much about whisky, because most of the advertisements targeting me are whisky related. As happened in this case.
I encountered an offer from Mackmyra. A Swedish distiller that has my interest for a while now. If I used a code, I got a discount on their Classic online tasting set.
Which is already fairly priced if you ask me. (Normal price is 25 euro excl. shipping.)
But I was triggered by the discount and signed up after informing my drinking buddy who joined as well.
Within a week the set arrived by mail.
I got four whiskies of their "standard" range in a very fancy box, a seasonal sample and a tasting glass. Now I had to wait for the day of the online tasting.
As mentioned on their site, I was able to follow the tasting on their website, via Youtube or Facebook through a link that is provided on the day of the tasting.
I made sure I had everything at the ready:
-My drinking buddy on a Google meet with audio and camera
-The tasting on youtube on my TV
-The tasting set they send
-Extra glasses just in case
-A bottle of water
-Some breadsticks for cleansing the palate.
Now I'm not going to discuss the whisky itself on this page. I already have a full tasting notes set on another page. You can find that here.
I want to discuss the online tasting itself. First impressions: Fun. But with a lot of downsides. The two presenters were fun, enthusiastic and full of energy that they were able to transfer to me. I enjoyed tasting the whisky with their guidance. But the format is having some parts that made the digital session not as fun as a real live session. I summed it up in pro's and con's:
You can join from all over the world, no travel needed
International speakers/presenters are able to host more
With good software, you can chat with the host
I can skip drams or take a little extra without judgement
If a tasting is on demand, I can do it when it suits me
As I mentioned, I joined this tasting with my buddy online. We could not discuss our opinions, due to the sound echoing. It really is a solo format
I had two several moments I was still sniffing my dram when the presenters started going to the next. Without visual feedback for them, it is just presenting in their speed. This made the tasting feel hurried.
There is no socializing. Normally you would hang around and have great conversations with other people. This format does not support it.
Now, although the Pro-list is longer than the Con's, the final verdict may weigh in the social experience that is missing at this kind of tastings.
Would I do this again: Certainly! I would! A tasting is always a great opportunity to try something new, no matter the format.
But I will try to manage my expectations due to the limitations an online tasting offers. If I can choose between an online tasting or a real live event, I will always choose the second.
If you have any information about any tastings, do not hesitate to shout out to me through email of my Instagram channel!