Mezcal Flavor Tasting Wheels: Why Are They Important?

TLDR

The flavor wheel is not just a wheel filled with colors and words, but a piece of technology that can add a deeper understanding to your mezcal tasting experience.

Within this article, we discuss in depth the history of the invention of the flavor wheel, from the oldest kind to the modern ones. We also look at the importance of the flavor wheel to consumers and how best one can go about mastering the art of using one during mezcal tasting. As far as the flavors go, we also provide you with a few pointers on how to most easily identify mezcal tasting notes.

Mezcal Mini Bottles And Shot

Introduction

Scientific developments are happening around us all the time, and continue to add value to our lives. This much is also true of the mezcal flavour wheel, which enhances our understanding of mezcal and the flavours within it.

The flavor wheel is a piece of technology that uses sensory science to provide a detailed and reliable way to classify both taste and smell.

Flavor comes in twos, through testing and nosing, which involves the use of the tongue and the nose. The flavor wheel was hence created to break it down on how taste and smells are entwined together to bring out the overall flavor of the beverages, food, fruits, etc.

Additionally, if you are wanting to bring out the scents and flavor of mezcal, ensure you sip it from an authentic copita or jicara glass. The glass you drink from can hugely impact flavor.

The History of the Mezcal Flavor Wheel

A flavor wheel for beer is believed to have been developed in the late 1970s, but the idea took root in the mid-1980s in the Mexican states, with the invention of a wine aroma wheel. This was developed by professor Ann Noble.

Subsequently, flavor wheels have gone through further changes, and currently, many are crafted to meet a specific needs of a product. Today there are flavor wheels for beer, wine, olive oil, honey chocolate, coffee, cheese, tea, walnuts, and many other types of food and drink.

With this development comes a great comprehension of what taste and smell are like when merged together. This technology has greatly been embraced by the mezcal producers to deliver the best possible quality of products to their customers. It also allows expert mezcal tasters to get the most out of their tasting sessions.

The mezcal flavor wheel can also be used to distinguish the tasting notes of tequila and its cocktails. Tequila is a type of mezcal made from the blue agave only.

Why You Need A Mezcal Flavor Wheel

The Mezcal flavor wheel is a tool that helps you as a consumer to understand the different types of mezcal more deeply. The flavor wheel helps in the following ways:

  • It creates a deeper understanding and appreciation of the ingredients and components used in making the mezcal drinks.
  • It gives language to more novice mezcal tasters by offering words that can be used to describe the kind of drink they wish to be served or the one they just tried.
  • The flavor wheel also makes it easier to distinguish one brand of mezcal from the other. 
  • It helps in narrowing down on the beverage choices, as it provides more clarity on tasting notes.
  • It gives a more accurate and reliable description of taste and flavors within each agave mezcal so one can tell with ease the standard of the mezcal in relation to the quality and uniqueness.

Mezcal Tasting Wheel

How The Mezcal Flavor Wheel Works

At first glance, flavor wheels can look complicated and perhaps intimidating.

This is because one tends to see an array of colors displayed on a chart and wonders what it is all about. Doubts can quickly set in, which makes it easy to give up before one even begun, but to your consolation, even the experts in tasting took time to master the art.

Soon in time, you will be able to grasp the concept of the Mezcal flavor wheel. All the armor you need is time and a bit of patience to get there. Below is a guide on how to use the mezcal flavor wheel.

Internalize the Wheel

The sole aim of the wheel is to provide a detailed picture of taste and flavor on a chart. To understand how it works, take a close look at the diagram and internalize both the colors and the words used. 

Even if some of the words seem confusing at first, the more you use the wheel when tasting mezcal, the clearer things will become.

Have A Taste Of The Mezcal

If you are trying out a new brand of Mezcal or just ordering the usual, it's time you took a different approach to how you drink it. Ensure you have a good look at the color of your mezcal before you even take a sip.

Secondly, try to pay close attention to the flavours and aromas through nosing and taking a small sip. See if the taste and smell remind you of anything, or hint at something familiar you have come across in the form of fruits, agave, or other areas of life.

Begin In The Middle

To get a clear understanding of the wheel, it's essential to start at the center of the wheel as you work your way outwards. At the center of the wheel, you will find the general taste descriptors, which give you the first pointers on what the drink is about.

As you work outwards, the wheel becomes more specific by narrowing down on what is within the drink. As a taster, you always have a choice to either stop in between the center and outside, or go all the way to the outer rim.

An example, in this case, would be taking a sip of a mezcal cocktail and noting an aftertaste that is fruity and citrus like. You would choose between options like lemon or grapefruit.

Become Familiar With The Language

To get a grasp of what the flavor wheel is about, you need to get familiar with the terms used. Gaining an understanding of the terms used in the wheel and becoming comfortable with using them will help you feel more accustomed to describing the different flavors in mezcal.

For instance, you will find the general to more descriptive and specific terms as you narrow it down working from the center to the outside. Having the lexicon at hand makes it easier to understand the more technical and unfamiliar terms by providing an overall reference for all its characteristics.

Comprehend The Colors

Colors are a tangible way to commit things to memory, especially when they are linked to, fruits food, and beverages. With the flavor wheel, there is an array of colors which make it easier to describe the kind of mezcal you are consuming.

We naturally associate different colors with different flavors and kinds of drinks.

Mezcal Tasting Session With Copitas

How to Manage Your Mezcal Tasting Notes

Words can sometimes be too little or too much. In order to get it correct when it comes to descriptions of mezcal, the wheel is the ultimate way to go.

Let your words flow and write them down. These should be your true feelings and initial thoughts. It's important not to overthink.

As you sip your mezcal of choice, do you see any of its characteristics on the wheel? If so, start from the center and go all the way up. This can help you to stay within the boundaries because the wheel in itself is sufficient.

However, you can also give your own description of the taste, aromas, and flavors you experienced and later cross reference these with the wheel.

Conclusion

As we have discussed, the flavor wheel is an excellent way to articulate what you taste as you sip mezcal, as well as for getting a deep understanding of the different flavors within it. 

This makes it much easier to differentiate one mezcal spiritfrom the other even if they have similar colors or share same basic characteristics at the center of the wheel.

Why not move up the ranks from a novice to an expert by putting the Mezcal flavor wheel to the test?

If you're planning on tasting some mezcal, don't forget to stock up on traditional and unique shot glasses, or try creating delicious cocktails using our beautiful barware and impressive cocktail glasses.


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