TequilaNeat - Tasting and Note Taking Form

Because good tequila should be served "neat:"   No ice, no salt, no lime.

Informal tasting at Tres, San Francisco

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How do I taste and take notes?
There are a couple of ways to approach tasting. One is to apply a value judgement as to whether a tequila is good or bad. The other is to note the flavors you can recognize, and the intensity of each, simply describing what what you taste. The latter is my approach.

You'll see on my form below that I make note of many aspects of how and where it's produced, the price, and so on. Then a notation about the color, body, and balance. Below that are all the common flavors I seem to find in tequilas, with some space for unusal flavors to be written in. At the bottom is a section for detailed notes, as well as what I've been calling "ID Tag," and a legend for the tags. This is so I can make an overall description of a tequila in just a few letters. The intent for this is so I can recommend something if someone says for example, "I'm looking for a tequila that's sweet and fiery." The way I use it is a lowercase letter for slight characteristic, and an uppercase letter for something that's really strong and stands out as something that's a signature of a given tequila.

This form is still in a state of evolution, though it's now at a form I find suits my needs pretty well. Still, it's far from being something that's widely accepted as an "industry standard."

The comparison form is more of a documenting vehicle than a judging form. There are many good tequilas that I don't particularly like, but I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by imposing my taste and rating something poorly. I feel it's better to simply document the flavors and intensities of them, along with the other characteristics of the tequila.

How do I judge tequilas?
Now, for judging, I am working on something that is a more objective way of assigning a rank to a tequila than just "I like it more." The Judging sheet is a work in progress, and it takes into account the body, aroma, flavor, and finish of the tequila. First, I don't include color. Blancos have no color, so that would put them on an unfair footing overall. Second, I don't include "presentation," or an evaluation of the bottle. Because after all, I don't buy tequilas for the bottle.

Now, I assign a score from 0 to 5 for each of the four aspects listed above. I feel it's important to have a zero there- If it weren't, no score could be below 20. It's not that I'm expecting to judge a tequila that badly- But if the scale didn't go to zero, the best score of 100 wouldn't truly MEAN 100.

Each of those aspects has a weighting. I believe the body of the tequila isn't so important as the other aspects, so it's got a much lower weighting. Once each of the aspects is rated from 1-5, those scores are multiplied by their weights, and added together. Divide that number by 5, and you have the normalized rating. It can go from zero to 100.

This is still in development, but it's been successfully used in judgings. No doubt it'll get enhanced a bit as time goes on.

Kelly's Tequila Tasting Comparison Checklist Kelly's Tequila Judging Checklist

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