What is The Absolute Programme?
I have long thought about how to describe The Absolute Programme and its concept to you. To get the best picture of my intentions, ambitions and the values that are embodied by TAP, I want to take you back to the very beginning.
The idea for TAP was born in summer 2018 during a casual afternoon learning session. I was having a dram of the Macallan 12 Year Old while studying and as a small exercise I wrote down what I tasted. When I compared my tasting notes with the ones in the book I was reading, I was surprised that the flavours described in that book were so different from what I, and other people I know, associated with Macallan.
Out of curiosity I then looked up tasting notes for the Macallan 12 Year Old in two other books, just to find each of them being very different as well.
I was, and still am, very aware of taste being highly subjective. But I imagined if someone looked up a whisky in one book and reads a description, he or she might not be very intrigued by the described flavours. Yet if the same person would have read another book with a different description, the interest might have been sparked!
It is like reading the news. Depending on which paper you read you get a few different angles on the same story. To get the big picture you would have to read more than one paper, get as many opinions in as possible. Who’s got the time for that nowadays?
The same logic applies to whisky. To get the best idea regarding the taste of a whisky it does not necessarily help to have one opinion of one person, whether it’s an expert or novice. You would have to talk to several people or go over several rating websites and read through different tasting notes.
I tried it out, it can take easily one hour or longer for only one whisky to go from forum to forum, from the official website to retailer page. As I said before, you probably do not have the time or interest to perform such intense research just for a bottle of whisky.
So how can we achieve more objectivity in this extremely subjective matter?
The answer is surprisingly simple:
We build an average!
The TAP concept
The idea is to collect the whisky tasting notes of the general public and combine them. It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or an expert, your honest and very personal perception of the whisky tasted is what counts. These big collective tasting notes will show which flavours appear more often than others while also representing the whole spectrum of flavours that can be discovered in each drop. We are filtering the absolute essence of each whisky by the way the majority of people tastes it.
But there is more!
To provide a neutral, unbiased approach towards each whisky, it is important that the participants do not know which whiskies they’re tasting. Tasting a whisky “blind” ensures that everyone can focus on their smell and taste only. No assumptions from known brands, no preconceptions, no expectations on what to taste and what not. It’s the only way to get 100% neutral and honest opinions.
And what’s most important: You!
You all are making the whisky industry what it is today. You buy the whiskies you find appealing and help the industry to grow each year. You visit distilleries and take part in whisky tastings of all kinds, introduce friends and family to this unique and lovely liquid. It is only fair that you are given the opportunity to be part of your favourite products presentation to the world.
In our tastings you have this unique opportunity! You write down your thoughts and impressions about each whisky you try in our whisky tastings. Your tasting notes have a direct influence on how the flavour of whisky will be described in the future.
This is a concept, a programme, designed to create the world’s first collective and absolute tasting notes.
The Absolute Programme!