Co-written by Paul
I've been reviewing extinct and endangered beverages now for over a year online and over five years previously. When doing a tasting I like to go over the "Six 'S's." You may be familiar with the six 'S's but may be interested in learning what I am looking for in each step.
In order to become a skilled extinct beverage taster it is necessary to realize that memory plays an important role. Upon tasting, one must catalog one's experiences mentally according to body, aroma and aftertaste. This is known as "taste retention." Equally important is suppression of the gag reflex, or "beverage retention." Bile is famous for distorting the taste of a drink, unless that drink happens to be Red Bull. That tastes like bile anyway.
The Tasting Experience
Make sure that designated plastic cup is absolutely clean and free from odors imparted by detergents, other drinks or cigarette butts as this may enhance the beverage's flavor.
Place a piece of paper under each glass and number each selection so as not to confuse the drinks to be sampled. Tasters should keep a log where they can jot down notes on the flavor, living wills, or angst-laden declarations that there is no God-- whatever the beverage inspires.
Between drinks, you should treat your tongue to something with a neutral taste as a palate cleanser. Popular choices include Pepsi One or a mouth full of surgical gauze.
The 6 S's
Examine the color and clarity of the beverage, holding the glass up to a light. By viewing the extinct or endangered beverage through the foggy near transparent plastic, the taster can personally describe the color and record it in the log.
Swirl the beverage in the glass and examine the legs or the way in which the beverage runs down the side of the cup. This will give an indication of the drink's body or fullness. If the drink sheets off slowly, one can expect a drink to be rich and full. If the drink runs off in rivulets, expect the drink to be weak and thin. Also consider yourself lucky.
Examine the aroma and bouquet of the beverage for distinct qualities and register these in the log. Olfaction, the sense of smell, is extremely important, much more important than taste itself. Pinch the nostrils when swallowing and you taste very little. This can be used to your advantage (see Chubby Review). The tongue is sensitive to only four reactions, while the sense of smell can easily identify at least 2,000 comparisons.
Tasters should remember not to limit themselves to actual smells but rather to open up their minds to just about any person, place, thing, or idea. For instance, "I taste another rainy day indoors; Frank Oz; metaphor." Keep reactions personal; you don't want to embarrass yourself around more sophisticated and experienced tasters, as they will already be looking down their nose at you to begin with. For instance, if you say that the aroma of "Hansen's Stamina Drink" is reminiscent of Anias Nin's erotic fiction, you will be mocked mercilessly. It is reminiscent of ballooning. Ballooning.
Take a small amount of the drink into the mouth in a slurping fashion. Roll the sample around so that it coats the tongue and all areas of the mouth. Take in more air. Before swallowing or spitting, record reactions of taste in the log. Once again, be truthful and indicate even upleasant sensations (of which there should be plenty).
Some poisons are absorbed into the system through the capillaries in the tongue; therefore, spitting does not prevent all negative reactions caused by extinct beverages. If tasters wish to swallow, they should. If not, they should feel free to spit into a provided cuspidor or toilet. If swallowed, the beverage's poison will be absorbed into the bloodstream and the taster will feel "yucky."
Much can be learned about a drink from the finish or aftertaste. This is less true of extinct beverages, since their aftertaste is almost universally a mouthful of pennies.
This is self-explanatory. It can range from headache to general nausea to the feeling that life has no meaning. Any way, rest up and get ready for another day of tasting.
I hope this simple chart has shed some light on the extinct and endangered beverage world. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. The most important thing about tasting is having a bad time.