A Burns Night stunt went horribly, tragically wrong when a panel of highly regarded experts – proud citizens of the Empire to a man – declared a whiskey distilled in Taiwan to be superior to the competition from the United Kingdom. The shock brought a quiver to even the stiffest upper lip.
It was a bad idea to begin with. In celebration of Burns Night, which honours the only half-decent poet the Scots can lay claim to (and whom they’ve therefore canonised), Robert Burns, The Times arranged a whiskey taste test. A blind one.
The newspaper didn’t have honest intentions from the start. It planned to slip a recently-introduced English whiskey, St George’s Distillery Chapter 3, into the mix and then make fun of the tasters when they pronounced it to be at least acceptable. Thrown into the mix on a whim was Kavalan, made in Taiwan using a distillery built with Scottish expertise.
And when Kavalan came out tops, there was much wailing and anguish and rending of garments.
Unfortunately, the testing wasn’t an officially recognised one and on reflection the judges have been declared poorly educated, mentally deficient and blacklisted at distilleries across the Empire.
Such is the terrible price exacted by blind, and especially double-blind, taste tests. Pepsi beats Coca-Cola, Japanese beer beats Belgian and cheap chocolate is chosen over designer. Clearly the methodology is fatally flawed and should be outlawed before it does any further harm.
By Phillip de Wet
Read more: The Times
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