Posted 26 June 2020
Just because we can doesn’t mean that we should. Touching clearly marked wet paint, tasting yellow snow, getting into yet another protracted discussion about whisky terroir. And so it is with the announcement that researchers at Virginia Tech are utilising artificial intelligence to ‘standardise’ tasting notes. The hypothesis (which has received grant funding) being that the language used to describe whisky is “metaphorical, messy, natural language which can be a barrier for consumers and industry professionals alike to having a shared understanding of what whiskey (sic) tastes like”. All very noble. But entirely missing the point – our experience of whisky whilst often shared *is* as individual as our olfactory systems – and this freedom of expression is fundamental. A love of language, with all its vagaries is something to cherish – not something to seek to homogenise.