The sensory panel developed an extensive, sensory lexicon to describe the appearance, odour, flavour, mouthfeel and finish of the whiskies. We deliberately avoided using established sensory vocabularies for Scotch whisky, allowing the assessors to use their extensive experience in sensory description to create their own bespoke vocabulary. The assessors then systematically quantified the magnitude of each sensory characteristic in each of the 60 Single Malts. This process was conducted over a period of 12 months using a carefully structured sampling plan to reduce the effects of sensory fatigue and other biases. All of the Single Malts were assessed at 20% ABV (as is typical for master blenders). Each whisky was profiled at least twice by each of the sensory assessors to provide a very robust data set. The data (12 assessors X 2 replicates) was averaged within each sensory characteristic, within each whisky to yield and averaged sensory profile for each of the 60 whiskies.

A statistical procedure known as Analysis of Variance identified which sensory characteristics were most effective in discriminating amongst the whiskies.  Thereafter, Principal Component Analysis was used to create a 2-dimensional map of the sensory universe of our Single Malt Scotch whiskies.