Crap Tasting Note of the Year: the ‘They Said What?’ award

Pic: Rob 'say what?' Johnson

Earlier this year a particularly terrible tasting note was named and shamed on Twatter. It made us think that, like sex-pest bosses or craft gin producers, these notes have had things their own way for too long – swanning around being shit and getting away with it.

Time, we thought, to call them out.

Enter #thecrappies

So we asked you to send us in the worst notes you came across so we could gather them in one place and laugh at them.

We would do it, though, in a positive spirit. So the perpetrators could learn from their mistakes and be less shit next time.

We would do it in an inclusive way – after all, these people live and work amongst us every day. We don’t want to drive their crap notes undergound.

But most of all, we would do it with a huge dollop of relief, grateful that it wasn’t us up there.

After all, when it comes to writing crap tasting notes, we’ve all done it…

We’ll be releasing the results from a different category every day this week, culminating in the Overall Crap Tasting Note of the Year winner on Friday.

We hope you enjoy the next five days of drivel, garbage, ego and crap as much as we have.


The ‘They Said What?’ Note of the Year Award

This is our widest-ranging category, taking in basically any notes that made us do a double-take and go ‘Eh? What the…? No. Just… what?’

Bear in mind this is just the shortlist. There were a lot of entries here, ranging from inaccurate piss to total balls. A hotly-contested category.

‘They Said What?’ Note of the Year

‘Gorgeous perfumed nose, slightly rotted, hint of river mud combined thrillingly with warm, sweet forest floor and old armoire.’

Adam Lechmere, Club O, of a Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon 1974

The joy of this note comes entirely in imagining the reaction of the winemaker as it’s read out to him. Go to the website’s Videos page and provided you’re a Fake Booze Patreon supporter you can see it there. If you’re not, tough.

It starts so well. He’s probably delighted with the ‘gorgeous perfumed nose’ before the bitch-slapping of ‘rotted’ and ‘river mud’ lets him know his place. ‘Think your wine’s good? Well guess what… it tastes of a four-day old haddock decomposing on a river bank, beeyatch.’

There’s a partial recovery around ‘warm, sweet forest floor’ – a tantalising holding out of redemption – but just as our winemaker reaches out to grasp it, there’s the final removal of all hope in a smothering, fusty finish.

Safe to say that you never want the last thing you taste to be your grandmother’s wardrobe.

Why ‘armoire’ you might ask? Does a French armoire smell different to an English wardrobe? And how good is our taster’s nose that he can differentiate one from the other! Whatever, that unnecessary use of poetic French makes a tremendously powerful contrast with the anglo saxon of ‘rotted’ and ‘mud’, enhancing all three.

Such a narrative arc, and so much linguistic complexity – all in less than 20 words. A worthy winner.


‘The colour here is gorgeous; pink and blue with almost neon yellow shades; in ways it reminds me of the curious tones of fresh peach juice’

Anonymous, From Twitter, of a 2019 Konni and Evi Blauer Silvaner

OK. First of all, pink and blue cannot coexist in the same moment, and certainly don’t combine to make yellow. And what’s this ‘neon’ thing all about? Was the wine made using Chernobyl’s reactor casing instead of the more traditional oak barrel?

And what is curious about the tones of peach juice anyway? Utter nonsense.

‘Perfumed, complex, long and refined, its length can only be measured in light-years.’

Walter Speller on Conterno Barolo 2014, in Club O, of Conterno Barolo Riserva 2014

Somebody didn’t concentrate during physics class at school; a light-year measures distance…

The Han Solo of tasting notes. It is rumoured that Walter once completed the Bordeaux en primeur campaign in under 12 parsecs.

‘A delicate crossing of a velvet cushion and a hedgehog.’

Bruce Evans, of a mid-1970s Chateau Musar.

Bravely submitted by Bruce himself, this wonderful surreal description makes it onto the shortlist because it was actually spoken to Serge Hochar himself, who presumably had no idea what the fuck it meant either. If anyone can send us a mash up of a velvet cushion and a hedgehog, we’d love to see it.

‘With water: anthracite, dung, burnt toast, chip fat, mutton stock, putty and rather a lot of creosote. Some burning pine cones as well perhaps. Mouth: ouch! You REALLY feel the strength on arrival. Hot, sharp and hitting notes of raw medicines, paint thinner, antiseptic, carbolic acidity and chilli flakes. Pass the gimp mask please! With water: hard to fit enough water into a copita glass!’

Angus Macraild, of Octomore 3 yr old.

This isn’t actually a crap note – just an entertaining take-down of a terrible whisky, which is why it didn’t win. But (rather like our winner) it’s one that would probably have made the head distiller reach for a shotgun – for himself, if not for Angus. Added kudos for use of the words ‘gimp mask’. We don’t see that enough in tastings.

‘Yellow, flowers and a beautiful apricot colour with a strong musk. Rich texture with sweet fuck in sweet orange and apricot flavour at the end of a clean. Drink now.’

Unnamed Chinese back label.

OK, it’s a cheap laugh to poke fun at bad translations. Ha ha. Aren’t the foreigners funny? But the combination of ‘musk’, ‘fuck’ and something needing a clean made for a powerfully bad note. The final ‘drink now’ exortation, after all that has gone before is comic genius.

Got anything to say about these crap notes? Whack it on social and use #thecrappies

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