Adrian Tierney-Jones — who was my editor when I worked on 1001 Beer You Must Try Before You Die — had an interesting post the other day on his blog, Called to the Bar, entitled What does vanilla smell like? It’s about the difficulties of accurately describing any aroma we encounter in beer, but with vanilla as the jumping off point for the discussion. Especially interesting is the idea of how do you describe aromas without using too much cliché, an inevitable problem when you write a lot of tasting notes. Adrian specifically mentions something he read in the introduction of the Penguin Guide to Food and Drink. Editor Paul Levy notes “how you might find a raspberry note in Burgundy but no Burgundy notes in a raspberry. But what does a raspberry smell of? Raspberry.” It’s a thorny problem for reviewing beers, and worth a read if you want to write thoughtful tasting notes, or just understand the difficulties inherent in them.