I've never believed that old adage 'There's no such thing as a bad whisky, only good whisky and better whiskies'.
Not that I'm an expert, but I can tell a Bells from The Balvenie, and I can appreciate the beauty of a ten-year-old Glenmorangie (although I'd been pronouncing it wrong - it's glen-m-orange-ee, not glen-more-angie), so I'd drunk enough to convince myself that I only liked a good single malt Scotch.
But in one evening, award winning whisky writer and blender Jim Murray, author of the international best-selling Jim Murray's whisky Bible , blew that idea out of the water. Not that water played much of a part in it - he firmly disagrees with diluting whisky.
"It has to be 40 per cent alcohol to be classed as whisky, so if you add water to it I don't know what you are drinking, but it's certainly not whisky."
But Murray teaches a sensible approach to tasting.
He said: "Whisky is dangerous, so it's worth learning to spit. I taste more than 3,000 whiskies a year - if I didn't spit, I'd die."
The tasting was held in the cellar of Nickolls & Perks in Stourbridge - an alcoholic Aladdin's cave, packed from its wooden floors to its low beamed ceilings with wines, champagnes and whiskies from around the world.
Murray, who tastes on average 35 whiskies a day, runs 50 tastings around the world each year. This was the only one in the UK this year and his smallest venue for ten years.
Of the 20 or so whisky tasters there I was, inevitably, the only woman, and there was a distinctly macho approach to the tasting, with lots of back slapping and sexist jokes, usually followed by a swift apology and sheepish glance in my direction.
"Whiskies are like women," said Murray. "You love your wife...but there are so many other varieties out there to choose from."
Yes, and some of them will give you a good, hard kick. Whiskies, that is.
"One of two things will happen this evening," he warned us. "Either you'll never forget it, or you'll never be able to remember it."
This came as no surprise, given that there were no fewer than 12 whiskies on Murray's menu for us to 'blind taste'.
The bottles were covered so we didn't know what we were drinking. This was so we would have no preconceptions and would instead rely on our own tastebuds.
Murray said: "I'm not having any of this pretentious twaddle that goes on with whisky. Don't get seduced by words - learn to judge by your own palate.
"It's like detective work. Let the whisky talk to you, and try to work out what it's saying."
To be honest, if I reached the point where it started talking to me, I'd probably stop drinking it.
Murray recommends a cup of black coffee to clear the palate before a whiskey tasting, because any sweetness in your mouth will spoil the taste.
First you 'nose' - or smell - the whisky. Then you cover it, warm it in your hands, nose it again, and then taste it. Swill it round your mouth a bit, tilt your head back, then open your mouth and close it a couple of times like a fish. Apparently this lets the alcohol escape through the roof of your mouth.
We did as we were told with the first one and Murray asked us what we thought it was. It was sweet, and I thought it tasted a bit like the inside of a mint humbug, but kept my uninformed opinion to myself.
Someone suggested "Spey-side" and another said "ten-year-old". The rest of us had no idea so nodded in agreement as though we knew what we were talking about.
Delighted to have tricked us, Murray informed us it was a three-year-old Welsh.
The second one was spicier and more complex. He told us there was lots of oak, which indicated age. This one turned out to be a three-year-old Indian, but actually very nice, although at #25 a bottle you'd expect it to be.
During the next few hours I was surprised to learn that I liked the pink-tinted Tullibardine Portwood, which gets its girly colouring from being finished in port pipes, and 'vatted' grains (made with grains from more than one distillery) thanks to the light, clean Hedonism from John Glaser's Compass Box. We even became blenders ourselves - by mixing Hedonism with a Six Isles vatted malt.
Everyone else liked the Irish Jamesons, but by far the biggest surprise of the night was a big, smooth, complex bourbon from Kentucky called Wild Turkey.
It was even voted the group's joint favourite, along with an An Cnoc from the Knockdhu distillery in Scotland.
Murray had made his point. "If you learn one thing from whisky tasting it's that you never know what you're going to get," he said. "And that is often half the fun."