And those two words are Blind. Tasting.
Nothing shuts up beer geek (or whiskey geek) bullshit faster than blind tasting. It's hard work, it's educational, and yes, it can be fun. My thanks to long-time STAG reader (I can say that now, it's well over a year old) Steve Herberger for providing this link to an eye-opener of a blind tasting of four draft Irish dry stouts in Ireland. Ten fairly experienced tasters failed to do better than 1.333 beers ID'd correctly out of 4 (although the winner pegged all four stouts (I'd have to guess they were lucky, given those numbers)).
What am I saying? Stop thinking you can judge beers or whiskeys with complete impartiality. You can't. Like people bring all their old lovers to the marriage altar, you bring all your past drinking experience with you to a tasting. Make it more fair, and bring the blindfold.