How To Taste Whiskey Like A Pro
The art of tasting whiskey is something many people want to learn. By understanding how to drink Whiskey like a pro you can impress your friends and colleagues on a night out. You could even plan your own Whiskey tasting event at home. In this blog post we share some top tips to help you know how to taste Whiskey like a pro.
The Whiskey Glass
While the glass you drink this delicious spirit from is down to your own personal choice, glasses with a bulbous base and narrow at the top are a good choice. The style and shape of this glass makes it easy to swirl the Whisky gently to allow the aromas to rise to the top. A glass with a wider mouth shape will allow the more unpleasant fumes to disperse and the enjoyable aromas will come to the surface, ready for you to enjoy.
Examining The Whiskey
When examining your Whisky, you should hold the glass just above your nose. Look at the colour of the spirit. The colour will allow you to guess the age of the spirit. If the colour is dark, then the whiskey has been aged for longer. The common colours of this spirit will range from dark nut-brown right down to a pale straw colour.
Now it’s time to gently swirl the spirit in the glass. As you do this you will see streaks of liquid running down the inside of the glass. These are known as the legs (a term to use if you want to impress your friends). These legs indicate the viscosity of the drink. The thicker the legs, the more velvety the drink will feel in your mouth.
Nosing The Whiskey
To smell the whiskey, you need to turn the glass onto one side (hence, the recommendation for a bulbous glass). You will find that the earthy and woody fragrances are concentrated towards the bottom of the glass. However, the lighter floral and fruit aromas will rise towards the rim of the glass. You need keep your mouth slightly open and use one nostril and then the other to sniff the spirit. By keeping your mouth slightly ajar you will be able to savour the full aromatic experience.
Some people prefer to put their nose in the glass, others chose to have their nose on the side of the glass. You may even prefer to hover your nose over the opening of the glass and move slowly towards the spirit. Try out some different ways of nosing and see which works best for you.
Tasting The Whiskey
This is the part of the blog we know you’ve been looking forward to the most. However, just before tasting the whiskey for the first time, drink some room temperature water. This will prevent the acidity of the alcohol tainting your palate. Try not to eat anything with a strong flavour before the whiskey tasting too otherwise the flavours might merge and mingle, preventing you from enjoying the Whisky properly. This is important to bear in mind if you are hosting a whiskey tasting event in your home and are supplying nibbles. A platter of different cheeses, dried fruit & nuts and dark chocolate are all good starting points as they make surprisingly good pairings. You might even find they enhance certain flavour profiles!
When tasting the spirit, you should take very small sips. This will help you get accustomed to the strength of the alcohol. The best way to taste the full flavour of the whiskey is to place the drink at the front, centre and then back of the tongue. Our taste buds are broken down into sections, each ‘in-charge’ of tasting a different set of flavours, rolling the Whisky around your tongue will allow every section to weigh in and let you taste every flavour.
Immediately after you have swallowed the spirit exhale deeply through your nose. This will result in a pleasant burning feeling. The flavour of the drink will linger, evolve and then fade. At this point, you can take your next drink. You might notice new flavours evolving as you enjoy the last rememenants of Whisky.
Now you’re ready to taste whiskey like a pro. If you’d like any recommendations of the best drinks for your tasting party, contact our team. We would be happy to offer any recommendations based on your taste, preference and budget.