There is a lot you don’t know about whisky. It comes in various brands and tastes, which makes it a bit challenging to settle on one. For the lovers of Scotch whisky or Kentucky Bourbon, you might have been through several sips and glasses to taste before landing on your favorite toss.
Tasting whisky is not like drinking whisky. While drinking is a physical process, tasting whisky is a chemical process, making it even more complicated to taste whisky the right way. It’s more of a science and art you should learn before making your first attempt. This article makes it easier for you. Here we teach you how to taste the finest whisky the next time you party with your friends.
Whisky Tasting Experience
Before you start nosing and tasting whisky, you should get the right type of glass on the table to pour the drink.
You need a whisky tasting glass to drink the whisky from. There are different varieties of whisky tasting glass in the market ranging from the cheapest to the most expensive crystals.
You can pick a whisky glass depending on the quality you are looking for. Your choice of an ideal glass depends on your taste and preference. However, a tulip-shaped whisky tasting glass is the best you can get.
Once you have your whisky tasting glass ready, you can proceed with these steps to tasting quality whisky:
Step #1: Pour the whisky into a glass
Pour your favorite whisky drink in a glass and allow it to rest and remain untouched for some minutes. This way, you allow the whisky to open up for the best tasting and nosing experience.
The whisky you are about to taste has been bottled for some time now, possibly years, and before you taste it, you should allow it to rest, open up, and develop its actual flavor and taste.
Step #2: What is the color?
Now that you’ve poured some whisky into the glass and allowed it to open up, you can confirm the color. Take the glass of whisky and hold it up to the light. Observe the glass to confirm the color. If you’re ‘colorblind,’ then this may not be your thing. Don’t worry. You can use a whisky tasting color guide to narrow down the colors you see on the glass.
You can describe the color you see in your own words. Try to be creative as much as you can. For example, instead of noting blonde, you can say the whisky if flaxen-blonde to be more clear and precise in your descriptions. When you are more creative and descriptive in your definitions, it can be easier differentiating whisky colors.
Step #3: Feel the visual texture
Whiskies have a different visual texture you can use to group them. A visual texture is simply how the whisky crystals run and settle down the glass. To get the visual texture, you can swirl the glass containing whisky on your palms so that the whisky crystals start moving on the side of the glass. Just be careful to avoid spilling the drink.
Observe how the whisky runs on the sides of the glass and settles down at the bottom. The whisky has a light visual texture if the crystals run fast and settle at the bottom. It is more oily and heavier if the crystals take longer to drain and settle.
Step #4: Nose it
Don’t be in a hurry to take the first sip of the drink. You should smell the whisky first before sipping it. This is an essential part of the tasting experience. If you have a running nose, you may not get the exact smell from your whisky. You want to ensure you are in the best shape before starting to taste and nose your whisky.
Before you nose the whisky:
- Swirl it for some second and cover the top of the glass with your palm to allow the aroma to build up.
- Get your hand off the top of the glass and sniff the whisky.
- Remember to put your nose some inches away from the glass.
Whisky is a bit strong in scent and can water your eyes. You don’t want to spend some time scrubbing your eyes when it’s time to drink your whisky. You should keep the glass some centimeters away from your eyes and sniff through the whisky with your mouth open slightly.
You can uncover a great deal of aroma when you sniff the whisky with your mouth open. It sounds funny, but that is the trick to getting the exact smell of your favorite whisky. When you get the aroma right, you can memorize the whisky and remember it the next time you visit the local bar. It’s not easy getting the exact words to describe the smell of different whisky cocktails and brands —that why you should get the exact smell on your own.
Step #5: Time to sip
This is the time you’ve been waiting for. When you’ve sniffed the whisky, it’s time to take a sip of the drink and feel it roll down your throat. Take the sizeable sip and give it some time to coat on your tongue.
While coating on your tongue, you should think about the finish – is it short or long. How does it feel in your mouth? Does it feel like drying your tongue, or it feels like velvet? You can also detect some different flavors depending on the type of cask used to make the whisky.
Take some time to see if you can detect some unique flavors like smoky, fruity, profile light, and savory. When taking the sip, you should move the drink around your mouth to get the smell and exact taste. Allow the sip to rest in your mouth for some seconds before pushing it down your throat.
Step #6: Add some water
This is one of the most crucial steps to tasting and nosing whisky. Did you know that adding some splash of water to whisky does not interfere with its flavor and taste but instead opens it up? Whisky contains some flavors that are not soluble in water. When you add some water to the drink, you reduce the alcohol concentration and force some more flavors to come out.
After splashing some water into the drink, you can now take another sip again. It’s surprising how whisky can change its flavor when mixed with water. It feels more creamy and smoother now. When you add some water to the drink, the whisky’s visual texture, smell, and color change a bit.
There is always a first time to everything, and when you’re thinking of gaining some insights on different whiskies, you can begin here – tasting the cheapest whisky as you move up the ladder. Tasting and nosing whisky should not be that challenging as long as you can visit your local bar and grab a glass.
In this article, we’ve highlighted some six simple steps you can follow to taste and nose your favorite whisky like a pro. You can only learn to differentiate whisky brands when you taste them professionally.
Sometimes it’s hard to describe the color, smell, and flavors of different whisky brands in words, and that’s why it’s crucial to take a sip and allow it to coat in your tongues for some seconds. Everyone has their memories of a fine bourbon whisky, and you can also join the wagon today with this simple guide to tasting whisky.