How to taste whisky? |

When it comes to drinking whisky some glasses are better than others to really maximize the flavor.
And let’s be honest, some glasses just look better than others. Presentation can make a difference.

If possible, always serve whiskey in a glass; other materials can taint the flavor. It is possible to serve whisky in a “rocks” glass – otherwise known as an Old Fashioned or lowball glass. It’s really just a short tumbler that will hold about 6-10oz of liquid.

This type of glass is ideal for whisky on the rocks or for whisky cocktails.

To really step it up a notch, you could get yourself some specialty whisky glasses. These are tulip-shaped, and will concentrate the vapors and flavors and allow you to really “nose” the whiskey. It really does make a difference.

Should one have his whisky neat or with ice or water?

The first time you drink any whisky, it should be tasted neat. That’s what the guy who made it wants it to taste like.

When you add a dash of still water, what you’re doing is lowering the ABV of the beverage in your hand. For one serving (1.5oz), a teaspoon of water will lower a 40% ABV beverage to 30%.

Especially for high-proof whiskies, many experts will add just a little bit of tap water. This is to dilute the beverage a little bit, but also to soften the punch of the alcohol and let the whiskey flavor really come through. If you try this route, add just a tiny bit of water, see how it tastes, and add a splash more if desired. If you end up with too much water, your only remedy is to add more whiskey.

Water must be of normal room temperature. Ideally it must be spring water. In any case you should use clean water without any taste of its own.

Most experts do not recommend to use ice for drinking or tasting whisky. Ice makes the whiskey cold and it numbs the flavors a little bit. Another disadvantage of using ice is that at the beginning there is not enough water and when ice starts to melt whisky becomes watered down and you cannot control this process very well.

As with any alcoholic beverage, there are certain flavors to look for while drinking, and certain methods to the drinking that will help release and identify those flavors. For instance, with wine, you want to smell it, let it settle for a few minutes, then let the liquid linger in your mouth so you can get all the flavors.

When it comes to drinking or eating just about anything, you want to let your nose inform your mouth. Believe it or not, the sensation of flavor is a combination of smell and taste. For complex flavors, like those found in whisky, the sense of smell is even more important.

So before you take any sip of whiskey, you want to really get your nose in the glass and take a hearty whiff. Your nose will educate your palette.

That first sniff will largely be just alcoholic, and might clear your nostrils a little bit. So give it a second and third sniff and you’ll get some of the true whiskey flavors.

Next, take just a small sip, and sort of roll the liquid around in your mouth. Instead of just swallowing right away, try to pick out different flavors. Since whiskey is always aged in wooden barrels, you’ll almost always get the classic flavors of vanilla, toffee, or caramel. From there, enjoy your drink over the course of 30-60 minutes, with good company of course, and you’ll be a happy whisky drinker.

There is much snobbery about not drinking whisky with mixers. However, it is completely up to the customer how they want to drink it.

Most common mixers are water, Ginger ale, Lemonade, Cola and Soda.

All these can be taken with or without ice, it’s down to the customer preference.

From the other hand it will be a waste to drink an aged whisky with plenty of different flavors and taste notes with Cola for example. You simply will not taste the whisky. In such a case it is recommended to use light and rounded blends that are perfect mixers.


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