Here are a few of our top tips on tasting Whisky to ensure you’re getting the most out of your well earned glass of Scotch.
Source yourself a glass with a narrower mouth and a wider base, ideally a Whisky Snifter glass. Pour a small measure of the whisky into the glass and hold it by the stem in order to avoid warming the spirit with your hand. Have a room temperature bottle of still Scottish spring water at the ready.
Check the Colour
The colour of the whisky mainly indicates how the single malt was matured. Due to the casks parting with their colour and flavour, you would be safe to assume that a pale whisky has been matured in a bourbon cask and golden single malts have been matured in sherry oak casks. Hold your glass up to the light in order to fully appreciate the colour depth of the whisky.
Check the Legs
Coat the walls of the glass with the whisky by swilling it at a relatively fast pace. Afterwards, hold the glass still and upright to observe the whisky form its ‘legs’ as it runs down the glass walls. This can signify the age of the single malt as the slower the legs, the more viscous the whisky meaning the older it is.
Nose the Whisky
Simply waft the glass under and past your nose as you take a deep breath. Pause to appreciate the aromas then repeat the process a couple more times to get a detailed nose profile of the dram.
Sip the Whisky
Take a small sip from the glass and let the whisky rest on your tongue, form your tongue into a small cupped shape for best tasting results. Everyone has different taste buds and therefore may pick up on different aromas and flavours in the single malt, however, common characteristics of the whisky should be noticeable.
Add a touch of water
It is scientifically proven that adding a bit of Scottish spring water to your whisky will bring out hidden characteristics and enhance the already apparent aromas and flavours. Only a small amount is needed and 20% water is the recommended measure. Rock the glass back and forth to ensure the water is mixed with the whisky. The single malt should have mellowed somewhat and be easier to palate. It is not uncommon for whiskies to taste entirely different when water is added when compared to their neat state.