How to Taste Whisky for Beginners
If you’re new to the world of whisky, chances are, you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of tasting it the right way. Unlike other beverages, whisky is meant to be tasted in a certain way for you to appreciate the years and expertise behind making it.
So.. how do you taste it exactly? Grab your bottle and follow these correct whisky tasting steps from our resident experts today:
1. Get the right glass
Highly regarded whisky experts will tell you that one of the most important parts of tasting whisky is using the right glass. One that would embody the full smell, body, and taste characteristics of the whisky.
And that is why Whisky purist Raymond Davidson of Scotland created the Glencairn Glass. The official whisky glass.
The Glencairn glass was designed and handcrafted with the inputs of master blenders and distillery managers in Scotland. In fact, the glass has very similar characteristics as the same vessels that the master blenders used in their distilleries.
The round body enables you to swirl the whisky without spilling it. The curved enclosed rim, perfect for nosing. The solid base, for holding the whisky while observing it visually and to fit in your hand ergonomically.
This is a needed investment to start your whisky journey!
2. Pour the Whisky
Once you get the right glass for tasting, of course, it’s time to pour the whisky. Grab your bottle and pour it into your Glencairn glass.. but don’t fill up the glass!
Believe it or not, this is a common mistake that beginners make. Pour whisky up 0-50ml to taste… or 1/3rd from the bottom depending on the glass and observe the color.
3. Nose the Whisky
Smell plays a great deal when it comes to tasting whisky so make sure you put enough time to appreciate all the aroma.
What you need to do is swirl the whisky inside the Glencairn glass, which releases and activates all the smell, then put your nose in the opening so you get all the aroma concentrated to reach your senses.
Instead of a big sniff, try wafting the smell and take notes of what smells you remember: it could be oak, fruits, or any other smells but it can also remind you of Christmas time, evenings with dad, or some special memories.
This is one of the best steps of whisky appreciation. As a beginner, try looking up the tasting notes of your whisky online just to see if you smelled the same aromas.
4. Take the first sip
It’s about time, lads and gals. Take the first sip. If you are a beginner, the first sip will overwhelm you. It’s normal for your taste buds to feel overwhelmed with the alcohol in the first sip.
Don’t worry about this. Instead, try moving past the strong alcohol taste and notice if you can already detect some flavors in it.
5. Take a sip again and explore the flavors
Now that your tongue has been accustomed to the alcohol, take another sip and this time make it linger for a bit in your mouth.
Notice all the bursts of flavor that you can taste like cinnamon, peat, fruits, etc. These flavors can also take you to special memories like mom’s Christmas pudding, or a perfectly stress-free night.
Just like with the nosing, try and take notes of all the flavors you noticed and compare them to the tasting notes of your whisky.
Some people like to add a few drops of water to dilute the whisky and bring out more flavors and you can also do that!
As for the finish, you can tell if it’s a short, medium, or long finish depending on the time it took for the flavors to linger in your mouth after swallowing.
6. Expand your Whisky Palate
Whisky is quite an expensive hobby.. however, we asked our whisky experts some tips on how to taste lots of whiskies without breaking the bank.
Because let’s be honest.. Many people buy whisky bottles that they end up not liking. This is such a waste, especially for beginners!
Our experts told us that before the pandemic happened, they used to advise beginners to go to bars and order whisky shots so they can taste the ones they want before buying the whole bottle.
However, as per safety protocols, we can’t do that at the moment. But don’t worry, we found a company that provides whisky tasting kits so you can have whisky tasting experiences from the comfort of your own home.
Drambox Ph provides expert-curated whisky tasting sets for whisky lovers nationwide. Their most popular set? The Introduction to the World of Whisky Set.
As you go along on your journey, you can select other tasting sets according to your taste like Irish Whiskies, Japanese Drams, Bourbon, etc.
Hope these instructions helped you! For any whisky-related inquiries and purchases, feel free to message us or explore our huge collection of whisky offerings here.