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Whisky Shop – How to Taste Whisky

Posted on 19 January 2008

whisky_range6whisky tasting you will need to use most of your senses, particularly sight, smell and taste (obviously!). Just like wine tasting there is no right or wrong way as taste is a very subjective thing. We like to think that there are five whisky tasting steps:

Step 1: Prepare for the Tasting
The tasting room shouldn’t have any extraneous smells and should have good lighting as it helps when you can see clearly. It is vital to have the correct size and shape of whisky glass as this makes a huge difference in your ability to nose effectively. Whisky tumblers bad! Instead use a snifter which will allow you to swirl the whisky in question. In a similar way to the wine glass, aromas are also captured around the rim.

Step 2: Note Appearance
Pour about an ounce of whisky and then hold the glass to the light noting its colour, depth and clarity. Appearance is often a guide to how well it has matured.

Step 3: Add Water
“Almost all whiskys benefit from the addition of water, which will open up the spirit in most cases”.

Whiskys older than 20 years old can be damaged by the addition of water so it is important to take note of this. Distilled water is used at professional tastings as it isn’t too high in mineral content which can adversely affect the experience.

Step 4: Nose the Whisky
You should now determine the ‘nose’ of the whisky – this is just the aroma. Tilt the glass, swirl and then inhale slowly so as to not inhibit your sense of smell. Whisky aromas are often layered and with some practice you will beging to note these and determine what they are.

Step 5: Taste the Whisky
Sip some of the whisky, but enough to fill your mouth and roll it over your tongue. It is important to coat your tongue by leaving the whisky in your mouth for a few seconds. You should note the texture of the whisky and try to identify the immediate tastes. You should also find that the whisky has a prominent after taste with flavours lingering in your mouth.

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