Life is too short to drink bad whiskey. But how to choose the best from the zillions of whiskeys which are available in the market?
This article focuses on the whiskey tasting etiquettes which one should follow in order to find your kind of perfect whiskey.
As a general note, tasting is not just the business of the tongue but a combined undertaking of all of one’s senses.
- Your auditory faculty is to be used first. Keenly listen when the whiskey is poured from the bottle to the glass. Let that sound ringing in your ears and let it be in your mind until the next sense is aroused. Listen to the smoothness of the whiskey as it is being gently poured into the glass; to the light murmur, it makes as it fills slowly in the glass.
- The eyes play the next important role in the tasting. Notice the beautiful bottle of the whiskey, the glass to which the whiskey is to be poured and the color of the liquid gold. These are the initial bits that stimulate and tantalizes the sense of sight.
There is no specific glassware as to which one should serve whiskeys but any glassware with a wide base would do. This is to serve for the “swirl” which is important in aerating the drink so as to bring about the best flavor from the whiskey. While doing the swirl, one’s eyes must closely follow how the deep golden liquid in the glass takes the turn in one swift movement, thereby exciting the sense of sight.
- The next sense is the olfactory sense. Take a deep breath from inside the glass, filling your nostrils with the aroma of the whiskey. Let it be there for a second or two and then slowly let them out through your mouth. By this, the aroma of the whiskey fills the palate thereby making it ready to receive the liquid gold in the glass.
- One may also add a small amount of water to the whiskey for many deep aromas are released by the addition of water. Be careful not add too much of water or you’ll end up diluting it too much, thus completely ruining the whole idea of tasting.
- Give the whiskey one more swirl and slowly, very slowly take a sip. Let it stay there for a minute or two. Give the whiskey a slight gurgle in your mouth which further aerates the drink, releasing more aroma and flavor. Then slowly chew it a bit and then swallow it. A burning sensation would definitely occur, thanks to the alcoholic content. A slight itch too might follow but all these are the parts of the tasting procedure and be sure to note down them all.
Keep coffee beans handy while tasting whiskeys. This helps to cleanse the palate before the next session. Also avoid cigars, other beverages, snacks and cologne, and scented candles etc. during a tasting session for this might interfere with the tasting and the exact essence of the whiskey might be lost.
Finding the perfect match: Some recommendations
Now you have a basic idea about whiskey tasting but where to find the perfect match for yourself? You may visit a local bar with some good collection of whiskeys or go to a tasting session. Also, to enhance your experience you can add bitters to your whiskey, although beginners may not like these whiskey minions as they are very strong flavored, veterans would surely love them.
Some whiskey recommendations to meet your tastes and budgets:
- Bird Dog Whiskey
If you are a fan of flavored whiskey, then bird dog whiskey is the one for you. It comes in different flavors, such as peach, chocolate, Apple, Spiced, Cinnamon. It can be had straight up or in your favorite cocktails.
- Auchentoshan American Oak
This whiskey, with its gentle but complex notes, is suitable for beginners and for those who do not prefer a stronger flavor profile.
- Johnny Walker black label
Well, this needs no introduction. Enjoy the smoky caramel notes with a bottle of Johny Walker Balck label. A must try for all the Whiskey lovers.
- Blade and bow 22 year
This is a wonderful blend of ordinary stock with the most coveted bourbon and that too limited edition.
- The Dalmore 15
This is a wonderful single malt from the Dalmore distillery, a great scotch whiskey with a perfect balance of sweetness and spice.
- Highland Park 25 year
Whiskeys are said to become more potent as they age and most people have a hard time distinguishing the flavors. But Highland Park has done a great job in creating deep yet subtle layers of flavors in the whiskey, giving it a kind of “Maya” feeling.
Whiskey drinking is an art. Treat the drink with respect and dignity: never gulp down the drink. Take at least ten long sips so that the complete flavor fills in the palate. Follow the aforesaid steps to have a unique experience with your drink.
Lastly, remember – “ Whiskey, just like wine, is bottled poetry”, all poetry is to be savored slowly and gracefully so as to dive deep into its meaning!