Gathering with friends this season and looking to spread some holiday cheer? Consider hosting an intimate holiday whiskey tasting. Enjoy our whiskies with friends and family while sharing the finer points of tasting — not just drinking — our remarkable spirits. Touch on finish, notes, and more with the below guide…
Touch: A proper whiskey tasting begins at its most primary level. When picking a glass, it’s best to choose a tulip-shaped one with a stem. The bulbous shape makes the whiskey easy to swirl, while the narrow rim accentuates every note. A Glencairn glass is also optimal for tasting.
Sight: Once you’ve poured your whiskey, it’s time to give a quick look — or two. Assess the color by tilting the glass at a 45 degree angle over some light or against a white background. The color of whiskey can range from a pale yellow to a deep brown. What does this color range imply? Generally, the darker the whiskey, the more concentrated the flavor. The color can also contain subtle clues about the environment it was casked in. Check out the below graph from Whisky Magazine as a reference.
Scent (Nose): The key to smelling whiskey is to be gentle. Waft the scent by swirling the glass around and softly take the aromas in. Repeat a few times to get a proper evaluation. To attain a clearer scent profile, you can also try inching your nose a bit further into the glass. But remember to be careful.
Taste (Palate): It’s finally time to approach the whiskey. Akin to smelling, tasting should begin in a gradual approach. Gently take in a few sips to let your palate adjust. Drinking whiskey in tiny volumes allows you to sift through the taste of alcohol and pick up on subtle notes. Once adjusted, take in a bit more. Swirl it around in your mouth to completely coat your tongue. As you taste, you should be thinking about the texture, taste, and notes. Consult the chart below when nosing and tasting the whiskey.
Finishing Touches (Finish): The whiskey tasting process does not end once you swallow. In fact, the finish is one of the most important steps in tasting. The finish is the taste that lingers in your mouth after you spit or swallow the whiskey. What is the taste? How is it different?
Ready to put the above theories into practice with family and friends? Pick up a bottle or two of Joseph Magnus and conduct your own remarkable tasting. Available for purchase here or find a store near you.