Always a good place to start with a whisky tasting, is the whisky itself. When first dabbling in the world of whisky tasting, it is always best to try as much varied whisky as you can. A great way to do this is by buying a selection of miniature bottles.
As with any liquid, you are going to need a container into which you can pour your fantastic selection of whiskies. But stop! In order to truly submerge yourself in the full whisky tasting experience you are going to require a special whisky tasting glass. Whisky tasting glasses are specially designed to direct the aromas of the whisky towards your nose, whilst allowing you to swirl its contents to release more flavour and smells.
Ready to go…
Right I think we’re ready to go. It is a good idea whilst you are starting off to take a note of everything you taste and associate with each whisky. This will help you familiarise with common flavours and smells, as well as provide you with a comparison between each different whisky to refer to.
Before you allow that precious nectar touch your lips, you must first smell. Swirl the whisky round in the glass and bring the glass to below your nose. Smelling is tasting; so allow the rich aromas to flow up the glass and captivate your sense of smell. Instead of trying to pick out individual smells try to associate what you smell with a memory. Woodwork class at school (oak, wood shavings, pine), a crackling bonfire (coal, smoke, peat), having the cold (lemon, honey). By associating these smells with actual memories you will become a lot clearer on what elements it is that you smell.
By now your mouth will be salivating and the temptation to taste will be too much, so go on have a taste. This time acknowledge how the whisky feels. Are the flavours intense or subtle? Does it leave your mouth dry or is it refreshing? Are more flavours introduced as you taste? As you swallow are you left with any lingering tastes?
Open the Flavour
Taste the whisky again, but this time add a few drops of water to the glass. This will open up the whisky and expose the delicate flavours that make up its character.
Practice makes perfect
The more you practice your whisky tasting skills the more acute you will become to understanding each individual whisky and its character. Hold tasting parties and invite your friends to join you. Blind fold yourself and test yourself on which whiskies you taste. Compare tasting notes with other whisky enthusiasts, but most importantly enjoy yourself.