How to Taste Whiskey

The world of whiskey is incredibly vast, as any avid whiskey lover will tell you, ranging from scotch to bourbon, blended to single malt, Irish to Scottish to Japanese…the list is endless. The question is though, where to begin? Our recommendation is to taste as many varieties as possible, along with some tips and tricks to help you on your tasting journey.

Our next will be a whiskey tasting event at Palazzo Preca

The world of whiskey is incredibly vast, as any avid whiskey lover will tell you, ranging from scotch to bourbon, blended to single malt, Irish to Scottish to Japanese…the list is endless. The question is though, where to begin? Our recommendation is to taste as many varieties as possible, along with some tips and tricks to help you on your tasting journey.

  1. Tasting ain’t drinking

The idea is to experience the whiskey, evaluate different aromas and flavours as they develop both in your glass and as you taste it. Sip a little bit at a time, just as you would wine.

2. What’s in a glass?

The ideal glass for tasting is based on personal preference. Some whiskey enthusiasts would recommend the Glencairn glasses: narrow at the top and bulbous at the bottom. Similar to wine glasses, this shape allows the drinker to swirl the shot and capture the aromas at the top. The simple “rocks” glass has a wider mouth, allowing for some of the alcohol fumes to dissipate and the aromas come forward more.

3. Colour holds meaning

Hold the glass up against a white background, or up towards the light. Whiskey can range from pale straw to vibrant amber, to a deep, nutty brown. Generally speaking, the darker the colour, the more concentrated the flavour.

4. Take a whiff, gently!

We recommend you resist the temptation to cram your nose into the glass and hold it there, as you might do with wine. Whiskey has a much higher alcohol by volume content, normally starting at 40% and going up from there. You don’t want to numb your nose to the gorgeous scents about to come your way. Smell it gently – some pros recommend you leave your mouth slightly open – and savour the nostalgia that comes with the fruit, smoke or caramel scents that may surprise you with each transformative whiff.

5. Sip small, savour all

The key to tasting whiskey is to drink it differently than when drinking beer and wine. Experts recommend having a small sip and enjoying the developing flavours with the least amount of alcohol possible. It is recommended to allow for your palate to adjust to the alcohol, and then take another sip to truly experience the myriad flavours from the various bottles usually offered at whiskey tastings.

6. Experience the finish

Tasting whiskey truly is an experience from start to end, and often the aftertaste, or finish, is given a lot of importance. The flavour should linger long after you swallow (or if you must, spit) the whiskey. Enjoy the finish as it evolves on your palate and gently fades away.

7. Water and ice are not your enemy

The most common misconception is that diluting high quality whiskey is a mortal sin, however experts recommend adding a couple of drops of water to unlock the different aromas and flavour after having tasted your whiskey neat. A chunk of ice added to higher alcohol whiskeys will dilute your glass gradually as it melts, however this is recommended with a full pour rather than a brief tasting.

8. No fright, just flight

While anything aviation-related goes down like a barrel on a hill top with us, a flight in whiskey nomenclature refers to a specific category of the wonderful world of whiskey. Rye, bourbon, scotch, you name it. Try different bottles of the same make and you’ll start to notice the nuances between them.

You are now ready to delve deep into the dazzling diverse world of whiskey. Why not start with us on the 16th of December, at the magical Palazzo Preca in Valletta? We’ll be showcasing a flight of scotch whiskey and pairing it with chocolate bonbons. We know that five varieties are quite the test for even the most experienced of whiskey drinkers, which is why we’ll be serving you with a cocktail and some nibbles to get you started. For more information and details on how to reserve your spot, click the link https://www.facebook.com/events/716987795453936/

See you there!

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