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How To Taste Whisky Guide

Whisky Overview

Whisky is made from fermented grain, that is distilled, and then matured in Oak Casks.

Three main ingredients: Water, Grain, Yeast. These three ingredients have influence on flavor, just like beer.
Distillation is typically a pot still or a column still.  Whisky is most commonly double distilled or in Ireland triple distilled.
Finally, there is maturation or aging.  This is where the spirit picks up flavor from the barrel.  This is the very basics to help you follow along during this tasting.

Tasting Tips!

Your kit includes:

  • Sipping Samples (1 ounce each)
  • Tasting Notes
  • Souvenir Tasting Glass
  • Water Dropper (A distilled or filtered water is also good to have on hand for adding drops of water to your whisky sample)

Wash your tasting glass & dropper

Only pour a quarter of this sample into your glass.

Save the rest for later to come back and try again!

We recommend having something to eat before the tasting (not too much though) as it is best not to be drinking on an empty stomach. 

Suggested foods to have available to reset your palate between samples:

Crackers

Cucumbers

Plain neutral flavored bread

Having a bowl of coffee beans to put your nose into can be a way to help reset your olfactory

A distilled or filtered water is also good to have on hand for adding drops of water to your whisky sample

The flavors can be softer and sweeter if you take sips of water between your sips of whisky

Should you add ice?

This is all personal preference. The ice will cool the whisky and will dilute it. Ice is better used in a cocktail or full pour rather than a tasting. However, we will not tell you how to enjoy your whisky – add ice if you would like ice!!

Nose

Smell the sample as the olfactory is much more sensitive than the tastebuds and is an especially important part of the sensory perception.

Try keeping your mouth open as this can help dissipate the ethanal which will cause the alcohol burn. 

Experiment a little to see what works best for you.  

Try keeping your nose in the middle of the glass as you should get more esters (the good aromas).

Move your nose around and see if you get different aromas (the ethanol tends to be stronger on the edges of the glass.)   

Taste

This does not have to be complex as the main goal is to enjoy. 

There are however some techniques to get more out of it that you may want to incorporate during a tasting.

Try tasting the sample allowing it to flow to all sections of your tongue.  Even hold in in your mouth for a few seconds, and then slowly swallow a small amount at a time. 

Finish

This is what you call the “aftertaste”

When you spit or swallow the sample let the flavor linger in your mouth

Repeat

See if the second taste brings a different experience or try adding drops of water for the second taste.

Adding water is especially useful for higher proof samples and could make the world of difference to your enjoyment. Cheers!!