Setting up your whisky tasting. The basics..
Decide how many different whiskys you are going to taste, will it be a blind tasting or not ? you should then arrange the same number of glasses for each whisky, then the same amount for each person, that is if you are having guests. Pour an equal measure of whisky into each glass. You don’t need to over do it, after all you might be having several drams.
Your first step is to hold the glass up to the light and observe the whisky’s colour. Describe what colour you see, is it light, straw coloured, golden, ruby, and so on.. Whisky that is light in color is usually lighter in flavor, while darker whiskys can be more full-flavored. Also whisky that is aged longer are usually darker.
Before you nose your whisky gently swirl your glass around to release the aromas of the whisky. When you nose these aromas, you might pick up aromas such as “fruity, spicy, cinnamon, dark chocolate, liquorice, dried fruits, whatever you think you can detect it is right, everyone has different opinions, so don’t worry if you get things no one else does, do not try to sniff too hard, you might get an alcohol burn up your nose. Then you will not get the aromas you’re looking for. Take your time, enjoy what you detect..
It is now time to taste the whisky, look for the flavors that you detected when you nosed the whisky. These flavors may be fruity ( green apple, oranges, pears ) dark chocolate, spicy ( ginger, pepper, cinnamon ) smokey, liquorice, toffee, vanilla.. Remember that you will not be wrong, it is your opinion, everyone will taste something different since we all have different palates.
Decide if the finish is… Short-medium- long, is it dry, sweet, and most of all.. Did you enjoy it ?
Cleanse your mouth and glass if using the same glass with fresh water. It is now the time to repeat the process with the next whisky.
Once you have learned more about whisky through your whisky tastings, you can learn to appreciate the subtle flavors and aromas.
If you are a first time whisky taster don’t worry if you don’t pick up many aromas or flavours, this will come in time.