How to master… the art of whisky tasting
Bored of your regular tipple? Want to drink the drink of manly men? If the answer’s yes, then it’s time to get into whisky tasting. With so many varieties on the market, we know it can be hard figuring out where to start. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Stuart McNamara, Editor of IrishWhiskey.com, to bring you this neat guide that’ll get you into the whisky spirit.
Get the right kit
First things first, you’ll obviously need some whisky. But, don’t let the hefty price tag on a bottle of bourbon put you off. Most stores let you buy by the dram – or a wee-sized portion – so you can discover which whiskies you like best, without splashing major cash.
Next, you’ll need one of those fancy Glencairn whisky glasses that curves inwards at the top. You can then sniff, swirl and then swirl some more without getting whisky all over your mates. And, on the subject of mates, whisky tasting is always better with them around – you’re guaranteed to have a barrel of laughs.
So, you’ve poured your whisky into your dram. What on earth do you do next? Although it’s tempting to down it, it’s all about giving it a sniff first. Stuart’s top tip is to close your eyes while you nose it as this heightens your senses.
Pay attention to all the aromas wafting up your nose. Does it smell like a log fire, seaweed or maybe even your grandad’s musty study? It may be hard to swallow, but with whisky-tasting you get to decide!
Taste the tipple
Now onto the tasting. Notice how the tipple tastes in your mouth. Is it sweet, peaty, smooth or fruity? Diluting the whisky with water is a great way to bring out the flavour but adding ice is a big no-no. As Stuart says, “would you add ice to a £50 bottle of wine?” Exactly. It’s also a gentleman’s tradition to never water another man’s whisky, so don’t do it if your relationship is on the rocks.
Stuart’s top five whiskies
Irish, American, scotch, single malt – if you’re not sure which whisky to try first, here’s Stuart’s pick. We’ve given them a try and trust us – you definitely need to gives these a shot.
- Haig Club – A light and young whisky that’s ideal for pairing with ice and mixers.
- Glenfiddich – You can’t go wrong with this classic Scotch whisky. It comes in a malt, wood and peat flavour, and it’s easy to find.
- Laphroaig – This ‘real hairy chest’ Scotch whisky isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s also Prince Charles’ favourite whisky!
- Tullamore Dew – This wonderful tipple is a mixture of Irish single malt, pot still and grain whiskey, triple distilled for extra smoothness.
- Hyde whiskey – This pure single malt Irish whiskey is bursting with flavour. If it’s good enough for the President, it should be good enough for you!
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