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What is the correct way to drink whisky?

David Stephan
June 12, 2023
11:19 am

When it comes to whisky, it is not just about pouring a glass and taking a sip. Whisky, with its rich flavours and complexities, deserves to be savoured and appreciated in the correct manner. Whether you are new to the world of whisky or a seasoned aficionado, understanding the proper way to drink whisky can enhance your overall experience and allow you to truly relish the spirit’s nuances. In this article, we will explore the correct way to drink whisky and unlock the secrets to enjoying every drop.

Choosing the Right Glassware

The first step towards drinking whisky the correct way begins with selecting the appropriate glassware. The classic choice is the Glencairn glass, designed specifically for whisky tasting. Its tulip-shaped bowl allows the aromas to concentrate while the tapered rim directs those aromas towards your nose, enhancing the olfactory experience. Alternatively, a neat tumbler or a snifter glass can also be suitable options, depending on personal preference.

Observing the Whisky:  Before diving into the tasting, take a moment to observe the whisky in your glass. Hold it up to the light and admire its color and clarity. Whiskies come in a range of hues, from pale straw to deep amber, which can provide clues about the aging process and cask types used. Swirl the glass gently to observe the “legs” or “tears” that form on the sides, indicating the whisky’s viscosity.

Nose the Whisky:  To fully appreciate the aromas of whisky, engage your sense of smell. Bring the glass to your nose and take in the scents, but avoid sticking your nose too deep into the glass. Instead, inhale gently, allowing the aromas to reach your olfactory senses. Take your time to identify the various notes, such as fruity, floral, smoky, spicy, or woody. This step helps to prepare your palate for the flavors to come.

Adding Water (Optional):  While some whisky purists prefer to enjoy their dram neat, adding a few drops of water can sometimes unlock additional flavors and reduce the alcohol’s intensity. If you choose to add water, do so sparingly using a pipette or a dropper. Start with a small amount and gradually increase it until you find the desired balance. Remember, it is a personal preference, so feel free to experiment.

Sipping and Savouring:  Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: the first sip. Take a small sip and let the whisky coat your palate. Allow the flavours to develop and evolve, paying attention to the different taste profiles. Notice the interplay of sweetness, bitterness, spiciness, and any unique characteristics of the whisky. Take your time to savour the experience, allowing the flavours to linger on your tongue before swallowing.

Appreciating the Finish:  The finish, or aftertaste, is a crucial part of the whisky-drinking experience. It refers to the flavours that remain in your mouth after swallowing. Pay attention to the length and complexity of the finish. Is it short and crisp or long and lingering? Does it leave behind pleasant notes or a subtle warmth? The finish can provide valuable insights into the whisky’s quality and craftsmanship.

Should you use ice on your whisky?

Whether or not to use ice in your whisky is a matter of personal preference. Some whisky enthusiasts argue that adding ice can dilute the flavors and aromas of the whisky, while others believe it can mellow the intensity and bring out different nuances. Ultimately, it comes down to how you enjoy your whisky.

Drinking whisky is more than just consuming a beverage; it is an art form. By following the correct way to drink whisky, you can enhance your appreciation for its flavours, aromas, and complexities. From choosing the right glassware to observing the whisky’s colour, nosing, and sipping with intention, each step contributes to a richer and more rewarding whisky-drinking experience. So, pour yourself a dram, take your time, and let the whisky unfold its secrets as you embark on a journey of taste and discovery.

Click here to explore our range of whiskies. Cheers!

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