How to Taste Whisky.

How to Taste Whisky

1. Colour

Take note of the appearance. Hold the glass up to the light - is it clear, green-y, golden, or dark? Colour doesn't always reveal age, but it usually indicates how the whisky was matured.

  • Clear often indicate it's relatively new
  • A green-y brown colour would tell you that it'll have herb/vegetation flavours
  • A yellow-y/golden colour may say bourbon or even just that it was aged in a new cask
  • Finally a darker, more golden colour - probably a more mature Whisky, aged in a port or sherry cask

2. Watch the Legs

Hold the glass at an angle and rotate the glass, spinning the whisky around the walls of the glass. Hold the glass up and watch as the liquid runs down the walls of the glass. The Whisky rolling down the walls is referred to as the 'legs' of the Whisky. Older Whiskies will roll down walls more slowly.

3. Aroma

The aroma Whisky produces is half the taste. Shut your eyes and slowly pass the glass under your nose, breathing in through the nose with a deep breath that contracts your stomach. What does the smell remind you of? Is it smokey? Fruity? Oaky? Medicinal? Repeat this process as much as you'd like. Let the aroma linger and tease your palate before taking a splash.

4. Taste

Inside your mouth, move your tongue into a the shape of a spoon as if it's about to hold the liquid gold. Sip the glass, just enough that it fills the cup of your tongue. Experience the flavours of the Whisky, note them as you experience each. Whisky flavours are complex and change every second they're on your tongue. But don't drink it all just on.

5. Add Some Water

It's now time to do it all again after adding a drop or two of water. Whether you normally take your Whisky with water or not, taking a second taste with some H20 opens the Whisky up in a different way to reveal more information about the flavour, assisting you in identifying the more complex parts.