Have you ever wanted to become more of an expert in single malt whisky? If so, then we have our top 5 tips on how to taste the single malts. With it being Hogmanay, much more of Scotland’s national drink will be consumed today. But, if you are a discerning drinker, then you won’t be going for quantity, but for quality. So how can you know your Highland malts from your Islay’s or your blended from your single casks? Read on to find out more
Top 5 Single Malt Tasting Tips
- Get the right glass. This is an essential piece of equipment for any whisky expert. It’s called a Glencairn glass. It has a narrower top to allow the wonderful aromas of whisky to come through. If you can’t get a Glencairn glass, then a sherry glass will be just fine.
- Look. There’s much that you can tell from just looking. What are you looking for? Colour: this can give an indication of the type of cask it was matured in, and therefore, the tastes to expect. Generally, lighter whiskies are from bourbon casks and have sweeter flavour; darker whiskies are from sherry casks and have a more fruity flavour. Give the glass a swirl and see what happens. If short tears form that drip fast, this will be an alcohol content of around 40%. If the tears are larger and drip slower, then this is a good indication of it being cask strength.
- Smell. Get your nose right in the glass and gently smell the aromas. Try to associate the smells with smells you already are familiar with. Don’t worry about getting it right. We all take in smells differently. The goal isn’t to identify the ones that are on the bottle. (This sometimes is just a list of smells, written romantically to intice whisky novices!)
- Sip. Remember, you are not drinking shots of whisky. Good single malt whisky should be enjoyed and savoured. Take the first sip and swallow. Then take a second and let this linger in your mouth a bit more. A good rule of thumb is to keep the whisky in your mouth for as long as its age is. So for a 12-yo whisky – 12 seconds.
- Add water. Just a few drops though. And don’t worry about doing this. Water was added to the whisky before bottling. What this does is to open up more aromas from the whisky.
So there you have it. You are now all set to become a whisky expert by following our 5 top tips on whisky tasting.
Be sure to show off your new found skills the next time you are in company enjoy single malt whisky.
Do you have any great tips for tasting whisky? If so, be sure to share them below.