Whiskey might just be one of the greatest beverages on the planet. But don’t let us persuade you. If for some reason you haven’t already taken up enjoying the spirit, now is the perfect time. It is the “water of life” after all! Corn-based whiskey, single malt, blended, whiskey couldn’t be more diverse. You can drink it neat, shake it or stir it into a cocktail but first, learn how to taste whiskey with these tasting tips. Conquer these five steps and you’ll be living your best whiskey life.
Step 1: Set the right stage
You can’t start tasting whiskey with just any bottle. Or any ambiance. Whiskey drinking is an art and should be respected as such. Whether you’re on your own or with friends, find the right place where you can focus on the drink and taste your whiskey in peace. A cosy bar or at home or your favorite neighborhood haunt. Then build a starting lineup of good craft whiskey. RackHouse Whiskey Club is a great way to introduce small-batch craft whiskey that you might otherwise not know about to your home bar.
Step Two: Focus on the color
Part of the fun in tasting whiskey is to guess the type and age of your drink. Once you’ve poured your first whiskey into a glass, have a look at the beverage in the light. A first rule of thumb is the darker your drink is, the more matured. Once you have a clear guess as to the age and type of your drink, move on to the next step.
Step Three: Use your nose first
The fastest and easiest way to reveal the flavor of the whiskey is through your nose. The aroma is a clue as to what you’re about to drink. Bring your glass up to your nose and take a deep breath. Try to identify which aromas you notice: smoke, flowers, caramel, vanilla, etc.
Step Four: Savor the taste
Whiskey is meant to savor so don’t rush through this next step. The key to tasting your drink is to let it swirl around your mouth. Take a small sip and coat your mouth with it before swallowing. Notice the texture. Is the texture dry? Creamy? What flavors do you notice? Do the flavors match the aromas or is there something new?
Step Five: Finish strong
Once you’ve swallowed the sip, pay attention to the flavor that lingers on your palate. How long does the flavor last? This is the finish of the whiskey. A good whiskey will have a long and consistent finish. This allows the drinker to appreciate the overall taste or in other words all of the flavors, notes and aromas combined.
You’ll start to recognize patterns and discover types of whiskey that you like better than others. That’s the fun of whiskey tasting. As a novice, it’s best to start with your drink neat because ice can dilute the whiskey and change the flavor profile. The same goes for cocktail recipes. You can graduate to those later!
If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy different types of craft whiskey, check out RackHouse Whiskey Club. RackHouse scours the U.S. looking for the best distilleries with the most interesting stories to curate a unique subscription box filled with full-sized bottles of hard-to-find small batch whiskey. We’re building a community of premium craft whiskey drinkers and you’re invited. Join us!