If you and Whiskey were in a Facebook relationship – the status would be “complicated”. That’s because whiskey is complex. It’s full of diverse flavours. So what you need to do is celebrate it, get to know it. Take your time to learn it’s complexities.
Where do these flavours come from? Like scrolling through your date’s’ old Facebook posts and photos helps you get to know them better, let’s look at the history of the whiskey. Majority of the flavours of whiskey come from the cask oak barrel in which it matures. Sometimes these barrels can be hundreds of years old, just imagine the stories they could tell!
A few other things that could influence flavour before the ageing process can be: the water source, the grain used, the peat and the yeast. But I think we are getting a bit too personal – when we are still on the first date… let’s get back to the flavours.
But how do you get to know these flavours you may ask? You willing to take the time to get to know your whiskey but it doesn’t seem to be sharing its secrets.
Now, remember, when you getting to know someone you want them to be comfortable – dressed to impress you could say. For your whiskey that is the right glass. A snifter is the best, it is like a wine glass but stubbier with a narrower rim. If you’re at a whiskey tasting and they don’t have one, you might just be at the wrong place. If you’re at home and getting to know your whiskey, you can enjoy it in a wine glass.
Give your whiskey a sniff, not a great big one sticking your nose inside the glass, but a small one above the rim. We are not looking for any specific flavours yet. When you’re getting to know someone you let them open up to you, just so let the whiskey smell come to you. Don’t be concerned with what other tasters might be tasting, each to their own and flavours will transform with each sniff.
Next, the taste, sip a small sip, with your mouth in an “o” shape and suck in some air. Watch out, it may take your breath away, especially whiskies of higher strength. Roll it around your mouth. What do you taste? If your answer is alcohol, don’t fret. I’m sure you’ve met a person with a harsh tongue, only to later realise they have more to them, and much heart. A few sips might start to bring out the flavours.
Hosting a whiskey party is a superb way to get introduced to more whiskeys, and find a new favourite. A highly revered whiskey, with a surprising price tag, is the 3 Ships 5-year-old.
Most of all remember, take your time to get to know your whiskey.
If you enjoyed your first whiskey experience and you’d like to explore some paired foods to bring out the flavours – read our article about Whiskey pairings here. We could call it a second date!