What is a Whiskey Tasting?
Although a tasting can take many forms, we’re comparing multiple whiskeys using similarities and differences to better understand each spirit. Have fun! Unless you’re being paid to taste whiskey (if so, congratulations!), then the idea is to better your understanding and appreciation and to have fun while doing it. If you can’t smile and laugh during a whiskey tasting, then you might be doing it wrong.
How Many & How Much?
Amount you pour for your guests is up to you but will likely depend on the number of spirits you’ll sample. As a responsible host you don’t want to over serve guests, especially if they’re driving. That said, anywhere from a 1/2 to 1 oz pour works well.
It’s always a good idea to offer water to your guests to keep them hydrated and to reset their palate between samples. Age old debate as to whether one should water down the sample or whether whiskey should be served neat or on the rocks. For a tasting whiskey should always be served at room temperature so no ice. However, adding a drop or two of water can unlock or reveal certain aromas or flavors difficult to observe at higher concentrations of alcohol.
Why Analyze Whiskey?
We’re looking to do our best to objectively observe the individual components of the whiskey and move beyond basics of I like it or I don’t like it. To help better understand the reasons you may enjoy or dislike a particular whiskey we focus on 3 basic criteria we’ll use to compare and contrast.
By focusing on these 3 variables we can guide our senses through the tasting process.
They’re also in order of how we’ll interact with each whiskey and conduct the tasting.
First we’ll take a look at each of the samples. After taking whatever visual cues we can we’ll smell each sample and then move onto tasting. Following this process allows us to break down each of the three steps further without compromising any of the senses we’ll need for the next step of the process while also picking up any information we can to inform the next step.