Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tips on tasting whiskey


Tips on tasting whisky for the novice drinker:image

* Tasting whisky, like wine, is done principally with the nose. As strange as that sounds, 80 per cent of what we perceive as taste actually comes from our sense of smell, however our tongue detects the sensation often referred to as "mouthfeel," or texture of the liquid. Pungency is particularly apparent in very strong spirit, which may sting your nose and tongue and induce numbness. So you have to be careful when nosing whisky at full strength.

* Use a glass with a wide bowl and a narrower opening (like a tulip shaped wine glass but without the stem). This style of glass allows the aromas to be released from the liquid and captures them within the glass thus allowing your nose to really smell the whisky before it dissipates into the air.

* Add a couple of drops of water to release even more aromas from the liquid; this enables your nose and your palate to smell the wonderful layers of subtle characteristics.

The chemical interaction between the water and the alcohol forces the aromas out in the open. The production of many nuances of aromas often indicates a good quality whisky.

* When nosing the whisky (aka smelling), always consider the complexity. You should hold the glass beside your nose on an angle of 45 degrees moving vertically from your nose to your mouth. First, try it with your mouth closed, and then try it again with your mouth open. You should see a big difference. The aromas travel through our mouth to our olfactory receptor cells directly, thus giving us a greater depth of smell.

* Reflect on the finish of the whisky. A good quality whisky will leave a smooth, pleasant and lingering taste, and you will want to take another sip!

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