Drink Whiskey Correctly: In 11 proven steps to the expert – Goose liquor

Answer the following question about "Whiskey tasting":

"How do you rate your level in whiskey tasting? Beginner, intermediate or expert?

Your answer to this is important because it will tell you which tastings you visit, which whiskeys you buy and how much "success" you have in tasting whiskey.

I bet you position yourself in the "advanced" group.

Perhaps you are wondering now how I come to this assumption?

Because most do.

If you've already tasted one or two whiskeys, you no longer see yourself as a beginner, but you also do not want to be overbearing and present yourself as an expert.

Some time ago, I started a poll asking 100 whiskey fans exactly the same question as you.

Look at the result.

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That's what you'll find in this article

Choose the right whiskey glass

You do not need much to enjoy whiskey. Only the spirit itself and a glass.

It does not matter what that is. Nosing glass, tumbler, cognac-swivel etc.

Do you have preferences for a specific glass, use this. For example, if you have an emotional story in your head, if you drink whiskey from a cognac-swivel, then a professional nosing-glass can not keep up here.

Use the glass for whiskey enjoyment, which gives you the most pleasure.

Maybe you noticed. I've deliberately written "whiskey enjoyment" rather than "whiskey tasting".

Because while you can have fun with a whiskey with different glass shapes, this one needs a certain shape as soon as you want to analyze Single Malts & Co.

In this case you need a "Nosing-Glas". One in which the body is connected to the ground by a stem. The opening of the glass body should also be narrower than its lower part.

If you want to know more about what makes a professional nosing glass and how much whiskey, you best pour, we have written the appropriate article for you here:

Which whiskey glass should I take?

What gives you color and look about a whiskey

Before you even bring the glass of whiskey close to your nose or mouth, another of your senses already reacts to the distillate: your sense of sight.

Many whiskey fans underestimate this and make a fatal mistake. Because what we absorb with our eyes processes our subconscious mind in much the same way as what our nose or mouth discovers.

What's more, the visual appeal of a whiskey inevitably influences what you smell and taste. And the older you get, the more these impressions change.

Color perception and sensitivity decrease with age. Persons between the ages of 60 and 90 are becoming less aware of yellow tones.

To make it clear to you that our opinion of a whiskey is always subject to our visual impressions, take an ex-sherry whiskey.

This has – depending on the age – a clear red-brown color. Our subconscious associates this with flavors that we associate with it throughout our lives. Raisins, prunes etc.

In many whiskeys of this style you can actually discover such notes. But even if these were scientifically undetectable, you could discover them because of your subconscious mind.

The same is true of the intensity and complexity of a whiskey. We often combine bright, cream-colored whiskeys with fruity aromas, but we attribute little intensity, maturity and complexity to them.

Whiskys, on the other hand, which have a rich copper or henna color, are often equated with high complexity and intensity.

You see, our spontaneous impressions of what we have right now are not always correct. So to drink whiskey "right", it is important that you are aware of it.

So, next time you try a single malt, bourbon, etc. then pay attention to the following optical properties before you take your first sip:

  • Viscosity ("oiliness" of the drops on the glass wall)
  • colour
  • transparency

In order to better assess the color, we have designed a color wheel for you. With this you can classify the colors that you encounter with a single malt Scotch whiskey.

Color wheel whiskey

How to decipher the aromas and bouquet of a whiskey

This is – without question – the most important step in the tasting of a single malts. If you drink a whiskey, you may discover a handful of flavors, but usually more flavors.

In an average malt, you will find around 80 different ones. Apple, coconut, varnish etc.

The chemical compounds float in the liquid, enter the gas phase, and wait to be discovered by you.

You just have to know how.

Decrypting the bouquet – the sum of all flavors – is one of the most complex tasks in tasting a whiskey. However, also one of the most exciting, and the one with the most beautiful moments of success.

In order to get the maximum out of a glass, we have been using the following approach for years:

Why should you let your whiskey breathe?

This step may sound banal. But believe me when I say that I have seen many whiskey fans already making a stinging mistake here.

Not only does the whiskey "breathe" mean that you are not drinking it or leading it to the nose, but actually leaving it alone.

Do not pan. Especially not as if it were a centrifuge. Many whiskey fans wave from the first moment as they hold the glass in their hands until the moment they bring it to their noses.

That is counterproductive.

Because if you create a permanent vortex in your glass, then you bring both gaseous molecules and those in the liquid in such a strong circular motion that they do not come out sufficiently to the glass opening.

Better: Swing the whiskey in the glass 2 to 3 times. Then turn off the whiskey and stop touching it for about 1 minute. This will give the molecules enough time to ascend.

Focus on your favorite nostril

As soon as we pick up a pen to write something down, we realize it. With one side of our body, we can do things that make us much dizier with our other side.

In left / right handedness this is not worth a word. However, few people are aware that they can apply this to their nostrils.

That means one of your two nostrils can see the flavors of one whiskey much better than the other.

I suppose if you put your signature under a document, you do not do it like a toddler. You do not take the pen in both hands, ball it into fists and go criss-cross over the leaf.

Instead, use your pen and hand to gracefully guide the pen to a small part of the document. So why should like to taste a whiskey with a similar gross motor skills as the child just mentioned?

It just does not make sense.

And yet you can see at many fairs and tastings that many enthusiasts simply put their noses in the glass and suck.

That may provide you with a few flavors, but not all.

Better: Hold the glass opening about 1 centimeter below your nose and slowly swing it from one nostril to the other. Concentrate on the side where you feel that the bouquet is clearer and more intense.

This is the most effective method of Per– respectively. orthonasalen Tasting, i. the direct smell.

Once you have mastered this technique, you should focus on the alcohol content. Whiskey must by regulation at least 40% Vol. Own alcohol. Often, however, its value is significantly higher.

This sometimes causes your mucous membranes and sensory cells in the nose to despair. They are so busy with the alcohol that they have no time for other – important – flavors.

If so, open your mouth slightly while you smell the whiskey. As a result, the whiskey circulates between the nose and mouth and is thereby enriched with fresh air.

This not only makes the effects of alcohol easier, but also reveals one or the other flavor.

Both the choice of nostril and the fresh air circulation are two techniques that you should have in mind when drinking a whiskey.

Through this you will discover numerous flavors that otherwise would have remained hidden to you. Regardless of whether it is from the fermentation, the pre-medium, medium or final maturation or barrel aging.

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If the whiskey ends up in your mouth, the first thing you discover is alcohol. If almost half of the contents of the bottle consists of this, then this is not surprising.

Regardless of whether the whiskey has a burning or soft character: Do not judge it after the first sip.

In this, your mouth is just busy doing something against the alcohol.

As soon as he gets used to it – after 2 to 3 sips – you can start the actual tasting.

That's how you judge the body of your whiskey

Like us, the body of a whiskey has something to do with weight. Not measurable like 2 feet on the scales, but noticeable.

Take a sip of your whiskey, put it on your tongue and answer the following question: Is the whiskey heavy?

Your answer may look like this:

… he is easy

… medium heavy

… heavy

More about this topic

What is texture and mouthfeel?

To put it briefly, texture and mouthfeel are synonyms. Both describe the feeling that the whiskey in your mouth triggers.

This is probably one of the topics most neglected in tasting. This feeling has a decisive influence on how you judge the whiskey.

To help you discover the mouthfeel of Irish Whiskeys, we would like to give you the so-called Mouthfeel wheel provide.

It helps you to better judge and classify the texture of your whiskey.

Download the Mouthfeel-Wheel for a whiskey-tasting free of charge.

Do not confuse taste with bouquet

People who have nothing to do with the professional tasting of luxury foods sometimes make it easy.

What rises in the nose are smell and aromas, which ends up in the mouth, provides flavor.

For you as a whiskey fan who wants to analyze a single malt in detail, the reality is more complex.

You recognize taste in the mouth, throat and sometimes even in the lungs. Both in the mouth and on the mucous membranes, you have receptors for all tastes:

  • Salty
  • Angry
  • Sweet
  • Bitter
  • Umami (hearty)

In the lungs there are additional receptors for "bitter".

Let's get rid of all the points that science is not yet in agreement on, where to classify them – e.g. Metallic – then only flavors remain.

Do you recognize in the mouth apple, caramel or vanilla are these part of the bouquet and not the taste.

And now comes the trick: Even if the impression is misleading, you do not recognize the bouquet in the mouth. Only your nose is responsible for that.

That you also perceive these notes in the mouth, is due to the open connection between nose and mouth.

tipIf you have the whiskey in your mouth, throw it back and forth with your tongue a few times. Inhale through the nose. This part of the tasting is called retronasal Tasting.

Watch for the reverberation

The echo designates exactly what you already suspect. It's the impressions the whiskey leaves in the mouth and nose after you've swallowed it.

Exhale through the nose, to take as many flavors as possible.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which flavors do I recognize?
  • Which taste is left behind?
  • Is the alcohol soft or spicy?

Should water or ice cubes in the whiskey?

For many whiskey fans, this is a basic question: Can I drink whiskey with ice?

The problem is, however, that this question has already been put wrong. It implies that any higher authority could forbid me to put one or more ice cubes in my whiskey.

But they do not exist.

So if you like to drink a single malt whiskey with ice, then do it. Best suited for this are large round ice cubes.

Their shape melts slowly, keeping the whiskey cool for a long time without diluting it.

However, if you want to discover the maximum of flavors in a whiskey, you should abstain from ice cream. In addition, the water content makes the texture of the whiskey piece by piece oily.

Without you being able to control this.

For the analysis of a whiskey, it is therefore better to pay attention to the right temperature. As a rule of thumb, you can orient yourself here at around 20 ° C.

If you want to know more about the right temperature, it will help you to familiarize yourself with the home styles of each distillery.

Instead of ice, you should then resort to a few drops of water. Especially with whiskeys beyond the 50% Vol. This procedure is suitable because it allows water-soluble aromas to rise better from the glass.

Add so many drops until the whiskey has the most pleasant bouquet and the most exciting texture for you.

If you are not sure how much water you can add to your whiskey, we have put together a detailed guide to assist you:

What is the best alcohol content in whiskey?