Whiskey, Scotch

A Beginner’s Guide For Tasting The Scotch

Tasting Scotch WhiskiesMany people are unaware of what a Scotch is. A whisky made in Scotland that has been aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels, is called Scotch. You must consult the SWA definition for more information about scotch. Single-malt scotch is the type of scotch that has been refined from malted barley only. The scotch is clear and produces a vodka-like taste when the ‘new-make’ spirits depart the stills. The unique color and a distinctive taste of the scotch depend on the aging it takes in oak barrels. A mixture known as ‘blended scotch’ includes some quantities of malt whisky as well as grain whisky, where the latter is purified through cereal grains except malted barley.  The instructions given below apply to any of kind of scotch or quality alcohol that must be tasted.

Firstly, a glass must be chosen for pouring the scotch into. For this step, take a wine glass that is relatively thinner from the top, e.g. ‘tulip’ glass or brandy snifter. These are considered the best types compared to others when it comes to pour scotch. You must then pour at least one ounce of scotch into the chosen glass, and gently spin it around just like the glass full of scotch. This will instantly discharge the volatile vapors and will make it a bit thicker.

Secondly, you must nose it. Many people are of the view that actual pleasure in tasting the scotch is through smelling odor of the scotch. Thousands of volatile mixtures are present in the scotch and research shows that these can only be detected through our olfactory senses. Keep the nose one inch above the border of the glass and then slightly tilt the glass towards yourself to sniff the scotch. Pull the glass a little backwards when you feel an irritating odor from the scotch or your nostrils feel like burning. Else, try to stick your nose nearer to the glass if you do not smell much. Try to differentiate the aromas or notes coming out of the glass of scotch by sniffing the scotch with greater concentration. Before that, you must also adjust the position of the glass of scotch in order to smell all the odors coming out of the glass.

Thirdly, just take a small sip of the scotch if you taste for the first time. You must ensure that it only covers the exterior side of your tongue. Then, more importantly, keep the scotch in your mouth for a minimum time of 10 seconds. This might burn the tongue if you are not habitual at using the straight spirits. Your eyes might even water while you are taking a sip of scotch. The burning will reduce after several seconds pass. Then you will definitely begin to taste the sweetness of the scotch. Spin the scotch around your mouth as you make sure that the whole surface of your tongue is covered. Now that you have learned to swallow it, try to pick different flavors and taste them.

Fourthly, if you think you have held the scotch in your mouth for more than ten seconds then you must notice that the scotch is smoothly going down without even burning your throat. You must open mouth and breath the scotch slowly out.  Additionally, you should notice that the flavors of scotch you took in remained stuck to your tongue, walls, and gums of your mouth. Here you are, at the finishing phase, i.e. this phase of taking a sip of scotch will last from a matter of few minutes to several hours. Some volatile odors will be tasted while you are gently breathing in and out.

Lastly, as you are fully aware of smelling and tasting the scotch, you must keep experimenting now with tasting different flavors of scotch. Add water to your scotch for opening up new flavors and tastes. You must also try to keep the large sips of scotch in your mouth from now on. During taking larger sip, you must avoid choking and vomiting. Also, you must be creative in discovering the flavors of scotch that are not found easily. Above all, enjoy using varied glasses to taste the different aromas of scotch.