The way to appreciate a good whisky is in the company of some like minded people. This kind of experience evokes a spirit of congeniality which enables us to share our evocative tasting inferences and makes the entire exercise much more meaningful and a lot less complex.
A true appreciation is not exactly a tasting alone, in the real term its a sensory pursuit where we explore the following attributes to appreciate the whisky better – Color, Nose, Palate, Finish
Tasting is the key to this delightful conundrum, and here we’ll take you through the basic techniques used to goad your senses into fully appreciating the many facets of fine whisky.
When buying a book the first read is the back cover, for synopsis and testimonials, in a few words it captures the essence of the read. Thats characteristic of colour in a whisky as well, for when held up between your eyes and the closest light source it gives you a snapshot of your dram. The hue talks to you, for how long the whisky has approximately slept in the barrel, which kind of barrel it was, American Oak and Sherry Oak both lend colours which are at different ends of the spectrum, one a light gold and the other towards dark amber. An interplay of different casks and ages offers a colour palette with innumerable shades.
Your eyes can tell you a story which you really have not witnessed, so look deep, look hard.
This is the most sophisticated of our senses from the four attributes given above. It has the ability to discern beyond the obvious four that the barbaric tongue does. While nosing, pour your dram into a tasting glass. Now bring the nose close and take a long slow sniff. While nosing listen to your senses completely and no one else, what you sense is the moment of your tasting, so be honest !
The nose is extremely evocative and has an ability to draw out a strong sense of correlation to your past, grandma’s chest, mother’s kitchen while she was baking, father’s old hat, rain on grass, cutting of wood. Thats how the notoriously complex to define aromas become easier to define.
Our elementary tongue throws up four well known tastes, sweet, salty, bitter and sour. However lately, many experts exceedingly use the term “umami” meaning flavour quite often used to describe meaty or savoury flavours. In our case lets go back to these four tastes, each of these four rest on the different parts of the tongue.
So it makes perfect sense, while tasting, that you take the liquid in your mouth and hold it for a few seconds. Roll it around your tongue to stimulate the taste buds before gliding it down your throat.
In addition to the taste, the tongue gives you an opportunity to interact with the liquid to understand the texture and viscosity of the liquid. Add a bit of water to your whisky to enhance your tasting experience.
This refers to the longevity of the flavour lasting in your mouth after you have swallowed it. Finish is referred as short, medium, long. A good whisky has a lingering, uniform finish where all the core aspects of tasting can still be cherished