How to Taste Whisky ? All my advice to help you
Tasting a good whisky can be comparable to tasting a good wine. Nowadays, the French have become the biggest consumers of whisky in the world and yet, this alcohol still seems to be unknown. Discover all my advices to taste your whisky in the best possible conditions . Temperature, conservation, service, accompaniment: I tell you everything !
Tasting whisky: the basics to know
The choice of whisky
Whisky is a brandy produced from the grain distillation, malted or not. You can find Scotch and Irish whiskies of course, but also Japanese, American and even French. Many types of whisky are marketed today:
- the blended is a blend of several whiskies (cask blends) from different distilleries, made from different grains (barley, rye and wheat in particular), such as Grant’s or the Famous Grouse ;
- the blended malts In order to reduce costs (production and manufacturing), grain whisky is mixed with barley malt whisky. These whiskies can also be from different distilleries and therefore carry a brand name and not the distillery name, such as the J&B and the Johnny Walker ;
- them single malts It is the most famous and high quality whiskies because they come from a single distillery, such as the Glendronach or the Linkwood. The flavors will be stronger and more distinctive as each distillery uses its own barrels, stills and manufacturing methods.
It is also necessary to differentiate the whisky from the : bourbon, whose main ingredient is corn (51% minimum) aged in new casks; rye, whose main ingredient is rye this time (always at least 51%, some even over 90%).
When to drink whisky ?
Choose your whisky according to your consumption and thesecond hand for which you want to open your bottle. To prepare cocktails, prefer blended whiskeys around 20 to 25€ in the shops. For a cocooning and relaxing evening tasting, opt instead for a single malt with a stronger character and more powerful flavours.
You should also know that theage indicated on the bottles The age of the whisky corresponds to the age of the youngest whisky used in the mixture of alcohol. For example, for a blended whisky produced with 40% of 4 year old whisky, 40% of 8 year old whisky and 20% of 12 year old whisky, the label of the bottle will indicate that it is a 4 year old whisky. Some brands prefer not to notify the age of their whisky in order not to influence the consumers with only one part of the information (NAS = No Age Statement).
However, these whiskies must be at least 3 years old.
The conservation of whisky for an optimal tasting
Does the whisky get cold ?
You can to keep your whisky almost indefinitely if it is stored in optimal conditions, because unlike wine, whisky does not age. If your bottle is not yet opened, condition it:
- away from light, in thedarkness because the flavors of the whisky and its color (caramelized) can be altered by UV rays;
- standing, so that the alcohol does not touch and damage the cork and so that it is the least possible in contact with the air contained in the bottle;
- to a constant temperature and understood between 15 and 20°C (in your kitchen for example). It is not recommended to place your whisky in a cool place, or conversely, in a room that is too warm (more or less 4°C maximum compared to this average).
If your bottle is opened, be aware that the more air there is inside it, the more likely your whisky will deteriorate. It is therefore recommended not to leave your bottles open for too long and even to decant your whisky into a smaller container to reduce the presence of air inside. In these conditions, you will be able to keep your whisky, even opened, during a long period.
What temperature to enjoy your whisky ?
Your whisky should be served at room temperature for an optimal tasting, either 18 to 22°C. While the Scots usually add a little water to their whisky to bring out the flavors, the Irish prepare it in a “mash” Irish Coffee and that the Japanese and the Americans like to add ice cubes or crushed ice in their glass, in France, an unfinished debate opposes the amateurs of dry whisky and the consumers of whisky with ice cubes. It depends on your preferences and does not have to follow any custom.
If you prefer to drink your whisky as an aperitif and enjoy it chilled, do not hesitate to add ice cubes. In order not to “denature” the flavors, you can always choose ice cubes without water for example. If you like to feel the raw character of whisky, simply drink it dry.
How to taste whisky ?
The glasses to choose
The American movie industry uses a specific type of glass for whisky tasting, but it is not really adapted to its tasting: the wide glass without a stem, served in most bars.
However, the best glass to drink your whisky in is the one shaped like a elongated tulip (Sherry glass type) : on a stem and closing on the top for to preserve the aromas inside the glass. Avoid wide, straight glasses that let all the flavors of this very special spirit escape.
The best time to serve yourself and to taste whisky
The best time to enjoy a glass of whisky is the one you have chosen ! Very popular in movies or on television, whisky drinkers are often assimilated to their leather armchair and their big cigar. You can enjoy a single malt at the end of the evening or when you come back from work, to relax and unwind.
But whisky can also be drunk as an aperitif (lunch and/or dinner). Caution: alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health) with fruitier and lighter bottles or mixed in cocktails like the blend, or during the meal. Just as with wine, you will have to choose your whisky according to your dishes: light with a young whisky, or consistent with an old and marked whisky.
To accompany your desserts or during the evening, dare to drink stronger whiskies or Bourbons. Drink your whiskey as a digestive to wash down a heavy meal for example.
If you’re watching your waistline and still want a little drink, check out these alcoholic beverages with fewer calories.
” Alcohol abuse is dangerous for health, consume with moderation “.