A good, solid tumbler (a short glass with a heavy bottom) if you’re drinking your whisky neat, or with a little water or ice. For ‘long’ whisky drinks, use a ‘highball’ – a tall, slim, straight-sided glass.
NEXT, DECIDE WHAT TEMPERATURE YOU WANT YOUR WHISKY.
This can have a profound effect on flavour and ‘mouthfeel’ – literally how the whisky feels in your mouth. Well-chilled Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve has a texture like honey, while Johnnie Walker Double Black gently warmed in a Bain Marie has an earthy warmth reminiscent of freshly flambéed fig pudding.
NOW FOR THE DRINK ITSELF.
A significant part of the flavour of food and drink is down to the way it smells and whisky is no exception. Taking the time to enjoy the complex aroma – the ‘nose’ – of a good whisky can be hugely rewarding.
Simply pour a measure of the whisky into your glass. Taking the glass by the stem or base, hold your nose inside the aperture (the opening at the top) and inhale gently.
(A connoisseur will use a special kind of glass for ‘nosing’ a whisky, called a ‘snifter’. It is a glass with a stem, where the aperture is narrower than the bowl in which the whisky lies. This serves to concentrate the vapour and make the aroma more intense.)
Now take a sip. ‘Savour the flavour’ by taking your time and allowing the whisky to roll over your palate for a good ten seconds, before allowing it to slip smoothly down.
A good whisky will spark comparisons with a whole range of flavours and scents you have experienced before. These will be highly personal and unique to you. There is no wrong or right. Comparing the flavours you discover with those of your friends is one of many of the joys drinking whisky.
The simplest way to enjoy your whisky is neat, cleaning your palate with cool water between sips. Many people also add water to their whisky, which can open up the flavours as the liquids combine. Try this, but remember the old adage: “you can add, but you can’t take away”. Too much water can spoil a whisky and ‘flatten’ its layers of flavour.
EXPERIMENTATION IS THE KEY TO FINDING THE BEST WAY TO ENJOY YOUR FAVOURITE WHISKY.
Try different glasses and different temperatures. Add a little water, or a mixer. Try a cocktail. But remember, only you know the serve that’s right for you.
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