Monday, January 17, 2011

How to drink Scotch

You may have seen or come across wine tasting at some point in your life.  However, there are certain things between wine and scotch tasting that are quite different.  In this post, I will highlight the several steps one can consider taking to further enhance their scotch appreciation process:


Pouring
Pour yourself the desired measure of scotch into a nosing glass.  Now, what is a nosing glass you may ask.  A nosing glass is shaped like a tulip: narrower at the top than the bottom is.  A nosing glass helps concentrate the flavors and aroma up your nose.  Other glasses are perfectly fine for drinking scotch, but to truly appreciate the drink, a nosing glass is ideal.
                                                          A perfectly-formed nosing glass:
Checking the Color
Next, hold the glass up to the light and observe the color.  The color of the whisky can be an indication of its age (although some companies add caramel to the whisky to give it a darker appearance) as well as the type of cask it has matured in.  A dark whisky does not mean that it is better than a lighter whisky - it is simply darker. 


Check out the legs on that thing
Hold the glass at 45-degrees and rotate it gently, coating the walls of the glass with the whisky.  Hold the glass up straight, and observe the line of whisky that appears across the top of the glass, forming the "legs" run down the walls of the glass. 


Typically, the younger the whisky, the faster and closer together the legs will run down.  An older whisky tends to have thicker legs and run more slowly.  In addition, the older the whisky, the further apart the legs generally are.


Nosing the Scotch
All you are doing at this point is preparing your palate.  You are sending signals to your brain and creating expectations on what flavors to expect from the scotch, so your nose and mouth will go seeking these flavors. 


What you never want to do is to swirl your scotch.  You swirl wine.  Wine has between 12 - 14% alcohol content, and you swirl the wine to agitate the liquid so that the alcohol can evaporate and carry the smells and flavors to your nose.  Scotch is 40% alcohol; it does not need help evaporating.  Swirling your scotch risk overwhelming your nose with too much alcohol.  This is why when you enter a room where there is a wine tasting being carried out, it is hard for you to pick up the smell of wine.  However, if you enter a room with just one glass of scotch, you can immediately detect it.


Now, tip the glass toward your face and stick your nose into the rim.  Take a short sniff and repeat this step two more times.  The first sniff, you will get a tingling sensation on your nose as it recognizes the alcohol.  On the second sniff, you should be able to detect a flavor (usually sweet).  The third sniff you should be able to detect a secondary flavor (usually some sort of fruit).  How you wish to describe these flavors that you detect is entirely up to you - there is no right or wrong answer. 
                                                                                         Nosing the Scotch:
Tasting
Take a small sip of the scotch, and allow it to lie on the tongue and coat the sides of your mouth.  Roll the scotch around in your mouth so that it comes into contact with all your taste buds: sweetness at the tip of your tongue, saltiness along the sides, dryness and bitterness at the back. 
See whether you can identify the flavors that you picked out earlier during nosing of the scotch.  Ask yourself what flavors are you experiencing, and how does the whisky feels in your mouth.  How is the scotch's finish: does the flavor last a long time or does it disappear quickly?
And here it is, the basics of drinking and appreciating a fine glass of scotch.  Bottoms up, my friend.

37 comments:

  1. great post man. very informative. i've been wine tasting but i never knew there was this much to scotch tasting

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow very cool. Where are you from? I'm from california, there is a valley called Napa Valley, its a place full if vineyards.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is one of my number one blogs to follow. All I would drink is Hennesy, but when I went out drinking with some older folks in Japan, the encouraged getting to know scotches. Its a must!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I did some tasting of a couple single malts, one was peaty the other smokey. Both damn near floored me, can't hold my liquor.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very nice post!
    http://carsmoviesandlife.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. good post. The only bottle of scotch I have right now is a bottle of 10 year macallans :/

    ReplyDelete
  7. Never had one haha

    follow me back brah

    ReplyDelete
  8. The thing that puts me off wine tasting, is that you have to SPIT it out lol!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm going to have to try scotch tasting some time. Nice post man, followed.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Classy as fawk breh, good tips!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Good stuff brah. I updated my blog today. Check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  12. love this blog. been a fan of scotch since i started drinking.

    ReplyDelete
  13. gonna have to try out your advice. very nice blog

    ReplyDelete
  14. Been wanting take up scotch, following you now.

    Check out my beer and humor blog @ http://aboyandhisbeer.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  15. Makers mark is my favorite scotch whiskey!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Nice posts on scotches. I look forward to further updates

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow, never realized that scotch drinking had such delicacy to it. Are you going to branch out your blog into other whiskeys later on or are you going to concentrate on scotch alone?

    ReplyDelete
  18. just a question; have you ever made your own scotch? if yes.. how was it?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi zen, I do have some other whisky (Maker's Mark, Jim Beams for example), but I think for the purpose of this blog I will concentrate solely on Scotches instead of spreading too thin.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Humblenoodle - thanks for coming to this blog.

    I havent made my own scotch before. Since Im not in Scotland, I dont think making my own whisky qualifies it to be labeled as a scotch.

    ReplyDelete
  21. scotch ftw

    great blog bro, will definitely keep checking for updates

    ReplyDelete
  22. Got to love a wee dram - great blog now following and supporting

    ---------------------------------------------------
    http://intemperate-folly.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. definitely gonna try some scotch in the near future. good stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I prefer to tip the bottle backwards and allow it to stream directly into my mouth.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Getting me much more interested in Scotch, as I've always traditionally stayed with whiskey. Great blog, will definitely follow

    ReplyDelete
  26. lol a science to drinking scotch... wow...

    http://brotosterone.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  27. O SNAP CHING POTATO!!! BROooooOOoOoOooo I'm going to be all up in yo' shizzz brah. Got banned from bb.com :p

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great guide! Following you on a daily basis.

    Feel free to comment on my blog to add your own story!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Classy read, buddy, a lot of effort put into this

    http://paradigmcosmos.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  30. Informative post brah :)

    http://the-viral-network.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  31. I'm gonna be an expert in no time

    ReplyDelete
  32. read the title of your blog for this particular one but didn't have time to read it. i like my scotch neat and in a rocks glass. keep it simple and keep it real. brb, drinking scotch out of the bottle - lol

    showing you some morning love, bro!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Nice posts on scotches. I look forward to further updates


    whiskey glasses

    ReplyDelete