Monday, March 21, 2011

Hosting a Scotch Tasting Party

One of the things I think I would really enjoy doing is hosting a scotch tasting party.  Where I'm from, there are the occasional wine-tasting parties that bring like-minded individuals with similar passion together for an evening of indulgence.  Such an event not only creates a form of camaraderie with other enthusiast, it can also help to further develop and broaden your knowledge on the alcohol. 


A scotch tasting event combines sophisication and relation, the very traits which the drink itself represents.  It is a toast to civilization. 

When throwing a scotch tasting event, it is important to know your audience: are they novices or experts?  Cater to them and serve scotch that will capture their interest.  For instance, for beginners, consider something that is higher on drinkability, with a wider range of taste profiles, which will allow them to experiment and discover what type of scotch they like.  For the more seasoned scotch drinkers, it would be better to narrow the choices and focus on a more specific region (e.g. Islay) or taste. 

Unlike wine, scotch tastings should be limited to no more than 4 - 6 choices.  Why?  Firstly, scotch is alot stronger than wine proportionally.  You wouldn't want your guests to be passed out drunk at the end of the session.  In addition, the palate can become overwhelmed due to the strength of the scotch itself.

Another consideration to have when hosting a scotch tasting is what type of glass to use.  In my previous post, I explained the differences between the glasses most commonly used.  Although it is certainly fine to use any glass for personal enjoyment, it is more appropriate to use a "nosing glass" in a scotch-tasting event.  The tulip-shaped glass can help guests to better identify and appreciate the flavors and aromas of the scotch, and it adds another touch of sophisication to the party. 

Next, and quite importantly, is what scotches to offer?  Most hosts of scotch tastings stick with single malts, as they tend to have a more distinct and unique character, taste and smell.  These differences are more muddled in a blended scotch.  As to which sinle malt scotch to use, well, this goes back to the earlier passage on what your audience is.  Serve accordingly to what the majority prefers.  You can either serve one from each of the five scotch regions, or you can focus on a particular region and sample several scotches from different distillery. 

In addition to the scotch and the glasses, a pitcher of filtered water should also be available.  Most experts agree that adding a few drops of water can really bring out the flavors and aromas in the scotch.  Ice, however, is not neccessary, as true scotch enthusiast will never consider adding ice to their alcohol. 

Finally, a pad of paper and pen should be provided to each taster for making notes on what they did and not like about each bottle.  Consider handing out pre-printed sheets with areas to write in the label of the bottle, general thoughts, and taste categories (age, body, color, palette, smell and finish). 

Many hosts also have food available at the tasting, being careful not to choose food that will clash with the Scotch. Some suggestions are sharp or mild cheeses, unflavored crackers, dark chocolate, and various fruits.

The nice thing about scotch tastings is that you can try out very expensive bottles that you normally would not buy.  Also, if you live in a big enough city, you can invite one of the main scotch companies to bring one of their reps or ambassadors to host the tasting for you.  This way, you can get a specialist present to provide background information and answer any questions. 

I hope this post will encourage readers to consider trying out and attend a local scotch tasting party.  Who knows, you may just discover a bottle of scotch you like that you would have never come across by yourself.  Till the next time, you keep it classy SimplyScotches readers. 

98 comments:

  1. that would be great for beginners like me. :

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  2. great idea if you want to save some money

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  3. This sounds like a great party idea. I'll have to look out if there are any around here. If not, might be a good idea for a future party myself.

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  4. Sounds like the best way to get into scotches and for the social aspect aswell.

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  5. I hope to throw my own scotch party in the future :D

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  6. "The nice thing about scotch tastings is that you can try out very expensive bottles that you normally would not buy."
    Did I miss something? Who buys the scotch?

    I was thinking you send out the invites and people pick the bottle they would prefer to buy and bring from a list (first come first 'served').
    At the end of the tasting everyone brings home their bottle or you raffle off the bottles (people can then swap if they are agreed to do so).

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  7. Sounds like a great idea, dont get to drunk tho! Following!

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  8. cool post!

    http://all-around-toto.blogspot.com/

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  9. I've only done this with malt liquor. Not quite as sophisticated, me thinks.

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  10. There are no scotch parties here in Germany. At least I havent seen one. What a shame :(

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  11. Great Idea.. Beer Gardens are a big thing around here, never heard of this before!

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  12. Sotch party tonight at my house!!

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  13. Don't think they throw them here, even if they did I'd want to broaden my own tastes first before attending one, to have what I consider to be minimum requirement of knowledge.

    I'd love to one day though.

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  14. Good tips. Don't know if I would have a scotch party though.

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  15. wouw :O didnt know hosting that ind of party needed all those preperations

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  16. if I ever threw a tasting party, it would end up as just another party where everyone gets drunk and dances to music

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  17. I'd love to host a party like that... but sadly my friends and family aren't into that sort of thing. Thank god for the internet to still be able to talk about stuff my family won't even go near.

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  18. im definitely going to have to get some scotch later today after reading this

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  19. sounds like a lot of fun! contact me if anyone is in upstate NY wants to have a party!

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  20. the best way is just to get drunk and stuff

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  21. I've been to a few wine tastings, but I hadn't even considered this. I might have just enough buddies who appreciate quality scotch to pull this off.

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  22. I'd love to go to a tasting party, just to experience all the people and the different types of scotch. Although, I'd probably be drunk after two drinks, since I'm a lightweight.

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  23. wich brands would you be serving?

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  24. what about a chocolate tasting party! with scotch :D

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  25. scotch and coffee is great!

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  26. Scotch tasting party? sounds amazing

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  27. Did someone say chocolate tasting party? I'm there!! :)

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  28. Sounds like a classy event!

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  29. IA m sooo drubnk on lidl scotch right now.Aldi scotch is better but theyr'e further awya.walking because I NEVBVOR drink anbd drive.

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  30. Does sound like a good idea for a gathering.

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  31. great tip - I'm off to hunt for one of these parties

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  32. Alphabeta - I was thinking the same. Does everyone bring a bottle? Would be the best way of doing it I think.

    'Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly.'

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  33. good info! ive never been to an alcohol tasting event

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  34. When I get my own pad I'm totally doing this. Since I'm host, everyone can bring me different scotches XD

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  35. That sounds like a pretty good idea for a party!

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  36. never heard of this being done, seems like a good idea

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  37. Some of my lame, older friends want to have a tupperware party. *This* is what we should be having instead.

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  38. you're one of my only followers that actually posts.. I guess all the miscers gave up on their
    dreams.

    cheers!

    www.famishedstudent.blogspot.com

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  39. Wow, never been to a scotch tasting party. Sounds like a blast.

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  40. Great, I would love to attend one.

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  41. Would love to make one, but don't have enough money

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  42. my pap loves this stuff. Great! :)

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  43. Good information. May host a party now :D.

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  44. sounds like a great time! i would like to join :D

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  45. I've always wanted to hold a Burns' Supper complete with this and some haggis and poetry. Good luck being able to do that down here though...

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  46. I like this idea. If you're ever in the central Texas area, we should do a tasting party. I'd definitely attend one hosted by you.

    I follow and support those who do likewise.
    toastburnt.blogspot.com

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  47. I don't think they do that where I live, but I will certainly accept if I ever get an invite!

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  48. No-one will ever invite me to a scotch party :[

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  49. that sounds like a good idea. Most people don't know all that much about scotch, so it would be a great learning opportunity for many.

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  50. you really never get bored of scotch do you ;)

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  51. following and $upporting

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  52. hahahah great post like always
    you bro never failed to amaze me

    Check out mine and let me know what you think!
    I look forward to your contribution
    http://newhypertech.blogspot.com/

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  53. This actually sounds like a really, really good idea for me. None of my friends enjoy scotch. Not ONE. They're all beer drinkers, with occasional vodka 'mixed' drinks. I really need to meet some scotch connoisseurs. :|

    I'd love to attend an event like this one day. Funny it never came into mind before reading this post.

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  54. great post. looking forward to reading your next one

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  55. I always thought I should get into scotch because I feel like I should try to class it up once in a while. An event like this would be a great way for a novice like myself looking for my perfect taste.

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  56. very descriptive. I does everyone pitch into the scotch buying fund?

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  57. Scotch tasting party sounds classy. Check out my new blog, puzzledyet.blogspot.com if you haven't already!

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  58. Wish you lived near men. That sounds like a darn good time.

    ~Showing my fellow bloggers some support.

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  59. Sounds like a wonderful idea, but at the same time I don't believe I have enough friends that enjoy scotch that I could share this experience with.

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  60. haha I don't think im sophistocated enough for a scotch tasting party! shame...

    followed..

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  61. i def. need more informations bout scotches my man. i even started drinking them because of your blog!

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  62. I need someone to invent a taperecorder that could be implanted in my hand and becomes active everytime I step into a bar :)

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  63. Yeah I don't really have the right social circle for this :(

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  64. Great advice, makes me really want to throw a party only I doubt I have more than a couple friends who would be interested

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  65. what about wine. lol:p.thanks for share.

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  66. You need to come back and blog some more!

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  67. OMG that would be so much fun!! =D I would come.

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  68. My honest opinion would only be accountable for the first four or five taste tests!!

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  69. i think you need to get affiliated with some scotch advertisers. really you should be sponsored for this

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  70. Nice blog BRO!!!

    fallowing and $upporting

    http://darkbogdanel.blogspot.com

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  71. Craving a glass of scotch, with a pinch of coke =p

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  72. i'm hosting a scotch and cigar tasting for my husband's birthday. there will be about 12 guys attending, but i'm having trouble figuring out what to serve, food wise. they will be golfing beforehand and the tasting is around dinnertime. these guys can't drink all this scotch on appetizer only- but if i do a main dish- is a pork tenderloin ok? any suggestions would be awesome!! thanks!!

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  73. I am dying for the next post after coming across your blog....WHERE YOU BEEN?????

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  74. Great advice. You've inspired us to host our first scotch tasting this fall... thanks!!!

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  76. I have held Scotch Parties quarterly. I do it with the following rules:
    1. No Blends-We mercilessly ridicule those who violate this rule
    2. Bring something to toss on the grill and a bottle to share-this allows guests to try 4-8 different bottles for the price of one. Trading at the end of the evening is allowed, even encouraged.
    3. Hawaiian shirts-not sure why or when this started, but it makes for good fun.

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