How to Taste Whiskey

A spirit as fine and grand as whiskey is meant to be sipped and savored.  Not just shot back.  We want you to get the most out of your whiskey tasting experience. 

Appearance

You can learn a lot about whiskey just by its color.  Typically speaking, the darker the color, the older the whiskey.  The color of whiskey is a direct correlation to the amount of time the whiskey has been in contact with the charred barrel where it was aged.    Most American whiskeys are aged in American White Oak barrels that are charred on the inside and used only once.

Aroma

It is important to understand that you will pick up more information about the taste of whiskey from the aroma, opposed to actually tasting it.  In fact, most master blenders work primarily from nosing whiskey and not actually tasting it.  Most typical aromas you will be able to detect include vanilla, wood, caramel, coffee and other various hints of spice.

The Taste

When tasting whiskey, make sure you coat your entire tongue and let it linger on the palette for a couple of moments before swallowing.  Ask yourself questions about the experience.  Does the whiskey feel thick like whole milk?  Or thin like ice tea? Does the whiskey taste the same as it smells?  Do the flavors evolve and change in your mouth, or stay the same?  Does the flavor stay or linger? And most important of all - do you like it?

The Finish

The finish is a culmination of the entire experience.  Was the finish pleasant?  Are there any finishing notes?  Does it make you want to drink the spirit again? How does it compare to other whiskeys you have tasted?