5 Essential Whiskey Tasting Tips for Beginners

posted by Chris Valentine

From Bourbon to Scotch, Islay to Indian, there’s a whole world of whiskey out there waiting to be explored.

But, while that should be a cause for celebration, the amount of choice can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’re a whiskey beginner.

If you’re keen to learn more about whiskey tasting but don’t know where to start, we’ve got your back! Check out these tips on whiskey for beginners to get you started.

1. Try a Whiskey Tasting Event

As a whiskey beginner, you might know a brand or two you like, such as Maverick Whiskey, or that you prefer sweeter blends. But expanding your tastes could get expensive in a regular bar, or by buying bottles to try at home.

This is where trying a tasting event or service can be the ideal solution. These allow you to try whiskeys you might not always have access to. Plus, they’re an easier way to help you discover your likes and dislikes without the need to read every whiskey buying guide out there.

2. Start With Sweet and Subtle Flavors

If you can’t find a tasting event or service in your area, try organizing your own with friends. All select a bottle or two you like and then get together to try out each others’ favorites.

But what kinds should you start with? While you’re easing into the world of whiskey, stick to sweet and subtle flavors. That’s not to say you shouldn’t broaden your horizons over time. But, it’s best to develop your palate a little more before you delve into smokier whiskeys.

3. Learn How to Taste Whiskey

To appreciate a new whiskey, make sure to take note of its various features before you taste it. First, look at the color. Over time you’ll notice the subtle color differences between multiple whiskeys depending on their age.

Swirl the whiskey and watch the streaks of liquid inside the glass. Thicker streaks, or ‘legs’, indicate a more voluptuous taste.

Next, put your hand over the glass and shake it to form bubbles. The longer these take to disappear, the higher the ABV.

Now move the glass toward your nose and take small sniffs before finally taking a well-earned sip of your whiskey. Make sure to taste with your tongue and inhale the flavor through your nose.

4. Don’t Forget to Dilute

One thing that can be off-putting about whiskey for beginners is the burn of drinking high-ABV liquor straight.

To get past this, dilute your whiskey with ice or water before you taste it. And don’t let anyone tell you this is wrong. There’s only one way to enjoy whiskey, and that’s however you like!

5. Investigate Your Preferences

During tasting sessions, it’s vital to take note of the flavors you enjoy, as well as the brands, provenance, and types of whiskey. After all, there are lots of different styles and blends to take into account. From there, you can learn how to buy whiskey and discover new whiskeys that’ll make your taste buds sing.

A Beginner’s Whiskey Guide

With the help of this whiskey guide, you’ll soon develop your palate and expand your knowledge.

But beyond the rich variety of flavors, whiskey tasting is best enjoyed with company. While your interpretations will often be different, it’s interesting to compare notes as a way to learn more.

For more lifestyle inspiration, be sure to check out our other blog posts!

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