There is no wrong way to drink whisky, but there are ways I prefer more than others. Ways that, I believe, allow you to enjoy your whisky more. It boils down to three elements: glassware, temperature and water. These variables can subtly alter what you smell and taste in your whisky. For you, dear reader, I tried them all and am ready to report. I divided the scotch into 6 glasses: 3 tumblers and 3 Glencairn glasses. Then I tasted them 3 different ways: first neat, then slightly chilled and finally with water. My whisky of choice for this experiment is Talisker Storm. Aside from the fact that it’s in my liquor cabinet, Talisker Storm is like an amped up Talisker 10, a good whisky with strong discernable flavors.
1. Glassware- Whisky is usually served out of tumbler, a cup with a heavy bottom and thin walls. Until recently there was no “official” whisky glass, as doing a preliminary internet search will attest. You have the tumbler variety, something akin to a snifter, and all glasses in between. For scotch, they now have something called a Glencairn whisky glass. Basically it’s a thin, tulip shaped glass with a short stem. I know it sounds like a marketing ploy, but I do find there is a big difference between the tumbler and the Glencairn glass.
The tapered top of the glass intensifies the aroma of the scotch, so the initial nosing will be much stronger. Upon drinking, the liquid will hit different parts of the palate intensifying different notes in your scotch.
2. Temperature- Some people like room temperature, others like it cooler. If you prefer the latter, don’t add ice! Why, you ask? Because, according to reliable sources, ice melts and all that watery run off dilutes your scotch. Invest in whisky stones- limestone blocks that you keep in the freezer. Add one to your drink and wait 2-3 minutes before imbibing. Don’t make the drink too cold, or you’ll kill the flavor.
3. Water- While I don’t condone adding ice to your whisky, I do suggest a little bit of water. I can’t give an exact measurement, but a few drops will suffice. The addition of water opens up the whisky; this is especially true of stronger drams.
These are based on my personal tastes. If you are so inclined, try these methods out for yourself. It’s pretty fun, and a way to justify drinking scotch different six ways.
Article by Adrienne Bardes