You’ll want to savor a good single malt. It must be examined carefully if all its complexities are to be discovered. Use these tips to maximize your pleasure.
Trust Your Own Reactions
A great malt does not have to be labored over to be enjoyed. You are the final judge, and your personal tastes are the only ones that matter.
Don’t Smoke or Eat While Tasting
Smoking during, and even before, a tasting impairs both the nose and palate of smokers and non-smokers. And while it is tempting to enjoy food during a tasting, spices and flavors in foods can also interfere with proper tasting. Once a clear evaluation of the scotch has been made, other vices may be combined with this pleasure.
Limit the Number of Single Malts to Be Tasted
Five is a comfortable number to nose and taste. With too many, the fine nuances may be lost or the taste buds may become overwhelmed.
Single Malts Need Not Be Tasted Neat
Add a splash of water when nosing and tasting, especially to the stronger malts. Be sure to use a non-carbonated water so as not to adversely affect the taste of the whisky. Both water and single malt should be tasted at room temperature, or warmer.
Evaluate One Attribute at a Time
Judge first all single malts for color, then the nose and finally the taste. It may take some time and concentration to fully appreciate the complexity found in many single malts. There is no need to rush.
Clear the Palate Between Samples
Plain, salt-free crackers can be used to clear the taste buds between single malts.
A note card system can be used to help organize your thoughts. A five-point rating system can be used to record your overall impression. Finally, keep it simple, and enjoy. Tastings are meant to be entertaining, a shared special moment among friends, a time for voicing personal preferences and engaging in friendly, spirited conversations.