View Full Version : I'm new! I'm allowed to sound dumb.... (right?)
01-28-2011, 07:44 AM
Hi, I'm new to the forum and new to scotch whisky. I became interested and decided I'll give it a go and try to learn to properly enjoy scotch. I've heard from and read people's opinions on how to drink it -- they all gave a few similar options and said whatever I enjoy the most -- but it seemed it all came down to the flavors.
I went to the store and bought a bottle of scotch without any reasoning (probably the price more than anything if at all) -- the Glenlivet single malt 12 yr.
whisky.com had an elaborate review on this in terms of taste and flavor, but i can't seem to smell/taste any of it?! any advice on how i can better pick out the flavors?
01-30-2011, 12:43 AM
That whisky is so subtle, it is basically just a malty whisky. To get the aromas, you will need to sit down with it a while, and sniff it over and over. On the first whiff you will just get alcohol. On the second whiff you will get a hint of vanilla. On the third or fourth successive whiff you will start to get a hint of grape/berry. You may have to smell it more than just three or four times, and/or let it sit out for a little while to let the alcohol evaporate a little off the top.
In order to get the flavors, you are going to have to let it sit in your mouth for a long while. Maybe 30 seconds or more.
And honestly, the flavors come out the more you drink!
01-30-2011, 01:35 PM
Hi, and welcome to your new hobby. You actually picked a good scotch for your first bottle. It's gentle and sweet and won't scare you away.:) I couldn't find an introduction to tasting article on our host's site, though it could be there somewhere. Utilizing Google, you can easily locate an article from the "malt maniacs" who put together an interesting and comprehensive "beginner's guide" to single malt whisky. It should be required reading for all those new to single malt whisky. Check it out. It will get you up to speed in no time at all, and well ahead of many of your local whisky "experts".
01-30-2011, 05:33 PM
Not dumb at all. That is a very Scotch Whisky 101 to try at first. Hope you enjoyed it.
Another issue to consider is what type of glass you are using; especially when it comes to aromas. It is best to use a Glencairn glass where there is a narrowing at the top. This will concentrate aromas. Don't have a Glencairn? Try a snifter glass or even a wine glass. If you are trying to nose the whisky using a rocks glass or tumbler, you will have a difficult time trying to discern an aroma simply because the vapors dissipate.
A few other tips for nosing: when you inhale, open your mouth slightly. This will allow some alcohol vapor to pass through and will tone down any "alcohol burn" in the aroma. Also, adding a drop of water (not too much to dilute the whisky) will open up the aroma.
01-30-2011, 10:53 PM
Yes, use proper glassware. I use either a Reidel port glass or a Glencairn.
Here's a Glencairn with a bottle of Glenrothes 1998:
And here's my port glass with a miniature of Macallan 18yr:
Notice how both glasses have a very small circumference at the lip? This keeps the aromas compact and focused to the nose. Trying to nose a whisky in a tumbler is much more difficult.
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