A good tasting so that it is a complete success. So first the question, what is the aim of your tasting? Do you want participants to enjoy whiskies they like to drink or have always wanted to try? Do you even want to impress with special bottlings? Are they professionals or who should learn something new about ? Or are you simply interested in having fun in a convivial group?is determined by the appropriate selection of whiskies. But there is more to it. In this article we will give you tips on how to set up a
The choice of venue is crucial to the success of your tasting. To a whisky carefully, you should have peace and quiet and time. Don't choose a noisy bar, but your living room or dining room, for example. If you want to taste many samples professionally, you need a large table so that you have enough space for glasses, , notes etc.
This brings us to the next point, the right equipment. Depending on what kind of tasting you want to organise, you will need more or less equipment. The basic equipment is a sufficient quantity of suitable glasses for . A should be tapered at the top so that it can hold the flavour of the whisky and the precious aroma does not evaporate quickly. This shape is also known as a . Whether you choose a stemmed glass or a bulbous is up to you. In general, you should not use glasses that are too large for light whiskies. A strong, whisky, on the other hand, can develop its full flavour better in a large glass. If you would like to find out more about glasses, you can find a suitable video here.
Make sure you serve a fresh glass with each whisky or alternatively enough water to rinse the glass. A big gulp of water between samples is good for everyone. It is important that remnants of the previous do not mix with the next in the glass. This distorts the taste experience.
Water is not only helpful for this purpose, but also to dilute a whisky. Especially if you are tasting whiskies at , you should add a few drops of still water to reduce the whisky to drinking strength. Small jugs or pipettes have proved useful to measure out the amount of water. Learn more about here.
Offer only still water that has little of its own, i.e. contains minerals, e.g. Volvic or Evian. In some areas you can also use tap water. In the article at this link we explain the influence of water on the taste of whisky.
When inviting your participants, you should point out, especially to the inexperienced, that you should not come to the tasting sober. Nevertheless, you should not have eaten directly before the tasting so that the taste of the food, especially spicy food, no longer affects the taste buds. For this reason, we also advise against serving biscuits, chocolate, cheese or other accompaniments to whisky. The intense taste of these foods changes our perception of the . Of course, it can still be interesting if you organise a tasting in which you , for example, different chocolates with different whiskies.
- right location (quiet environment)
- sufficient whisky glasses (best: number of participants * whisky to be tasted)
- Selection of whisky prepared and bought/ordered - Water (to dilute and drink)
- Glasses & jugs for water
- possibly pipettes (for easier dilution)
- Notepads and pens (to note impressions)
The complete checklist for the perfectat home.
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Let's move on to the choice of whiskies. This is probably the most difficult part. If you simply taste the whiskies you have at home, it is easy. If you still have to order the whiskies from us, we recommend the following. The number of whiskies should be between three and a maximum of six. A person cannot taste more in a concentrated way. Our sense of taste is also exhausted after a few whiskies and we no longer taste any differences. It is better to only a few whiskies, but in more detail. You should also explain this to your participants.
If you are holding a tasting for beginners who are not yet familiar with whisky, the standard bottlings from the well-known are a good choice. You will find many of them in our permanent low prices. Don't choose whiskies that are too complicated or rare. Beginners cannot yet appreciate their taste (and also price). It is also practical if the whiskies are still available for purchase, so that the participants who have acquired a taste for them can also order these bottles after the tasting. If you want to give the participants an overview of the aroma and spectrum of the whisky, then select, for example, one soft, strong, sherry-heavy and one smoky whisky each. If you want the spectrum to be even broader, you can also choose an , an American boubon or a whisky liqueur. In addition to high-quality , it is also interesting to taste a favourably named supermarket . The surprise at the difference in taste will be great.
For advanced drinkers, the options are vast. There is no right or wrong choice of whiskies. Tasting is all about getting to grips with the you are tasting. You can put your under a motto, e.g. Islay whiskies, whiskies matured in sherry or wine , a particular series, a single distillery, etc. Or you can simply choose new or unknown bottles that your friends don't know yet. Particularly interesting are the evenings when each friend brings a bottle, giving you a motley field. But the whiskies don't always have to be as different as possible. If the whiskies are similar, you have to make an effort to discover the subtle nuances. Even for experienced , this is a challenge.
We are often asked about the correct order of whiskies. We have therefore provided videos on single malt and . In principle, you should start with the lighter, softer whiskies. The taste buds in the nose and palate are still as uninfluenced as possible and can better grasp the fine aromas. Then move on to stronger whiskies, e.g. with . Only at the end come the strongly smoky ones. Their aroma often lingers in the mouth long after the tasting and covers everything you taste afterwards. The same principle applies to alcohol strength, which is why it is best to go from low to high percentages.
Let's move on to the day of the tasting. Those who like to pour the samples beforehand should take care not to let them stand for too long or to close the glasses with lids, otherwise the aromas of the whiskies will evaporate. It is better to pour shortly before the tasting.
The actual tasting is not just about drinking. Firstly, the whisky should be examined visually. What is it? Is its consistency more oily or liquid? These characteristics give an initial indication of the possible flavour. However, you shouldn't rely too much on the colour, as many manufacturers add caramelised here. The of the whisky is then 'vomited'. Smell the glass not just once, but several times. New nuances in the flavour can be discovered with every puff. Finally we come to the actual part, the flavour in the mouth. It is best to take small sips and spread them over the tongue. This is because our tongue has 'taste areas' that can each perceive different flavours. In order to discover all the notes, the whisky should be tasted with every part of the tongue. It is also possible to take several sips for a better understanding. The is also part of the . What flavour remains on the tongue? How does it change?
Together, this results in the four rough points:
Give the participants enough time. Everyone should first get their own impression of the whisky. Then you can give tips, especially to those who are still inexperienced, on which flavours can be found in the and exchange ideas. If you want your tasting to have a professional character, hand out notepads so that each participant can note down something about the sample.
It is also informative if you can tell something about the background of the bottlings or, for beginners, about whisky in general. Find out more beforehand on our website. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, a tasting where the whiskies are completely unknown beforehand is exciting for everyone. This can be organised in different ways. One promising variant, for example, is to announce the whiskies, but not exactly which glass they are in. The more similar the whiskies are, the higher the level of difficulty.
By the way: Don't rely too much on the flavour information provided by the manufacturer. These often come from the marketing department and frequently do not mention all the notes so as not to put off potential buyers. The wording is also usually very pompous and more confusing than accurate.
Last but not least, we advise you to take a relaxed approach to tasting. Don't put yourself under pressure and expect that not everything will go as planned. If you are happy to be there, this will transfer to the participants and you will have a great tasting experience!