Whiskey is one of the most popular drinks worldwide. It goes way beyond than being a social lubricant. Some people may consume it to get high and dive into the relaxed state it creates, while others may be drawn to its exquisite taste. The reason may be any; it’s a fact that whiskey is unlike any alcoholic drink out there.
The world of whiskey connoisseurs is filled with opinions, choices and people trying to correct each other’s way of consuming whiskey. From vouching for popular whiskey brands to finding the correct temperature for their drink and tasting it right – connoisseurs do it all. Just like distilling whiskey is nothing less than an art, tasting it accurately for its flavours is too.
What is Nosing?
When tasting whiskey, the first step is to nose it – the act of bringing whiskey to your nose and sniffing it for different aromas. It helps in picking out flavours and aromas that are typically not detected through sipping. Nosing is an essential part of tasting whiskey.
Follow these steps to nose Whiskey correctly like a Pro!
- Know the Origins – Geography
Knowing the origins of the whiskey helps in getting familiarised with the characteristics of a specific region. Popular whiskey brands from different parts of the world have different characteristics – some are peaty and smoky while others are more inclined towards sherry notes. Each region has its trademark style, and it’s a good idea to know.
- Know the Glassware – Glencairn
The ideal way to nose a whiskey is through a tulip-shaped glass. Glencairn whiskey glass is perhaps the most popular one and is specifically designed to consume whiskey. The wide base of the glass gives the dram enough space to breathe, while the tapered neck channels the aromas in the whiskey upwards. If you still have any doubts – pour two measures of the same whiskey – one in Glencairn whiskey glass and other in an old-fashioned tumbler glass. Nose both of the glasses and you will instantly know the difference.
- Know the Swirl and Shake
Many connoisseurs around the world either swirl or shake their whiskey before nosing. However, doing it gently is recommended, otherwise the flavour will wear down. Once the whiskey is slightly agitated, the flavours will come to the surface allowing more aroma to reach your nostrils. Moreover, another method many whiskey enthusiasts apply is that they place their hand over the glass and shake it briefly. They then rub their hands together until dry and smell it. You can do it too!
- Know How Much to Sniff
Pros nose their whiskey carefully and know how much to inhale. When nosing whiskey, it’s recommended to get your nose right into the glass. However, to avoid an overwhelming inhale, keep your lips parted while sniffing to prevent any burning sensation. Another trick is to mildly rub your hands over the glass to release the aromas.
- Know How to Distinguish
The best way to identify different notes is to associate the aromas with memories. Figure out what a certain aroma reminds you – a holiday, a season, a meal? No matter how abstract or personal it is – associating aromas with memories help in charting a reference point that further helps in recognizing.
How to Identify Different Notes?
The best way to identify sweet notes is by tipping the glass slightly, dipping the nose and then inhaling. For sweet notes – you’re likely to smell vanilla, caramel, toffee, maple, honey and even some cream.
For nosing fruit notes, the best way is to let the rim of your Glencairn glass touch the bottom of your lower lip when you’re inhaling. Fruit notes in a whiskey originate from the type of barrel. So, if the whiskey is matured in American oak barrels you’re like to have notes of citrus, melon and other orchard fruits. On the other hand, whiskey aged in European oak will have notes of orange peel, peaches and apricot.
The best way to identify grain is by holding the tulip-glass from the bottom rim, a little away from your nose and inhaling. You’re likely to smell barley, corn, wheat or even a malty essence that might resemble an amalgamation of various grains.
Nosing is an essential part of consuming whiskey and is followed by enthusiasts around the world. All popular whiskey brands, despite their age are nosed and tasted the same way. We at Hermes Distillery have come up with whiskey brands like Rockdove that are highly exquisite in their taste. Rockdove is known for its satisfying and smooth matured scotch aroma. It is made from select scotch malts and blended with finest Indian grains to deliver a flavour that lingers on your taste buds.