A single malt scotch is one of the best-tasting scotch drinks out there, but only if it is tasted properly. Want to know more about proper scotch tasting??
When a person does not take the time to sniff and finish their scotch, they will miss out on the complex flavor profiles that make a single malt worth the price.
Therefore, those learning how to taste scotch should familiarize themselves with not only the proper procedure but also the tasting chart that helps direct flavor profiles and explain what characters they are picking up.
What is a Scotch Taste Chart?
Also, known as a flavor map, this make makes it easier to find the similarities and differences in the single malt scotch drink out there. It also lets a person explore the landscapes of flavors and find the smoky mixtures along with the delicate ones.
On the delicate side of the chart, there are the nutty, barley, floral, herbal, and grassy flavors. Some whiskeys that fall into that range include the Glenfiddich 12-Year, Rosebank 12-Year, and the Glenlivet 18-Year.
On the light side of the chart comes the fresh fruit and citrus flavors, as well as the leafy and stewed fruit flavors. Some scotches that fall into this category include Linkwood 12-Year, Dalwhinnie 15-Year, and the AnCnoc 12-Year.
On the smoky side of the chart are the dry smoke, peppery flavors, pungent peaty richness, and oak. These include scotches like Ardbeg 10-Year, Laphroaig 10-Year, and the Bowmore 12-Year.
Finally, there is the rich side of the chart. On this side are the scotch varieties that have dried fruits, sherry, spices, and chocolates. They are complex in flavor, robust and great in a dessert pairing. Some that fit this category include the Macallan 10-Year, Glenfiddich 15-Year, and the Balvenie 12-Year.
How to Taste Scotch Properly
Even the best tasting scotch in the world can burn and be too brash if it is not sipped properly. For those new to scotch, starting with a single malt whiskey is best because a single malt does not have many complex flavors mixed in, and therefore, the characteristics are easier to identify.
Also, a good glass is necessary for a scotch tasting. Brandy glasses, while used for scotch, are not proper tasting glasses. Instead, a tulip glass is best, because it allows the aromas to escape and enter the nose.
A scotch whiskey tumbler or snifter is excellent, too.
Pouring the dram is equally important. Depending on how much experience a person has, starting with one to two ounces of scotch is best.
Next, a person must tilt, turn, and swirl the scotch inside the glass. A finely aged and well-matured scotch is one that takes a while to run back down the glass and even sticks to the sides. If it is watery, then it is a newer scotch that was aged the minimum time (about three or so years).
Before ever sipping, a person must first smell the whiskey. It is all about the aromas that come off the glass, including the fruity or floral notes. Sometimes the scotch is smoky, while other times it only has a subtle hint of peat.
Lastly, the sipping.
Scotch tasting is all about sipping the spirit very gently. Only enough to coat the tongue is necessary. Then, it must swirl around the inside of the mouth so that the individual can feel the consistency of the scotch. The thicker, oilier ones will have robust flavors that stick to the tongue and even create a warming sensation.
Holding the whiskey in the mouth as long as possible allows all the different flavors to emerge. After swallowing, there is the “finish,” which are the flavors that lingered on the tongue.
Attend a Scotch Tasting Event to Learn
There are hundreds of different varieties of scotch out there, from single malt to blended. Therefore, the best way to expose a person to all the types and help them find which flavor profiles suit their preference is going to a tasting event. These tasting events are hosted by local clubs as well as the makers of the scotch.
During the event, they bring out everything from their reserve to rare blends and standard scotch whiskeys so that attendees can learn the flavor profiles and become connoisseurs of scotch.