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SOURCE: How to drink a perfect whisky | Fox News

How to drink a perfect whisky

By Ali Rosen
Published March 17, 2015FoxNews.com



There are few drinks in life enjoyed as simply and purely as a glass of Scotch - and equally as few that have as much history and as many opinions contained in a single glass.

But is there a proper way to drink your whisky?

The perfect pour: "preferably more than a gnat could consume and less than an elephant would. "

With so many claims of right and wrong surrounding the beloved drink, we went straight to the Scottish experts to make sure we’re drinking whisky as perfectly as possible.

And the one thing we learned straightaway is that throwing out your rule book is a perfect place to begin.

No perfect pour

For starters, there isn’t even a standard pour. Most experts recommend between one and two ounces should be served to you or a guest, but there are no hard and fast rules.

“A dram of whisky - the measurement we use to describe a pour - is an amount of whisky that the person pouring is happy to share from their bottle, and the person receiving is grateful to be given,” Nicholas Pollacchi, the founder of Whisky Dog and the whisky category director for Anchor Distilling Company says.

David Cox, the rare malts director for The Edrington Group - which includes The Macallan and Highland Park - concurs. His estimation is that you should pour, “preferably more than a gnat could consume and less than an elephant would,” but he does note that whatever you pour there should be head space in the glass for the whisky to breathe.

Don’t compromise on the glassware

There’s a common misconception that whisky should go in a rocks glass - or worse, in a shot glass. But the most commonly agreed upon vessel is the nosing glass. The tulip shaped glass help to concentrate the aromas in one point.

“Alcohol rises from the glass at different times,” Pollacchi explains. “They have weight to them, so the lighter, floral and sweeter notes will rise first, followed by heavier, darker and richer aromas. By using a glass that pulls these aromas to one point, you can fully appreciate the complexities within each dram.”

But Carl Reavey, from Bruichladdich Scotch whisky, maintains that for social drinking, you can use a wine glass or brandy balloon because “it is essential to have the ability to swirl the spirit in the glass and for the glass to have a bowl capable of retaining the aroma.”

Neat and water are okay, but no rocks

Once you have your whisky in hand - with the right glassware - there is agreement that whisky should probably be enjoyed without the rocks, since it dulls flavors.

Most recommend starting with it neat (without any additions) and then slowly adding water. The Balvenie distillery's David Laird explains that this “is essential for detecting aromas as well as flavor on the pallet. This will allow you to open up the whisky and enjoy all of the flavor and aromas.”

Cox concurs, noting that “spring water at room temperature is the best accompaniment to allow the character to shine through, reducing some of the stronger alcoholic volatiles on the nose.”

But unlike glassware, this is an area that all the whisky-lovers admit needs to be a personal choice. Pollacchi insists that despite expert preferences it’s important to not be precious about how to drink whisky. It should instead be about, “allowing every person to find a path that allows them to find the most enjoyment from every whisky they try.”

But whether you’re defying the experts by adding ice or slowly adding water, it’s important that when it comes to drinking you take your time and whatever choice of Scotch you’ve made.

Sipping in steps

If you want to truly appreciate a great whisky - the process can involve many steps.

For example, when Bruichladdich master distiller Jim McEwan tastes, he starts by looking at the color, swirling and then looking at the legs on the glass. He looks at the color again, swirls, and then noses again followed by a first taste, usually by dipping a finger in. Then after another taste he adds some water carefully down the side of the glass, swirls and tastes again.

“You are looking for flavor and aromas, not alcohol. Introducing your nose to the whisky gradually will allow you to judge the perfect distance from the glass you prefer, so that you savor the most aromas without the alcohol desensitizing your senses,” Laird explains.

No matter the routine, all the experts stress that the key is in taking your time and enjoying when you have a great whisky in your hand without a feeling that there is a specific routine that must be followed.

“I have sometimes sat with a glass and just enjoyed intermittently nosing it for 5 to 10 minutes, savoring the complexities before rewarding myself with an eventual sip,” Pollacchi says.

Cox concurs noting that tasting your whisky is inexact, and should take long “enough for the aromas and flavors to envelope you.”

And if you’re sharing whisky with friends, don’t forget to toast.

The Scottish phrase Slàinte Mhath - Gaelic for ‘good health’ - is traditional, but just ensuring that the moment is savored is essential.

If you’re drinking a great whisky whose tradition has been honed over decades and aged to perfection the key element is to take your time and enjoy. And, as Cox points out, to stay upright.


Slàinte mhath!
 

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With good whisky, the thinking is sometimes the main point. If you aren't going to search for subtle flavors, just drink bourbon. Even with the cheap blended, I swirl and pay attention to the aromas.

I sure hope life affords me another chance to stand in a Scottish ageing warehouse. Those are aromas worthy of a knife and fork.
 

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A little false advertising....I saw "perfect whiskey" and immediately thought Bourbon, so I was a little disappointed the article was about Scotch.

I do love my Bourbon out of a Glencairn glass though...and neat with no distractions.
 

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I was a Scotch drinker for many years...but when we relocated to the Louisville area I found myself converting to being a Bourbon drinker...
Now I won't insult any of you who have to sip teaspoonfulls of GLENLIVET at a time while reciting some bullshit that you heard while watching a rerun of LIVE AND LET DIE WITH Sean Connery blowing away 14 evil-doers with a 6 shot Walther PPK from 100 yards out (in the dark) as he orders his drink served in Bohemian Crystal with ice lifted from the Medenhall Glacier.

I like my Bourbon, I will accept Blends from other folks..the best beverage is one paid for by someone else.. Currently my preference runs to KNOB CREEK ... followed by BUFFALO TRACE and then WOODFORD RESERVE sits on top of a large group of the Makers Mark/Wild Turkey/Even Williams/ and our Tennessee friend GEORGE DICKEL.



Straight Up, On the Rocks, Cut with Mtn Dew. whatever It all works for me
And as for what to serve it in... give me a BIG GULP CUP with CAPTAIN AMERICA all over it... now that speaks for me !!
 

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Neat and down the hatch. None of that swirling around, sniffin' and adding water. I like a nip of the creature and let it bite fast. Cheers!
 

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I've tried Bourbon but found it a bit rough, but I guess - like whiskey - that would depend on the maker.

So educate me, what exactly is Bourbon, and who makes the best?
 

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To distill the article:

"Blah, blah, blah, blah.

"No matter the routine, all the experts stress that the key is in taking your time and enjoying when you have a great whisky in your hand without a feeling that there is a specific routine that must be followed.

"Blah, blah, blah.
:D
 

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I was a Scotch drinker for many years...but when we relocated to the Louisville area I found myself converting to being a Bourbon drinker...
Now I won't insult any of you who have to sip teaspoonfulls of GLENLIVET at a time while reciting some bullshit that you heard while watching a rerun of LIVE AND LET DIE WITH Sean Connery blowing away 14 evil-doers with a 6 shot Walther PPK from 100 yards out (in the dark) as he orders his drink served in Bohemian Crystal with ice lifted from the Medenhall Glacier.

I like my Bourbon, I will accept Blends from other folks..the best beverage is one paid for by someone else.. Currently my preference runs to KNOB CREEK ... followed by BUFFALO TRACE and then WOODFORD RESERVE sits on top of a large group of the Makers Mark/Wild Turkey/Even Williams/ and our Tennessee friend GEORGE DICKEL.



Straight Up, On the Rocks, Cut with Mtn Dew. whatever It all works for me
And as for what to serve it in... give me a BIG GULP CUP with CAPTAIN AMERICA all over it... now that speaks for me !!
Try some Johnny Drum Private Stock (bottled by Willet) out of Bardstown. I picked up a bottle for $22 and it puts some $60 Bourbons to shame.
 
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Can I tell the difference between Knob Creek and Evan Williams? Yep!

Can I justify the cost difference? Maybe..... let me check my wallet.....


(edit)- BTW, as for how I drink it, on the rocks, please. It will be Bourbon and water soon enough.
 
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I prefer real whiskey (Scotch) to Bourbon, but I do like bourbon as well. :D :D :D :p :p

Lagavulin and Macallan are my current favorites when it comes to Scotch. Bourbon I keep a bottle of Evan Williams on hand.

Last night I tried Jameson Black Barrel. Now that was smooth!
 

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I was a Scotch drinker for many years...but when we relocated to the Louisville area I found myself converting to being a Bourbon drinker...
Now I won't insult any of you who have to sip teaspoonfulls of GLENLIVET at a time while reciting some bullshit that you heard while watching a rerun of LIVE AND LET DIE WITH Sean Connery blowing away 14 evil-doers with a 6 shot Walther PPK from 100 yards out (in the dark) as he orders his drink served in Bohemian Crystal with ice lifted from the Medenhall Glacier.

I like my Bourbon, I will accept Blends from other folks..the best beverage is one paid for by someone else.. Currently my preference runs to KNOB CREEK ... followed by BUFFALO TRACE and then WOODFORD RESERVE sits on top of a large group of the Makers Mark/Wild Turkey/Even Williams/ and our Tennessee friend GEORGE DICKEL.



Straight Up, On the Rocks, Cut with Mtn Dew. whatever It all works for me
And as for what to serve it in... give me a BIG GULP CUP with CAPTAIN AMERICA all over it... now that speaks for me !!
I like some scotch, but do prefer bourbons. Buffalo Trace is my "house" bourbon. Not overly priced. That little bottle of Blanton's you have sitting there is mighty fine . . . I have a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle from a few years back, when it was "only" $100 a bottle (it was a gift). It is at the back of the liquor cabinet, on the top shelf. It only comes out for me, or when there is a real bourbon fan in the house.
 

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I'm old, I'm Scottish and I drink Scotch whisky and have all my life.

Having said that, don't believe all the BS about how to drink it. When I was younger I used to drink it neat and just toss it back. As I grew older I slowed down the pace and drank it with just a splash of water. These days and for a number of years, I've drank it with ice. When you drink it with ice there comes a point while the ice cubes are melting that the Scotch takes on the optimum flavor and aroma. That's the point where you finish it fast and repeat.

If I'm paying that much for a bottle of liquor I'll drink it the way that I like it. If these "experts" want me to drink it some other way, let them buy their own bottle. :)
 

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I'm old, I'm Scottish and I drink Scotch whisky and have all my life.

Having said that, don't believe all the BS about how to drink it. When I was younger I used to drink it neat and just toss it back. As I grew older I slowed down the pace and drank it with just a splash of water. These days and for a number of years, I've drank it with ice. When you drink it with ice there comes a point while the ice cubes are melting that the Scotch takes on the optimum flavor and aroma. That's the point where you finish it fast and repeat.

If I'm paying that much for a bottle of liquor I'll drink it the way that I like it. If these "experts" want me to drink it some other way, let them buy their own bottle. :)
Scotch really is like wine or guns, or politics, or religion... Everyone has their own way!
 
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