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Whiskey and other brown spirits are definitely an acquired taste for some. But once found, we can attest that there is little more enjoyable than savouring the delicious caramel and smoky flavours of a good aged glass of golden whiskey after a long day’s work. The problem most people experience while attempting to drink whiskey is that they don’t know how to unlock the full flavour profile of their drink. It really is quite simple, which is why we’ve created this handy whiskey tasting guide. Follow our simple steps and we’re sure you’ll quickly convert to the cult of whiskey.

The first step is finding the right glassware. Core Catering Supplies has a massive collection of whiskey glasses, here are some of our favourites.

The Snifter

Conjure up high class with the charming snifter glass, also known as the balloon or cognac glass. The epitome of style, its unique shape is designed to be comfortably cradled in your hand and it features an extravagantly wide body and tight rim to encourage the release of the full flavour profile of your dark, aged spirits. Though these glasses are typically used for brandy, they are now commonly used for both whiskey and cognac.

The Embassy snifter glass by Libbey.

By Libbey

Napoleon brandy snifter by Luigi Bormioli.

By Luigi Bormioli

The Cognac glass by Libbey.

By Libbey

The Whiskey Tumbler

These are the most commonly found of all whiskey glasses. Though they are not designed for the slow savouring of nosing, they are perfectly made for casual drinking with ample room for ice and whiskey of your choosing. This tumbler is also a great option for a cocktail glass because it has a wide and robust base, perfect for muddling cocktail ingredients. A classic in design and an essential for the bar, you can’t go wrong with these versatile glassware gems.

Chicago whiskey glass by Libbey.

by Libbey

The Flashback whiskey glass.

By Libbey

The Carats whiskey tumbler by Libbey.

By Libbey

The Highball

Typically associated with one of the simplest yet scrumptious whiskey cocktails, Scotch and Soda, the highball is the taller brother of the whiskey tumbler. These days it has become the preferred glass, especially for whiskey experts in Japan, for the service of many simple whiskey drinks. Its length makes it a versatile addition to your barware collection as it allows you to create several long and relaxing drinks with plenty of room for ice, spirit and mixer.

The Endessa hiball by Libbey.

By Libbey

The Hobstar tumbler by Libbey.

By Libbey

The radiant tumbler by Libbey.

By Libbey

Give It A Swirl

Now that you have found your glass, hold it by the base or stem and give it a gentle swirl. This motion opens up the aromas of your whiskey. If however you over agitate your drink, you will drown out all the subtle notes with an influx of ethanol vapours.

Take A Whiff

For this step, the snifter glass is most apt. Warm up the glass with your hands and smell the whiskey gently, in other words, don’t stuff your nose into the glass as you would with wine. Whiskey has a much higher alcohol content so try to avoid anesthetising your olfactory nerves. You can also take a whiff with your mouth slightly open to avoid over intoxication.

The Secret Is In Small Sips

When it’s time to taste, remember small sips are they key. Whiskey can be overwhelming so it’s best to sip small volumes and let the rich and decadent flavours be experienced with the least amount of alcohol possible. Before you take your next sip, allow yourself time to fully savour the flavour. This way your palate will have a chance to adjust to the high alcohol levels ensuring every sip tastes better than the last.

Water Works

After taking your first steps you can start experimenting with water and finishes. Try adding a few drops of water to your whiskey and you’ll notice whole new flavours and aromas with your next sip. If the alcohol content of your whiskey is particularly high, you can add more water to dilute it. If you are busy enjoying a full pour, you can add a block of ice to cool and slowly dilute your whiskey over time for a full flavour experience.

Repeat and Relax

Whiskey is meant to be enjoyed so take your time to fully experience it. Try adding a few more drops of water and see what happens. Remember, there is no need to learn individual aromas and flavours, your whiskey is a personal journey with no wrong answers. So sit back, relax and pour yourself a whiskey.

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