Whiskey’s taste, every whiskey has multiple layers of flavor that were developed. Starting from the growing process all the way to the temperature and the humidity of the warehouse the whiskey was stored in.
This is what makes every whisky so individualistic and unique ensuring that no two whiskeys taste the same.
Every single barrel even if it’s from the same distillery as another barrel and aged right beside it will have a subtle and at times not so subtle taste difference. This is owing to the storage and placement in warehouse. Think about it a slight draft or vent can make a tremendous taste difference over the years.
This is brought out if you were to purchase 2 “Single barrel whiskey’s” from different barrels though same labels. Take a sip you should be able to taste the hopefully only slight different.
The trick is to actually buy 2 such bottles and test blindly and guess the bottles right! SO lets get into starting to taste so you will earn how to do it!
Starting To Taste
The more fluent you become in the language of tasting, along with an ever-expanding vocabulary of terms and descriptors, the more we can build truly individual notes for each individual spirit we try.
A useful way of tasting is a flavor ladder to place to ends of the spectrum whiskies such as Glenmorangie and McCallan and start figuring out where the bottles you tasted stand in-between. Then take notes on how the bottle you tasted is unique.
With time you will train your brain to pick the flavors and spices without having to rely on the flavor ladder. Obviously your taste will develop and you will discover though one whiskey is on the top of the latter for one such as peat it is on the bottom for wood.
The 6 Big Flavors
The 6 big flavors to identify and place on your ladder.
Whiskey When It Goes Wrong
Whiskey unlike wine being high in alcohol doesn’t go bad. However occasionally it does let just say taste bad!
A known culprit for bad whisky is the cork from pesticides and preservatives that got absorbed cork tree, converted into TCA (trichloroanisole).
These chemicals interact with the whiskey in the bottle to create a musty, nasty, damp aroma. It will not seriously damage your health, but it will certainly taste awful. If your whiskey smells bad uh don’t drink it.
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To spirits and cheers,
Binyomin Terebelo, Master Distiller and Drinkologist
I love hearing from you about why you love something I wrote or published or a recipe I don’t know. I am Master Distiller at Terebelo Distillery, Love all things alcohol. Freelance for Grogmag and blog recipes for buildthebottle.com Weekend Rabbi too.