Photograph: Magnus

How to ‘nose’ a dram of whisky

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When I taste whisky I usually start neat (no water), if it’s a cask strength I might add water but not always. If I have a small sample I hardly use water. I usually first taste with a small sip just to get my mouth ready. I swirl the glass to get lots of aroma and to see the the colour and the ‘edge’ of the whisky. When I nose I try not to put my nose to far into the glass, how many times haven’t you put you nose to way down so you don’t feel anything at all after a while. Having the nose maybe 2cm above the glass is fine by me. I also like to hold my glass in my hand to warm the whisky some.I believe that a hand warm whisky taste more. If I taste more than one dram, I try to drink lots of water between the tastings. Sometime I have crackers, coffee or dark (70%+) chocolate between the tastings to ‘reset’ my taste buds.

Below is a video with Brian Kinsman, Grant’s Master Blender explaining how he ‘nose’ a dram of whisky to get the most from the unique flavours and aromas.

How do you ‘nose’ & taste a dram of whisky? Do you use water or do you disagree with me or Brian Kinsman? Please add your thoughts below.