The Gateway to flavour

How to enjoy whisky

By Iain Allan - Glen Moray Brand Ambassador

Glen Moray can be enjoyed at any time, whether it’s part of a celebration or just as a quiet dram at home with friends and family. The common thread is that it’s there to be enjoyed.

Here’s how to truly appreciate Glen Moray…There are not many rules regarding whisky tasting. You don't even have to like whisky ... but it might help!

When selecting a glass for your whisky, it's not important to pull out your best crystalware. I suggest you select a glass that has a nice tulip shape to it and a small closure at the top which keeps the aroma in because a lot of the beauty of whisky is in how that whisky smells.

With a glass of whisky in your hand it is very tempting just to drink it, but I urge you to take a moment and look at the colour of the whisky. The colour - it might be light gold, it might be dark copper, and this is an indication of possibly the cask style that has been used and also the age of the whisky in the glass.

It is important to hold the glass of whisky properly. Don't smother it in your hands and hide the lovely golden liquid. Hold it at the base of the glass.

When you swirl the whisky inside the glass, it will coat the inside of the glass very lightly. And if you watch it for a moment, the whisky will run down the side of the glass and form what we call 'legs' or 'tears' where the whisky clings for a little longer. The longer it clings, the stronger the whisky is and possibly the older it is as well.

By looking at that colour, it may divulge some of the information about the style of whisky you're about to drink. If it's very dark, it may indicate that it's a very old whisky or it's been matured in a sherry cask. If it's very light, then vice versa, it may divulge that it's a younger whisky or maybe come from a bourbon American oak cask.

Your nose is all-important when you drink whisky. If you've ever tried to drink whisky by holding your nose, you'll realise this. The whisky will have no taste. Hold the glass, swirl the whisky and put your nose to the glass, but go gently towards the glass and take a light sniff and take in all of the aromas that are coming out of the glass.

Don't be afraid to get your nose in there and smell that whisky because nobody is a more connoisseur of your nose than you. There will be many people who will want to tell you what you should smell, but it's only you will be able to discern what you can smell from that whisky.

When you first taste the whisky, it's a very important thing because it will tell you how much water to add, if any. My recommendation would be to add some water but only a teardrop size - just enough to warm the whisky up slightly and to release those aromas that have been hidden.

The first taste will be a little bit numbing - it's your palate acclimatising to that strength of alcohol.

But hold it just that little bit longer than you typically would and that will get you used to it.

Let the whisky roll  around your mouth. On your tongue you will pick up different flavours. At the front, it's fruity and sweet and at the back it's bitter. To the side of the tongue, you get salty notes. To us the whisky moves over your tongue and you swallow. These flavours will develop and then diminish.

Some whiskies, the taste will linger a lot longer - this is called the finish and the flavours will change. I suggest you shut your eyes, use your imagination to pick up these different characters.

Wait - is that ice you're adding?

You can add ice to your whisky if you like it that way but be aware that by adding ice, you chill the whisky and that will lose and kill some of the flavour.

Tasting whisky, it's not a test, it's not an exam. Whisky is there to be enjoyed. It's an experience. Enjoy it with your friends, your families. Cheers.