The world of whisky may seem a bit daunting at first but don’t be put off, nearly everyone with a passion for whisky will just be happy to share their experiences and help guide you along on the path to becoming a conneuseur in your own right.
You don’t need any kind of formal training just dive in and try as many whiskies as you can (over a sustained period of course - not on the one night), here are a few things that will help to know before you start.
First off, the rules.
There are no rules to drinking whisky. No, seriously.
Other than to try as many whiskies as you can, whenever you can, there aren’t any laid down laws as to how you should drink it, so feel free to enjoy it any way you like.
We do have some advice for getting the best out of your whisky drinking experience.]
Firstly, it’s probably not the best idea to drown your Scotch in cola or Irn-Bru (even though it may be delicious) as often you’ll lose the subtle flavours inherrent in this wonderful drink that’s probably taken more than ten years to make – that’s why cheaper blended whiskies are usually better for mixing – but if that’s the way you like to drink it then go for it (we’ll try not to wince).
With regards to water and ice, it’s important to know how adding them affects the whisky.
Ice will generally cool it down (this applies to those fancy cooling stones too) and dampen the power of any flavours, if that is the desired effect, then feel free to have your whisky on the rocks.
With water, it’s a case of sip it and see – take a taste and decide whether the whisky is rich and oily enough to benefit from being opened up by a few drops. With lighter whiskies, water sometimes isn’t needed - if you are unsure, a simple tip is to split your dram over two glasses and add water to one half, then you’ll be able to compare and contrast and find out which you like best.
Lastly, make sure to have some water to drink side by side with your dram, this will lubricate your throat and stop that natural reflux reaction from drinking high alcohol.
Now onto the fun part - enjoying the whiskies.
From the sweet flavours of sherry cask matured whiskies to the punchy hit of sea water and peat that comes with Islay malts, you’ll find 10 whiskies in our gallery that will help you get started on the road to understanding and enjoying a variety of Scotch whiskies in their many guises.