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How to taste test whisky samples like a professional

One of the biggest benefits of a monthly whisky subscription is that you get to try dozens and dozens of different types of whisky every single year, opening up your experiences and your palate and exposing you to types and brands of whisky that you may not have ever had the opportunity to try otherwise.

To make the very most of your whisky subscription, you’ll want to do your level best to taste test your whisky sample the way that a professional does – keeping accurate notes so that you can catalog your favorites, stay away from the whiskys you weren’t crazy about, and make picture-perfect recommendations whenever asked in the future.

Use this quick guide to help you taste test any whisky sample like a pro from here on out!


Take care of your glassware

A lot of people will tell you that the glassware you choose to taste your whisky sample in is paramount to really getting the full experience, but professionals agree it isn’t anywhere near as important or as monumental as most would make it out to be.

At the same time, a wide base glass (ideally a snifter) is going to help you swirl your whisky more efficiently. This will help awaken the spirit, opening up its smell and its taste more than just pouring it in the glass and trying it out.


Swirl and smell your whisky sample first

A lot of people don’t know that we actually taste with our nose first, and the scents that we smell before we actually pop something into our mouth have a tremendous impact on the taste that registers in our brain.

You’ll always want to gently swirl and smell your whisky first before you taste your sample. You don’t necessarily have to bury your nose in the glass the way you might with wine, but you’ll want to make sure that you really smell things fully before you send them down the chute.


Chew your whisky while you are tasting it

Instead of just drinking your whisky as quickly as possible, you’ll want to steal a tip from the wine guys and “chew” your whisky like you were chewing a steak to make sure that you get every ounce of flavor out of your whisky sample as humanly possible.

You might look a little goofy at first, but you’ll be able to taste things with this approach that you might not have had the opportunity to taste otherwise – and that can completely change your opinion about a whisky in the process!

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