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- How do you learn to drink whiskey? -

I used to take a sip from my grandfather’s glass, a true whiskey drinker and I immediately wanted to go back to the chocolate milk.

Nowadays I wonder what to look out for as a novice whiskey drinker. How do you learn to drink whiskey? For this I investigated.

As a novice whiskey drinker, you often start with mild / soft whiskey with ice. From there it is important to taste many whiskey types and to give it time to start enjoying it. This is how you find out what your personal preference is: Your favorite whiskey type, with or without ice, with or without water drops and even from which glass type you prefer to drink. 

In the remainder of this article, it will be explained what you can pay attention to in the learning process to become a true whiskey enthusiast.

Cheering couple

Which whiskey is for beginners?

As a novice whiskey drinker, it is useful to learn to distinguish whiskeys, by doing this your personal preference will be strengthened. There are few mistakes that can be made when drinking whiskey as personal preference plays a major role. For this it is important to taste many different types. This way, the smells and flavors can be discovered, and the journey can begin according to your personal preference.

As a beginner it is useful to start soft and not immediately experience the flavors intense and sharp. The mild and soft category is most applicable to novice whiskey drinkers.

The aim is to enjoy whiskey and at the same time know the good things about it, it is also important to know what you are tasting. It is important to divide the flavor profiles into four (4) categories:

Mild and soft

This type of whiskey is usually smooth, round in taste, easy to drink and subtle. Common flavors and scents include nuts, grass clippings, flowers, figs, and natural gas.
The whiskey that goes with this is the ‘Akashi White Oak Blended’.

Medium and grainy

The taste of this can be both tart and smooth and at the same time the malt can be as spicy as a chili in your mouth, or as smooth as a fruitcake full of cinnamon and mace. The recurring flavors are mainly cereals and oatmeal, pears, and apricots and sometimes there is a hint of honey.
The whiskey that goes with this is the ‘Johnny Walker Red Label’.

Full and rich

Here intense flavors with sweet influences such as caramel, dried fruit and nuts are experienced.
The whiskey that goes with this is the ‘Jack Daniel’s Tennessee’.

Powerful and smoky

The name says it all, both the powerful flavors and the smoky flavors are intensely reflected in it, think of fire, tar, and oak.
The whiskey that matches this is the ‘Highland Park 12’.

Types of whiskeys

There are many different types of whiskey, we will discuss this in more detail in another blog. For now, we have listed a few:

  • Single malt– In the single malt, the malt comes from one distillery. The factors water, barley and possibly. peat provide the flavor of the single malt.
  • Single grain whiskey– A malt whiskey from which the barley comes from one type and one location. The taste therefore differs from that of a single malt whiskey.
  • Blended whiskey– Blended whiskey is a blend of several single malt and single grain whiskeys.
  • Tennessee whiskey– This whiskey is aged through a three-meter-thick sugar, charcoal, and maple filter. After distillation, the whiskey slowly drips into this layer. Jack Daniel’s is a famous whiskey form.
man holding a glass of whisky

What whiskey glass?

There are also different types of whiskey glasses for the different types of whiskey, and each glass has its function. The tumbler glass is the best to use for the novice whiskey drinker because the flavors and smells are less strong in this glass. We will discuss some of the types of glasses that are most common among whiskey users.

  • Tumbler
    If you order whiskey from a restaurant or bar, it is likely that you will get the tumbler glass. This cylindrical glass has a larger opening and is weighted at the bottom, this ensures that the glass lies comfortably in the hand. Because the glass has a large opening, it becomes less suitable for discovering the smell and taste and the aromas will be lost more quickly.
  • Glencairn
    The Glencairn glass has a tulip shape with a convex bottom and a narrow opening, the narrowing ensures that the aromas and scents remain better in the glass. The convex bottom makes it easy to roll up the whiskey and thus release the aroma. This type of glass is especially popular when drinking single malt whiskey. If you want to discover the smell and taste of the new whiskey, then choose the best for this whiskey glass.
  • Snifter
    The shape of the snifter is comparable to the glencairn, the convex underside makes it possible to roll the whiskey. From the convex bottom, the glass becomes narrower, creating a narrow opening, so the smell and taste will not disappear quickly. This glass is ideal for discovering new whiskeys. The difference with the glencairn is the pedestal.

For each type of glass there are various factors that offer the ultimate whiskey glass for you as a person. The best glass can be determined by yourself as the choice is very personal. Think of the experience of smells and tastes and try to determine what comes first for you.

Ice in the whiskey

It is often indicated not to use ice when drinking whiskey, melting ice quickly dilutes the whiskey, which is not good for the taste. The ice is cold, which not only changes the taste, but also numbs your taste buds, so there is less to taste.

Fortunately, there are still alternatives to drink whiskey cool. If you still want to choose to drink whiskey with ice, it is recommended to use large ice cubes. By adding a large amount of ice to the whiskey, the ice ensures each other so that the ice melts more slowly and the flavor is preserved. There is another solution, namely the ‘ whiskey stones ‘. These stones are specially made for whiskey and look like ice cubes, but then they are not made of ice but made of reusable material. By using these whiskey stones, the whiskey is refreshing without releasing liquid.

Adding water to the whiskey, one will indicate to be in favor and the other against, this is a matter of taste. When water is added to the whiskey, this involves a few drops of water, the taste and smell will change as a chemical reaction occurs, which will cause the temperature of the whiskey to rise. In addition, the type of water (tap water, spring water or mineral water) also has different influences on the reaction of the whiskey. It will taste and smell different with each.

Learning to drink whiskey therefore depends on your personal preferences. When the whiskey is too intense, you can always add ice or water. Learning to drink whiskey takes time. But before you know it, you do not know any better.

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