When I say ‘whiskey’ I dare you not to immediately picture some Don Draper-esque suited up gent with perfectly styled hair. It’s a sophisticated drink for sure, but that doesn’t mean it has to be an intimidating one.
Here’s your three-step guide to stepping into the whiskey world and sounding like a pro as you do it.
1. Get a little lingo under your belt
While countries all around the world are producing the spirit, Scotch whiskey is, in a nutshell, the real deal. Scotland was one of the first countries to distill the drink – so they’ve got the process down to a fine art over a few hundred years.
The main point of difference for Scotch whiskeys is the process of drying malted barley over peat fires for about 30 hours – and yes, peat is partly decayed vegetation from a bog. Sounds odd, tastes superb.
If you’ve ever been confused by Bourbon, it’s just the American version of whiskey, and is usually made from corn instead of barley like most whiskeys. A Tennessee whiskey is Bourbon that has been steeped in charcoal before going into the barrel – amongst whiskey drinkers it’s generally considered a little ‘low-brow’.
2. Find your gateway whiskey
First things first, you need to start with the right whiskey. You don’t want anything with a taste that is too overpowering, and you don’t want to be coughing up the big bucks.
A good option for that is something from Glen Moray’s single malt scotch whiskey Elgin Classic range. Why? They’ve been making it since 1897 in one of Scotland’s oldest towns, for starters.
Whiskey can taste a bit strong to the newcomer and Glen Moray have perfected a smooth and approachable flavour that is a welcome place for your palate to ease into it.
Finally, the price point is super reasonable so you’re not spending ridiculous amounts of money on your new interest.
3. Learn how to taste it properly
Just like wine, there is a correct way to taste your whiskey. First, swill your glass, just like you would a glass of wine – then take a deep sniff of the aromas. Instead of inhaling things like fruits and florals, you’ll be smelling for things like nutty scents and malty tangs. Whiskey is still often described as ‘woody’ though.
Then, of course, you take a big sip. You are now, officially, a whiskey drinker.