- Gin is a popular spirit.
- Gordon’s gin, a brand that has a royal warrant, has its own ‘expert nosing panel,’ who sample the spirit throughout the distillation process.
- They shared their top tips with Business Insider on how to taste gin – neat of course – like a pro.
- You could presumably apply this to many other spirit tastings.
Artisan gins are big business these days, and if you’ve invested in a bottle then you will likely want to get the most out of it, to experience the full range of botanicals it has to offer.
Gordon’s gin has its very own “expert nosing panel,” a team of six distillers dedicated to sampling the spirit – using their noses of course – “every hour on the hour” during the distillation process.
They shared their top tips with Business Insider on how to taste gin like a pro, and you could presumably apply it to any other spirit that takes your fancy.
1. Leave out the tonic, ice, and garnish
While gin is rarely enjoyed neat, it’s important to taste the spirit on its own if you’re really set on developing your own “gin palate.”
2. Use a curved glass, a whisky glass works well
According to the experts at Gordon’s, using a glass with a curved side will help you to “nose it.”
“Whisky glasses are recommended, as the shape is designed for tasting neat spirits with curved sides to capture aromas, and a small bowl that allows you to swirl the spirit and unleash more of the aromas,” they said.
3. Sniff coffee to cleanse the palate in between sips
“[I]t resets your nasal passages so you can stay sensitive to the aromas.”
And if you don’t happen to have any coffee beans to hand then sniffing the back of your hand should work, as smelling yourself also apparently resets your senses.
4. Swirl the glass to mix in air with the spirit
5. Then ‘nose it’ gently
Gordon’s nosing panellists advise you to hold the glass to your nose, but not to give it a big sniff to avoid inhaling too much of the perfume aroma which can be overpowering.
“[B]e careful on this first sniff, you may still be picking up lots of alcohol. Breathe gently and let the aromas take hold.” They added that the most common aromas associated with gin are citrus, fruit, floral, earthy, spicy, sweetness and wood.
6. Now wet your palm with the gin and smell it again
They also recommended placing a hand over the top of your glass so that it’s completely covered and tipping it upside down for a second to wet your palm with the gin. Then wipe your hands, cup them, and sniff from there.
7. Sip your gin carefully, and follow these three steps
According to the nosing panel, that the more air there is, the easier it is to detect flavours, that’s why sommeliers slurp wine sometimes.
- Take a first sip and see if you can detect the same flavours that you did when nosing the gin. It should be “warm with a light alcoholic heat”
- Let the spirit rest on the tongue, then swirl it around the mouth to detect any other aromas, like citrus, liquorice, cinnamon, aniseed or herbs
- Swallow the gin and pause to detect which tastes linger
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