When it comes to changing the retail world experience, Karl Schwantes is at the forefront of trying to create an experience rather than just a service. Last Thursday, I attended my first ever whisky experience at the Xennox Diamonds showroom hosted by whisky connoisseur, Rowan Prangley.
I am not the best person when it comes to alcohol, I am still figuring out what works for my taste buds, tolerance and overall enjoyment experience. Whisky is something my dad loves so he would have definitely appreciated this event.
For the first time whisky drinkers (even if you are just exploring your taste buds) Rowan had a few tips to share.
When tasting or appreciating whisky for the first time:
- Really put your nose in the glass and breathe softly – Don’t be afraid or offended by the initial prickle of alcohol on the nose. Limit swirling
- Always go back and nose again *at least four times*. Allow your nose to adjust to the alcohol and you will be rewarded with nuance.
- Aroma is a combination of smell and taste, so go for the ‘complete mouth-feel experience’ – put that whisky on the palette, role it all over the palette and let it go down – Never shoot first and ask questions later!
- Taking a deep breath and holding before release really helps with aftertaste. Remember though, breathe through your teeth to control the speed at which you intake air. This will help prevent an embarrassing cough when in public 😉
- Welcome water. Don’t shy away from adding a little clean, room temperature water to the whisky. It will allow a quirky side of the whisky’ personality to present itself and you will notice this on the nose and mouth-feel experiences.
- If enjoying with company, ask the person next to you what flavors impress them. It’s the quickest way to build your sensory vocabulary and if it’s a flavor you haven’t experienced yet, well it is game on to hunt for it!
The most valid tip for me was to add water! No need to be that guy who trys to brave out the strong taste and drink it as is. It’s perfectly fine to add a few drops of water if you are struggling with the taste.