As a woman, I find it challenging to befriend whisky. Not saying that women cannot enjoy it. I know many who do but still I know there are fewer than men. Although, my husband is passionate about this dram, I tend to leave the sniffing and tasting to the New Year’s Eve while I am in Scotland. After all, this drinking business is meant to be fun. So, I keep this moment only for very special occasions.
Icebreaker whiskey tumblers by Iskos & Berlin
Last Sunday, however, my husband invited me to a very special place in his heart – Milroy’s of Soho, the whiskey bar – for a tasting experience. Having pushed myself out of my comfort zone I started embracing my senses of whisky.
I learnt a few interesting facts. Namely, to be single malt means that the whisky has to come from one distillery, and must have been matured in Scotland for at least three years in an oak cask. It must also be made from the malted barley, yeast and water.
Also, when you write whisky – you mean Scotch. However, when you see the spelling with “e “ whiskey – the source refers to Irish or American dram.
When I finally got my head around the choice of whisky Milroy’s of Soho had offered, I was impressed by how differently these whiskies tasted.
I was asked to look at the most important aspects in whisky. Namely, something called “legs”. Legs appear when you swirl your glass around several times. The line of several beads will form around the rim. The thicker the legs, the more mouth-filling the whisky is.
After taking a good look I was asked to find a comfortable distance between my nose and the glass and slowly inhale the aromas from deep inside the glass. I closed my eyes, visualised what I could smell and noted down my findings. After several, slow sniffs each whisky started revealing the depth of character within it.
The perfect whisky glass
Undoubtedly, whiskey is one of the most evocative spirits in he world. It is also for some, like myself, challenging to drink. Its high strength is sometimes enough to give imbibers cause for concerns. So, when learning to serve whisky, make sure you do it properly. Milroy’s had a couple of glasses styles that I will explain below.
The glass you decide to use for nosing and tasting whisky will have a huge impact on the flavour and aroma of it, so much so the specific glassware have been developed to heighten the experience.
Tulip shape glass – is preferred by connoisseurs for tasting, sampling, sipping and scrupulous evaluation of a whiskey’s attributes. It is fashioned with a unique tulip shape to gently allow warming the liquor. The narrow opening concentrates the bouquet.
Glencairn – this glass was specifically designed for whisky. It has a narrow rim and a heavier bowl-shaped base, with a thicker stem.
Tumbler – this is a traditional style of whisky glass. It is perfect for filling with ice, soda or water. This glass features a universal shape wide enough that is perfect for all types of whiskeys and bourbon.
As with many life’s pleasures, taking time and learning the correct techniques to enjoy whisky are the fundamentals to the successful “dram-fication”.