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Drop o’ the pure: how to taste whisky like a pro

Australian whisky has come a very long way in the last 30 years, with labels from Tassie to South Australia and beyond producing drops that are turning heads and invigorating palates across the world! 

If you’ve been thinking about getting tucked into the best whisky range Australia to offer (it’s a long list), it might be a good idea to refine your tasting skills so that you know exactly what you like and how you like it. 

Here are the steps to tasting Aussie whisky like an absolute pro:


  1. Enliven the olfactory


Once your whisky has been poured, be sure to give the glass a little swirl as this releases hundreds of aromas that will be pleasing to your olfactory. Next, give your whisky its first smell, then a second and a third, taking note of the aromas you experienced when you sniffed it. Smelling your whisky gives you an idea of the notes and whether it’s pleasing to your senses or not. 

It’s a good idea to note down everything you think about when smelling the whisky - even if it's a bit out of the ordinary.


  1. Take a sip


Once you have enjoyed three good sniffs of your whisky it is time to taste it. Take a sip of the whisky, being sure to allow the whisky to roll around your mouth and get wherever it can before swallowing. 

By doing this, you may be able to invigorate different parts of the mouth including the different taste buds, and doing this will allow you to tell if you like what you are tasting or if there is an element to it that’s not for you. 

Don’t solely consider the whisky’s flavour, but also its body and weight in your mouth. Savour the whisky’s finishing before making any notes on the above-listed tasting steps.


  1. Try it with water


Look, not all of history’s whisky drinkers have enjoyed adding water to their drop, and many will tell you that it’s absolutely sacrilege to add H2o to a fine single malt whisky, but it can do wonders for the flavour profile. 

Water has the potential to invigorate the flavour profile you experienced when you tasted it neat, and can be a great element of your new favourite whisky should you find yourself enjoying adding water. 

So, have a cheeky experiment and go through the whole original tasting process once again but this time with a little agua to see what happens to its flavour profile.


  1. Note contrasts between whiskies


At the end of the day, whisky tasting is about finding your favourite drop, right? It’s about finding that malt that you absolutely adore having in your collection, with the full knowledge that your collection is incomplete without having it right there, front and center, ready to be enjoyed on just the right occasion. 

So, what do you want to do to ensure that your whisky is one that you can’t overlook, compare it to a couple of other whiskies, of course! If you can potentially try a couple of other whiskies in your tasting session, be sure to do it, taking note of the contrasting flavour, body, weight and texture profiles before making notes of said contrasts. 

If you are finding it hard to decide on which whisky is right for your palate, you can easily refer to your notes and rank them up against each other - it’s an objective way of looking at a subjective situation.