glass whiskey with shaker

How Do You Taste a Whisky to Fully Appreciate Its Qualities?

First of all it is important to check the appearance of the packaging and the bottle, this step is used to understand how long and how the bottle has been stored, unfortunately some bottles remain for a long time in unsuitable warehouses and risk being subjected under unfavorable conditions for good aging. Whisky, like wine, suffers from sudden changes in temperature, direct light and too many movements of unsuitable couriers.

The scent then, is the first aspect to be perceived from a sensorial point of view. If when the glass is brought close to the nose, alcoholic scents are perceived, it can be established that the product is of modest quality. Moving on to tasting, it is important to be able to recognize flavors, but even more essential is to avoid finding yourself with an irritated or anesthetized palate. However, this should not lead one to think that for a good whisky it is essential to shell out hundreds of euros; at the same time, it would be wrong to associate the attribute of modest quality with a commercial product. It is not uncommon to come across excellent spirits with prices starting from 20 euros.

How Do You Find Quality Whisky?

The best products have been left to age for at least ten years moreover, it is always worthwhile to turn to a well-known brand faithful to its tradition. However, there are less known micro distilleries or distilleries of excellent quality, difficult to find: this is where specialized sites come into play, always ready to propose new labels previously tasted and selected by experts in the sector. After buying the bottle, it is essential to read the label, so as to check if the scents that will be perceived will be in line with the ingredients indicated. The character of whiskey it depends primarily on the distillation, as well as on the maturation inside the wooden barrels. This second aspect is also important: the profile of the distillate varies according to the wood of the barrels, the residence time of the distillate inside them and the place where they were put.

How Does Aging Take Place?

There are two phases that make up aging, and for each of them a different type of wood is used; the aim is to make the whiskey take on greater body. The specification in force in Scotland provides for an aging of no less than 3 years The times are longer, however, when you want to obtain a greater aromatic variety. As for the barrels, they are not new: they use those that were previously used for wine, sherry or bourbon. This practice applies not only in Scotland, but also in Ireland: it is believed that the barrels used contribute to improving the flavor and quality of the product.

How is Whiskey Made?

The procedure to follow, as you can easily guess, includes very specific phases: it begins with malting, continues with the infusion and continues with fermentation; then it is the turn of distillation and aging. Whiskey according to today’s meaning was born in Scotland, even if the best producer is Japan, because in this country there are ideal conditions for growing barley. This cereal, once harvested, is subjected to cleaning and then left to dry at that point it is conveyed into huge tanks filled with water at a temperature of 15 degrees, where it remains to soak for a couple of days.

What Is This Step For?

First of all it must be said that sometimes an immersion of 36 hours is enough: the amount of time is defined according to the level of absorption of the cereal Barley is extracted after the grains have become saturated, i.e. with an internal humidity of 50%. Then the cereal is left on the ground for a few days, so that it can germinate: it is dried to prevent a new plant from forming. For this method in Scotland peat smoke is used, on which the penetrating and pungent character of the whiskey depends So it’s the turn of the infusion, right?

Yes: the barley is ground and immersed in hot water so that the starches can be dissolved, and these are transformed into sugars by enzymes. The must is obtained in this way: from 10 liters derive 70 cl of whiskey. The water used, of course, is not that of the tap, but must come from a very pure source. This is the reason why distilleries are built near natural springs.

How Is the Whiskey Production Process Going?

The must that has been obtained must be separated, so that the solid part can be removed. Then selected yeasts and water are added. The next step involves passing the must inside large steel or wooden containers: it serves to complete the conversion of sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Typically it takes four days, after which you have to deal with some kind of beer. Thus we arrive at the most important moment, which is that of distillation. The fermented must is placed inside a copper alembic which has been brought up to almost 100 degrees of temperature by means of the steam.

What Is Steam Used For?

Evaporation favors the disappearance of various substances; through the heated coils, in fact, most of the alcohol is separated from the water, which remains on the bottom. Following evaporation, the substances that have separated are returned to the liquid state by cooling the bottom of the still. This is how the alcohol vapors condense, while a further distillation will allow all the molecules harmful to health to disappear.

Is It True That Whiskey Must Be Drunk Together With Water?

To tell the truth, there are various schools of thought from this point of view. The most common version is that the whiskey should be consumed at room temperature as it is, but doing so is an unpleasant experience. Instead, it is better to drink a little whiskey and then some fresh water to eliminate the anesthetizing alcoholic effect.