For those of you that know me well must be aware that I LOVE a good drink – gin being my poison of choice. However, I must confess, the nuances of whisky, scotch and bourbon have always eluded me – that was until the other night.
In my quest to lead a truly artful life – to be verse in a wide variety of fabulous things – Tedd and I attended a very regal and luxe dinner which included a whisky tasting for the launch of Chivas Ultis, a blended malt Scotch Whisky, from the House of Chivas Regal.
Chivas hosted leading and influential style, food and entertainment industry bloggers, press and restaurant entrepreneurs from around South Florida to be the first to experience Chivas Ultis. Tucked away in an intimate wine room and private dining space at the chic Marion Restaurant in Brickell, Miami, Chivas brand ambassador, Alex Thaler, dazzled guests with his informative and very entertaining presentation on the Art of Drinking Whisky.
I went into this event with very little confidence about drinking whisky, a “fake it until you make it” attitude, but left the enchanting evening feeling like a tasting pro.
I learned that there is an art to drinking whisky – no drinking games here – that enables whisky connoisseurs to experience a higher level of appreciation and enjoyment while sipping their drink.
So, go pour yourself a nice glass of Chivas whisky and follow along with me as we enjoy the full body and plethora aromas each sip has to offer.
Its Rich and Vibrant Color:
After the pour, hold your crystal rocks glass up to the light and tilt it about 45 degrees so that you may observe rich color properties the whisky has absorbed during its minimum 3-year oak barrel casement. It is worth it to note, I also learned that due to a very high alcohol content much of the whisky evaporates during the aging process – this evaporation is called the “Angel’s Share.”
Look at those Legs:
Continuing to hold the glass to the light, roll the whisky around the glass and observe its legs – drips that run down the side of the glass. This technique will show you its body, oils and age – sounds so sensual. The quicker the run of the leg it is presumed the younger and lighter the end product as opposed to longer legs a heavier and older body – no comment on that one!
The above two steps are very similar to wine tastings – which I am a pro at – so I had some familiarity of these processes. But how Alex taught us to enjoy the bouquet of whisky was a whole new experience.
Enjoying the Scent:
Due to the high alcohol content of whisky, one does not just lift the glass right up to your nose and inhale; this will only result in a big waft of alcohol. For a fully enriched sense of the whisky bouquet, try this new technique. Rest the glass against your chin, just under your lower lip. But, do not sip! Simply tilt the glass slightly to your nose, then inhale the rich scents in through your nose allowing different notes the whisky to develop. Go ahead and take another stab at it, but first swirl it around in the glass and then take a second or third sniff for a deeper enhancement of the notes.
Take a Sip:
Now comes the best part . . . take a sip! But don’t just simply gulp down your first swig because there is a clever trick you must experience. Again, due to the high alcohol content, the first sip will most likely have a bit of a bite to it – especially if you are not a whisky aficionado. Instead, swirl the first sip in your mouth to coat the walls of your mouth and surrounding taste buds with the oils, or essence of the whisky. Each sip after the coating will allow you to fully enjoy the many unique layers the individual whisky brands take on during its aging process.
Just a bit of Water:
For another sensational enjoyment and completely different flavor profile, dilute your whisky with a bit of water or piece of crystal clear and purity free ice, for perfectly timed dilution, to decrease the alcohol content and enjoy an entirely different bouquet.
Thank you to Chivas for taking the Traberts on this whisky tasting journey. I now feel that I can hold my head up high, should future conversations stray into the whisky arena, with confidence that I know how a proper tasting should take place. Cheers everyone!