Also, I read about adding water into a glass to make the whisky open up its flavour. I read that not all whisky's should have this done as it can completely ruin some, but in any case it does not say how MUCH. I read about adding small increments.. but how much is a small increment?
say with 3oz in a glass, how much water should one add at a time until the desired flavor is reached?
also is the glenlivet 12 year old a decent starter whisky? Ive had the cheaper end stuff like jameson, bushmills original, johnny walker red label, canadian club (barf), teachers, old turkey.. but all the lowest end drinks (roughly 22-30$ canadian a 750ml bottle)
Rule Number One is: If you like it, it's good. (No guarantee you won't ever get laughed at, though.) That applies to whisky, glassware, and significant others.
That said, most of us feel that a tumbler is not the best glass for appreciating whisky. It's designed for ice, which is a no-no. (Unless you like it...ha ha ha! Sorry.) A glass with a tulip-shaped bowl retains vapors for nosing, which is an important part of appreciating. Go down to the thrift store and find yourself a couple of 99-cent brandy snifters. If you feel a little self-conscious using them in front of your friends, well, then hide them and use the tumblers until they go home. Or laugh at them for being such unsophisticated goobers.
Water is a much-discussed issue. Experiment and see what you like. There's no wrong. I used to use a little in my early days, when I found the drink a bit overwhelming. I almost never do now. Try only a few drops at first, and see if you can detect a difference in the aromas. Don't worry about it if you don't. You can forget about water for the time being if you want, and revisit it when your palate gets a bit more educated.
I've seen some very fine whiskies suggest a ratio of 2:1, water to whisky...yuck! To me, that's whisky in my water, rather than water in my whisky. But it goes to show that there is considerable variety of opinion on the matter. Again, find what you like, whether it's 50:50, a splash, a drop, or none.
Glenlivet is a very nice smooth single malt that will give you an inkling of what a single malt is, compared to a blend. There is wide variety in malts, from light to full-bodied, sweet to dry, flowery, woody, spicy, smoky. The endless variety is what interests most of us. I suggest for starters that you find a bar that has the six Classic Malts (a marketing scheme of Diageo, which owns the six--Glenkinchie, Dalwhinnie, Cragganmore, Oban, Talisker, and Lagavulin--and many more) and try them all. That will give you a small sense of what kind of variety there is, although of course it's just a beginning.
How long to keep a bottle open is another topic much discussed. Some of the lads here have twenty, thirty, forty bottles open at a time, some of which may be open for years. It's possible for oxidation or evaporation to have a deleterious effect over such a long period. I try to keep it to five or six open at a time, for a month or two or three each.
We all like a buzz, to be sure, and we all overdo it sometimes; but yes, appreciation of the flavors is a big deal. If you're aiming for bulk consumption, you might want to keep plenty of inexpensive stuff around. Appreciate a nice malt or two early in the evening, and then bombs away! It's your whisky; enjoy it how you want. Salut.
However, when having some friends over for New Years this year (last year?) everyone suddenly wanted a tasting glass - I suppose that's called progress...
I'd take Mr TattieHeids advice and buy some cheap snifters, you will find a totally different (and probably superior) nosing experience.
That said, I must admit that a small tumbler deliver the whisky onto the tongue in a different manner - one that I sometimes find preferable.
Also, I find that many whiskies smell differently from glass to glass, ranging from very nice to offensive.
I think this discovery has, more than anything else, made me very hesitant about "condemning" any whisky out of hand.
It's all very confusing...
As for the amount of water, I think it was Michael Jackson who suggested "like dew on a morning rose".
For me, that translates into something between a teaspoon and a tablespoons worth.
Then again, different whiskies react differently to water, and to different amounts; ergo there are no hard and fast rules, you will have to discover it all for yourself! And that's the charm...
1) A tumbler is fine if you just want to drink the stuff. If you want to nose it, the tumbler comes up short in the opinion of a lot of people. If you're buying say... Teachers, do you really care what it smells like? But if you buy a $65 malt, you're paying to have ALL of your senses tickled. Glencairns are hard to find, but wine tasting glasses are available at most kitchenware stores.
2) How much water to add at a time is a subjective question. I would try about 5ml splashes in a 3oz drink after an initial 15ml dollup (I think an ounce is about 30ml). Again, it depends on the whisky, as some can hold the water better than others. For example, JW Red can hold the water real well, but Canadian Club perhaps not so well. I often add 1/4 oz to a 1+1/4 oz drink (just the way my shot glasses measure).
3) IMHO Glenlivet is a VERY decent starter whisky, especially at it's price point. I get the idea from your post that the Glenlivet is at the top of your price point. If so, I would recomment Abelour on reputation (haven't tried it yet). Also, the "three Irish" of Blackbush, Jameson 12, and Redbrest seem to be well priced with nothing bad said about them. For the same price as JW Red, I would recommend Powers Gold Label. If you live in Ontario the difference in price between Bushmills origional ($27) and Blackbush ($35) makes the Blackbush an attractive purchase.
4) My bottles usually last about 2 months, but lately I've had to go easy on the sauce.
Hope any of this helps.
Whisky doesn't really good bad but after opening it is best to finish it in a reasonable amount of time unless you want to pour it into smaller bottles (it is the air in the bottle that does the damage). Some bottles last a year or more without ill effects but others are already oxidized after just a few months so you want them to last no more than 6 months on average and less is better. If you find you can't finish them fast enough, you can always invite someone over
Had you told me a year ago that the glass could have such an effect, I would not have believed it.
In terms of keeping whiskies, it seems to vary bottle by bottle. I have found, though, that Highland Park tastes sublime on the first evening it is opened, but 50% of the flavour seems to vanish overnight. I have found this on a number of bottles, some of them quite expensive.
And yes frodo that is about my price range, $40~
Im used to more of the cheaper whiskys in the $22-30 range. I figure this is a big enough step until I have enough knowledge and the money to step up to say the $65 whiskys. I wont let you know my age but let me just say that $40 for a bottle of whisky is a lot for someone my age
Incidentally, I have a Glencairn glass bought at the Halifax citadel, with the emblem of the 78th on it. Very nice. (They charged quite a bit, though.)
Since I last visited, my love of whisk(e)y has seen me start working in the booze industry to get amongst it!
The chain I work for is pretty heavily wine focused so I have been trying to get my wine knowledge up to speed.
Where I am leading with this is I just attended a Riedel glassware master class (all wines I'm afraid!) and, as a self confessed cynic, was AMAZED at the differences in aroma and flavour components noticed between each wines specific glass and a standard XL5 tasting glass.
I was fortunate enough to be given a set of Riedel single malt glasses a while ago and was very sceptical about their ability to capture the nose of a good whisky given the completely different shape to most other "true" whisky glasses (Glencairn etc..).
However, my first dram of Glenmorangie 10yo complete with teaspoon of water was incredible. Somehow, the glass manages to hold all of the great aroma components but lets out the alcohol volatility to enable you a truly great whiff of the stuff!
Then the glass delivers the whisky with the most delightful "plop" straight on to the business part of the tongue. Highly recommended!
Has anyone else tried these glasses and what did you think?
(By the way, NO I don't work for Riedel!!)
And I've knocked over a Glencairn glass twice in about ten minutes with no ill effects, I don't think I'd be able to say that about the Riedel.
Riedel glasses can be expensive but deals are out there. I believe I got the pair for a little under $30. Glencairn is my first choice but I do like the Riedel and, as I mentioned, they are my glass of choice for some cask strengths.
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