Basics NOTE


Whiskey tasting notes - Whiskey Muse

churchill quoteAs Sir Winston Churchill (or was it Oscar Wilde) once said, “my tastes are simple: I am easily satisfied with the best.”

For those of us who are beginners in the world of whiskey understanding the tasting notes and flavours can be extremely overwhelming – we just don’t know what the “best” is because we have little benchmarks to base it on.

And to make it more complex, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of ways to describe the varying flavours of whiskey. From baking spices to cheesy to stale fish, there are almost unlimited options.

So to simplify it a bit, we’re going to completely overgeneralize these ‘beginner’ tasting notes to start you off. These are not always true for all whiskeys that fall under these categories. Nevertheless, they are a starting point for figuring out what kind of whiskey to order or mix in to your next cocktail.

So You Want Something Sweet?

Try something with a higher percentage of corn in the mash. Most bourbons, Tennessee Whiskeys and some Canadian ryes fall into this category.

Try Forty Creek Confederation Oak, Jack Daniels or Wild Turkey Bourbon.

Or if you want full-on sweet with remnants of whiskey, you can try a pseudo-liqueur like DrambuieDubliner or Forty Creek Honey Spiked.

So You Want Something Savoury?

This is a bit harder to define and is often more defined by the ingredients used in a cocktail. That being said Japanese or Indian whiskies tend to be described as having a savoury taste.

Try Yamazaki (Japanese) or Amrut (Indian).

So You Want Something Spicy?

To have something spicy you’ll want to try something with a high rye content. Rye tends to provide an extra kick.

Try Canadian Club 100% Rye, Forty Creek Copper Pot or WhistlePig.

So You Want Something Smoky?

You’ve got to go with Scotch if you like the taste of campfire in your mouth. Scotches, especially from the Islay (pronounced “eye-luh”) region are smokiest, strongest-flavoured of single malts.

Try Ardbeg, Lagavulin or Laphroaig.

So You Want Something Smooth?

Irish whiskeys have a reputation for being smooth and sweet because they are distilled three times (as opposed to many whiskies that are only distilled twice) and the barley used to make the whiskey usually isn’t dried over peat (which gives it the smoky flavor).

Try Jamesons, Bushmills Black or Tullamore Dew.

So You Want Something Strong?

There are a number of cask-strength or overproof options out there but they can be hard to find in many bars.
Try Booker’s Bourbon, George T Stagg or Bruichladdich X4 Quadrupled Whisky.

Do you have any recommendations for great Sweet, Savoury, Smoky, Smooth or Strong whiskeys? Let us know in the comments below!

You Might Also Like