New to whisky: 5 things you need to know before your first tasting
What to do when life throws you whisky and how not to look like a total lemon
This article is from 2016.
Saturday 21 May is World Whisky Day, a time for whisky lovers around the globe to appreciate the water of life in all its glory by drinking absolutely every dram in sight, with absolutely no judgement. Scotland however, being the home of whisky, dedicate the entire month of May to celebrate the stuff, making whisky novices scared to step out of their humble abode. But, fear not, there is still time to sharpen up your knowledge to join the rest of them for the celebration. Here's some things we think you should know about before heading off on your first whisky experience.
1. Whisky snobs exist
They may be dressed head to toe in tweed or are too hipster to handle, but don't let them, their exaggerated swirl of the glass and their ten minute whisky spiel put you off. There is a lot more to whisky than the drinker that goes with it, so take time to appreciate the different flavours and find a whisky that works for you.
2. It's one for the gals, too
If you thought whisky was just for your Grandad and his pals, think again. As well as becoming something of a fascination to young drinkers, whisky is climbing the ranks as the tipple of choice for woman. Top positions in the industry are also being filled by females, including The Famous Grouse's master blender Kirsteen Campbell. So don't be shy, ladies.
3. Nosing isn't just for show
Rumour on the street is that 90% of your taste is actually smell. Most of the peaty, fruity, spicy, floral notes you get from your dram are through your nose, so don't be afraid to get stuck in, one nostril at a time.
4. Paired with food, it's a match made in heaven
For many, a dram is the perfect after dinner treat, an aperitif to aid digestion and an excuse for one last drink, but the culinary possibilities of whisky are so much more. Whether it's an Old Fashioned to go with a prime cut of beef, single malt infused salmon or a nice salty snack with a Whisky sour, combining whisky with food is a game changer. Try Wilde Thyme's restaurant at the Glenturret Distillery if you don't believe us.
5. Drinking whisky on the rocks doesn't just make you look glam
Hearing that clink of the ice against the glass whilst sipping on a dram is all very James Bond like, but believe it or not, ice actually serves a purpose to whisky. By dropping the temperature, the whisky becomes more palatable; something whisky snobs will have a hissy about, arguing it inhibits flavour, but for newbies it's a fair place to start.
Fancy giving it a go? Check out all of our whisky tasting event listings.