Showing posts with label whisky tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label whisky tips. Show all posts

How To Store Whisky

Storage of Whisky.

Most single malts and all excellent blends have matured for at least 10 years. So the product is ready and matured when it's bottled. Different from wine it will not get any better in the bottle. So does it get worse? I think that with modern technology most bottles will be sufficiently closed so no air can come in.
If then the bottles are stored in a cool place (not too warm and not too cold) and are not exposed to direct sunlight, it is fair to believe that the whisky will stay okay for decades and decades. Provided they are always kept in the upright position to avoid any leakage. Personally I can't and won't wait decades to open my bottles. First of all I'm to old for that and secondly I want to taste my whiskies!

It's something else completely if you ask me if you can store whisky for a long time after having opened the bottle. Once exposed to oxygen the whisky might lose some of its original characteristics. In July I bought a bottle of Bowmore Enigma, a very fine Single Malt from the island of Islay. You will find it high on my list of favorites so far. One of the distillery characteristics is the skillful combination of not too heavy peat smoke and not too heavy sherry finish. However, we are now in November and the bottle  contains less than half of the original 1 liter. This means of course more oxygen in the bottle. As a result, a large part of the original smoke is gone. It's still a fine dram but it's not the same whisky I opened in July. So I suppose it's best to finish the bottle in say three months. That's too fast? Then you could consider decanting the whisky into smaller bottles so it will have less contact with oxygen. 
At all times however, keep the bottles (opened or unopened) out of the sun. Not so easy here in Brazil!! 


The Nosing of Whisky

Today I would like to share my experiences with you on the subject of nosing whisky. I didn't start by poking my nose in my Tasting Glass trying to detect Wet Violets on a Sunday Morning in a little village south east of Vienna. Instead I started to read about the basic flavors that can be detected on the nose and on the palate when tasting whisky. So I started sniffing and tasting fresh and dried fruits, marmalade, honey, sherry, beer, spices like pepper, cinnamon and crave , lemon and orange zests, coffee, tea , corn syrup, toffee, cake, fresh bread and chocolate. After that I learnt about the different regions of productions and I started to nose flowers, heather, ashes, leather and salt. When I had to go to the port of Santos for my work I even went for a walk around the quays sniffing cables, fish, brine, the sea etc.
Of course It was impossible to remember all these impressions during my first tasting sessions but after some 10 different whiskies including Single Malts, Blends and Bourbons I felt I started making progress. In the meantime I've done over 60 whiskies and I now feel much more comfortable when I start nosing. To get you under way, here are some tips that might help:
The Nosing of whisky takes time. On average I nose the whisky on at least two different days, each time for at least 20 to 30 minutes. This gives the whisky enough time to open up in the glass. In case you only give it a couple of sniffs, the chance is very high that you will only get one or maybe two of the 4 main odours that usually pop up in whisky:

1-  Malt. In the end whiskey is made from malted grains;
2-  Wood and spices from the contact of the spirit with the American Oak Bourbon casks;
3-  Sweet Sherry from the Spanish Sherry Casks;
4-  Smoke and Peat in all whisky from Islay and some other islands as well as some (coastal ) distilleries on the Scottish mainland. But in other whisky producing countries like Ireland and Japan you will also find peated whiskies.

One last important tip: If you stick the whole of your nose in the nosing glass, you will probably just get the wafts of alcohol. Try to nose the rims of the glass and use all angles. You will see or rather smell different flavours in different places.