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Techniques: The Whisky Doc

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Capn Jimbo
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:34 am    Post subject: Techniques: The Whisky Doc Reply with quote

Proctlogical er Practical Advice from The Scotch Doc...

I love reading techniques for appreciating spirits - here's another one from The Scotch Doc exhibiting a "bell curve" approach!

Scotch Doc: " I recommend the following:

Place about two ounces of single malt in a 12 oz. brandy snifter. Swirl the contents three or four times. Place the nose about twelve inches above the rim of the glass and sniff lightly as you slowly move your nose closer or farther from the rim of the glass.

Swirl the whisky again and smell again.

Now that you have found the "correct" distance for YOUR nose and THIS particular single malt, place about a half-teaspoon of good quality, room temperature water in the single malt. I keep a bottle of such in my single malt cabinet. Now quickly swirl the contents a couple of times and nose again. If the whisky has much character, you will now most likely have to move your glass farther from your nose.

There may be an intense release of aromas from the malt- or maybe not so intense. This robust release of aromas is due to the old Chemistry 104 term called "heat of solution." In effect, this rule states that when two chemicals are mixed, they may "take on" or "release" energy, thus becoming cooler or warmer. In the case of a whisky and water mix, the solution becomes slightly warmer, thus releasing the ethyl alcohols which contain much of the aroma of the single malt. The "nosing" step of appreciating the single malt is very important. There are 32 primary aromas, but only four primary tastes (via the tongue).

Taste is influenced by the sense of smell for more than most people are aware. At this point, take a small sip (3/4 to 1 teaspoonful) of the single malt into your mouth and allow it to coat the tongue and mouth well (no mouthwash swishing, now). Swallow slowly and envision the "Bell Curve" (you would expect a "Bell Curve" comparison from a professor, huh?) as the intensity of the flavor builds to a pinnacle and then declines. The more flavor and the longer it takes for the flavor to reach its flavor peak, the "taller" the "bell" will be.

The length of time it takes the flavor to reach its peak, and the longer the flavor lasts after it attains the peak (referred to as the "finish" or "after-taste"), the broader the Bell will be.

With careful attention and regular practice, a great deal of information concerning the idiosyncrasies of single malts can be learned. More importantly, however, is the tremendous level of appreciation for the single malt that will occur. The incomparable single malt was never meant to be "drank," like other liquids. It was meant to be savored and "experienced." In fact, if one takes the time to get educated concerning the taste, history and mystique of the Scotch single malt, they may come to actually revere it."


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