A total sensory experience
Tasting Single Malt Scotch is a total experience involving all the senses. Remember, tasting is largely subjective, it's meant to be enjoyed.
Appearance: First, hold the whiskey against the light, a young single malt will be bright and translucent. Deeper color will indicate longer maturation as well as cask finishing. Colors range from sunlight, pale straw, gold, sauternes, Madeira, mahogany to molasses.
Nose: Tasting is primarily done by nosing, don't skip it. Take short sharp sniffs rather than a full inhalation you will pick up more fragrances. First try it straight, swirl it in the glass and sniff it cautiously, notice the initial fragrances. Add a drop of water, swirl the whisky, the water frees up more fragrances. Sniff gently at first and then more deeply into the glass.
Palate: At last take a sip and allow it to coat the inside of your mouth. Roll the spirit around so that it comes in contact with your taste buds, there are only four. Sweetness at the tip of the tongue, Saltiness along the sides, Sourness at the edges and Bitterness at the back. Notice how the taste develops, does it unfold itself in layers or does it give it all immediately, what flavors can you detect.
Finish: Finall the finish, does the flavor linger or does it fade. Do other flavors develop in the process and is there any after taste.
Ears: Don't forget the sense of sound, your companions oohs and ahhs and some of the words they use to describe the aromas and flavors can sometimes set you off in new areas of exploration.
Whether a novice or connoisseur, everyone can enjoy the full pleasure of tasting single malt scotch