a night in with friends

Posted on April 17, 2019

Staying in has been the new going out for some time.  The components of a great night out are pretty much available to us ‘on demand’ in our own homes, making the thought of a busy bar less appealing than it used to be.  We’ve put together a guide for creating the perfect night in for you and your friends with a whisky tasting, (and we’re not being too heavy on the ‘socialising with focus’ vibe – there’s only so much organised fun anyone can have before it stops becoming…well, fun.)

What you’ll need for a whisky tasting

  • Choose the size of your tasting session – if it’s small, you’ll probably only want to have between 3 – 5 whiskies, but for a larger one you’ll want perhaps 5 – 8 whiskies.
  • Invites – whatever medium you choose to send out your invites, remember to include a date, time and the names of the whiskies you’ll be tasting (you could include that information at a later date and ask that some of your friends bring a bottle of their favourite dram for the event).
  • Glasses (go for the tulip shaped glasses which will bring out the aromas and give your guests the full enjoyment of each dram).  Also make sure you have enough glasses to try all the whiskies in a new glass, or plan to wash the glasses out before each new dram.
  • Notepad – make sure that each person has a notepad for writing their thoughts on colour, palate and finish for each whisky.  You might want to do a blind test or you could have a nominated whisky master who will share details on each whisky – its region, history, tasting notes and interesting facts about its production.
  • Pour size – around 10-15ml is about right for nosing and tasting each whisky
  • Tasting order – start off with the lighter whiskies and build gradually towards the heavier, more peated drams.
  • Neutralisers – have a bowl of coffee beans to recalibrate and neutralise smell and the senses which can become fatigued.
  • Food – why not introduce a whisky and food pairing experience as part of the evening.  A cheeseboard would be an ideal accompaniment with oatcakes and bread and a range of cold meats – the salty, fatty, starchy mix will complement your range of drams perfectly and ensure that your guests have plenty food as an accompaniment to the evening.

Tasting the whisky

Tasting whisky is a bit of an art, in fact, it can take a bit of time to learn how to master this so that you’re getting the most out of a whisky tasting experience so it’s important that all of your guests feel comfortable, relaxed and know how to approach the experience so that this is enjoyable and fun!  Here’s our guide on how to taste whisky, which you can share around the room on the night:

  • Appearance – take note of the colour of the whisky and the texture – the ‘legs’ it leaves around the glass when you swirl it around
  • Nose – The aromas of the whisky will release as it swirls in the glass.  Move your nose from the rim of the glass to the bottom gently, taking in the scent.
  • Taste – take a small sip, let the liquid roll around your tongue for long enough for the flavours to develop. Think about the flavours and the characteristics that are coming to life.
  • When you’ve finished your first sip add a little water and note how the taste changes subtly, with particular flavours opening up.  This is when the whisky really starts to reveal itself.
  • Finish – the final step of the tasting.  The experience of the aftertaste – a long, lingering finish perhaps or maybe a sweet, spicy finish?

The key to holding a successful, enjoyable whisky tasting where your friends will start to build their knowledge of a range of whiskies and also get to know their personal preferences a bit better is to make it relaxed.  There are no wrongs or rights – it’s all about setting the right tone by making everything comfortable and easy and of course enjoying one of life’s simple pleasures – fine whisky and great company.

Cheers to that, and a whisky tasting to remember!

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