How To Choose the Best Whisky as a Beginner

Written by: Mikayla Newman Whisky is a multilayered spirit that may not go down your throat easy the first time. But once you appreciate the tones, texture, and aroma, you can quickly become a lifetime fan. “Some have had their first whisky with their dads as a customary initiation to adulthood. Others diluted it with soft drinks at a local bar with friends. But, no matter how your relationship with whisky has started, this drink is something you’ll learn to love over time slowly.”, Direct Appliance Rentals CEO Karina Wolfin. For those who haven’t tried this spirit, here are a few things to know for your first taste:  

How Whisky Feels

As a whisky beginner, it’s essential to know how the beverage will taste and feel. The first dram (technically, it means 4ml of whisky) will likely lay the foundation of your relationship with this spirit. Given its alcohol content of almost 40%, expect a harsh burn and strong flavour around your mouth and throat. We would suggest that you start with a gentler whisky to build up to the higher intensities.  

The Different ‘Types’ of Whisky

The method of blending has a significant impact on the taste of whiskies. Take note that there are two blending methods for whiskies: single malt and blended. When a whisky is labelled Single Malt, it’s made from one distillery but may contain ingredients from different batches or casks. The objective of single malt whiskies is to produce flavours that are unique to the distillery. Click here to explore Drinks that are labelled Single Cask means that their content comes only from a single cask. Explore the Single casks options by clicking here Blended malt whiskies contain two or more whiskies from different distilleries. The maker’s goal is to produce a new flavour profile. Blended whiskies take the adventure even further. Nothing is off the table here! Almost any type from anywhere can be blended to make the final product. Click here to explore out Blended options Some people prefer the unique flavours of single malts, while the blended whiskies entice others. Be sure to try various bottles of each to know which suits your palate best.  

Choose an older whisky

Whisky, just like other alcoholic beverages, improves with age. Because of this, most distilleries leave the whisky in the barrel for no less than three years. During this time, the wood barrel absorbs the whisky’s harsh tones while simultaneously adding flavour to the liquor. Therefore, the longer the whisky stays in the barrel, the better is its flavour profile.  

Get to Know the Different Casks

Logically, the wood which the cask is made of dramatically affects the whisky’s flavour profile. Most casks are crafted from oak because of their chemical and physical nature that blends well with whiskies. Some examples of casks are: American oak: Adds hints of honey, vanilla, ginger, butterscotch, and nuts (almond & hazelnut) to the beverage. European oak: develops hints of dried fruits (sultanas), spices (cinnamon & nutmeg), and sherry. Japanese oak: Whiskies kept in this type of barrel have aromas of flowers, fresh fruits (apples & pears), and spices. Many distilleries char the cask to alter the wood’s chemical profile. Charred wood purifies whisky better and gives it a smoky flavour. There are many types of casks which one may explore throughout their whisky drinking days.  

Ways to Drink Whisky

Neat: Straight. No ice, no cola, just pure whisky On The Rocks: Throw a few ice cubes into the glass. This will chill the whisky, and over time, water it down. This is an easier drink for beginners. Mixed: Not a lot is off limits here. Often mixed with various soft drinks or thrown into a cocktail.   For whiskies to be relished with family and friends or in silence, visit Spirits of France. Written by: Mikayla Newman