We all have our own favourite whiskies…be it the light and grassy flavours of the Lowlands, the more floral tastes of the Highlands, the hints of fruit and spice from Speyside, or of course the peaty, smokey notes associated with the Islands. Although our tastes may all be different, we can all agree that there is nothing better than enjoying a warming dram of a familiar malt as a way of relaxing and unwinding after a long, cold, winter’s day. Although we may have our preferred bottles, one of the things we love most about whisky is that there are so many new and exciting drops to try, both from home and all across the globe, and what better way to experience different whiskies than by hosting a tasting session at home with friends and loved ones.
Two of Angels’ Share Glass’ biggest supporters, Gavin Ryan Thomson and Burkay Adalig, host a number of tastings in their respective homes of Germany and Turkey.
Scottish born Gavin, now located in Saarbrücken, Germany, is a brand ambassador for both Bowmore and Douglas Laing. Gavin is a kindergarten teacher with a passion for whisky, in particular Bowmore, so much so that this passion has led him to refurbish his entire basement into a replica of the Bowmore vaults. Gavin is a huge supporter of Angels’ Share Glass products and uses them in his regular tastings for small groups of enthusiast at his own home.
Burkay is a highly respect whisky connoisseur based in Istanbul, and like Gavin also holds regular whisky tastings using Angels’ Share products. Burkay runs the renowned website Meleklerinpayi (Angels’ Share in Turkish) for all things whisky. We thank them for their support of ASG. This week, we look at some top tips for hosting your very own whisky tasting.
After inviting your friends and family, without doubt the next most important names on the guest list are those of the whiskies you have selected to serve on the day. Having a variety of different strengths and finishes is a great way to ensure that there will be something for everyone at the table, and encourage those who perhaps tend to stick to what they know, to try something new. Always sample your chosen drams from lightest to heaviest. Smokier, peatier finishes tend to linger longer in the mouth so can disturb more delicate flavours if sipped first. We have found Angels Nectar to be a big hit with everyone at recent events, the perfect introduction to your evening.
A single drop of fresh water can completely change the composition of a whisky, allow your guests to experiment with flavours and aromas by adding water to their drams, and tasting the difference the slightest dash can make to even the boldest of malts. Always use fresh spring water, ideally at a room temperature. this will truly release the hidden depths of any whisky. One drop can be enough, so we would recommend using a specialist Whisky Water Dropper to expertly and accurately control how much you are adding to your whisky. As well as enhancing, water is essential for cleansing. A small mouthful of water from a clean glass will cleanse the palate in preparation for the next dram, so be sure to have a jug prepared for the table.
Tasting Notes and Notepads
It’s an excellent idea to pre-print blank tasting notes for your guests to enable them to make their own observations and even score their favourite whiskies as you go along. Each of us will detect different flavours when we taste, so it can be a good idea to compare and contrast with other guests to see what they have picked up on. Colour, smells and tastes…what stands out to you?
Selecting the right glasses to serve your whisky in is essential. For us, the Glencairn Glass is the perfect choice for tasting any whisky, with its unique shape ideally allowing effective nosing before tasting. A clean glass for each whisky is recommended to avoid any cross contamination between drams. The Angels’ Share Oak Stave Whisky Flight With 5 Glasses is the ideal solution for hosting a tasting. Featuring 5 Glencairn Glasses and one of our award winning whisky water droppers, it has everything you need for the perfect flight.
When hosting or attending any tasting, it is imperative that the whiskies must be enjoyed responsibly, in moderation and a safe route home (or a bed for the night!) is planned in advance. There’s no telling just how much your guests may enjoy one, or more, of your choices, so always be sure to arrange carriages or have a designated driver on the day.
Hopefully now you have all the information necessary to host a memorable whisky tasting at home for all your friends and family, however if you would rather avoid having to pour the drams yourself and wash all those glasses, you can join us on December 5th at The Curly Coo Bar in Stirling for our very own Pre-Christmas Whisky Tasting Evening.
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