How To Host
Whisky Tasting Party
You don’t need a smoking jacket and an armchair to appreciate a good Scotch whisky these days. All you really need are a few friends, a few different bottles of The Glenlivet, and some taste buds – all things you probably already have.
As the whisky appreciator of your group (we assume since you’re the one reading this right now), it’s time to share that appreciation with your friends too. And for those that say they don’t like whisky? Well, we can assure you there are whiskies for everyone.
WHAT YOU NEED
This one's self-explanatory. You can’t really start a whisky club with just one member now, can you? Sure, technically you can, but a whisky club of one doesn’t sound so fun.
If you only have a couple in your cabinet, ask your friends to bring a bottle from their collection to share with the group.
For the non-whisky favoring friends (or so they think), ask them to bring a packet of oatcakes, perfect for cleansing your palate in between taste tests.
Any old glasses will do, but if you want to be extra fancy, find some nosing glasses that are narrow around the top to help direct the aromas right to your nose.
Notes, which can be found on the box, will help guide your taste buds and get your friends past the, “I just taste alcohol” phase.
A drop or two can really help bring out the flavors and aromas of the whisky. And don’t listen to those people that say adding water to whisky is against the rules. This is YOUR whisky club, you set the rules.
HOW TO HOST
Now that you have everyone in a room and everyone is staring at bottles of whisky, here are the next steps:
Make sure you don’t overdo it. You’re not looking for a full dram here, just enough to taste the flavors. You want to be able to revisit your favorite later in the night.
Look at it.
Now that you’ve all got a suitably responsible amount of whisky in your glass, have a look. What color is it? The lightness (or darkness) of the whisky can signify the type of cask that it’s been matured in. (E.g. Founder’s Reserve is a light amber as it is matured in American oak casks, while The Glenlivet 14-Year-Old is much darker due to being finished in ex-cognac casks.)
Once you’ve given it a good once over, it’s time to smell it. Breathe in slowly and deeply and some aromas will hit your nose. Talk about them. Is it floral, fruity, vanilla-y? Again, the type of cask that the whisky has been matured in will have some influence here.
The step you’ve all been waiting for. Put the whisky to your lips and take a sip. What do you taste? Now add a drop of water and put it to your nose – not mouth – again. Lowering the ABV and slightly increasing the temperature will help release the aromas, flavor and character of the whisky. Now you can taste it again. What else do you pick up?
To kick start your taste buds (because there’s always that one flavor you can never place), here are some things to look out for:
The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve has a creamy sweetness with zesty fruits and a hint of toffee apple.
The Glenlivet 12-Year-Old is fruity and summery with strong pineapple notes.
The Glenlivet 14-Year-Old is selectively finished in ex-cognac casks, giving it a raisin-rich flavor with honey and spicy notes.
The Glenlivet 15-Year-Old has a sweet almond and spice flavor, thanks to maturation in French oak casks.
The Glenlivet 18 Year Old is rich and elegant with ripe citrus and winter spices.
Don’t worry if your friends are still “just tasting alcohol,” there’s plenty of time to develop their – and your – taste buds.
Refer to our Whisky Tasting Guide for more great info on how to get the most out of your whisky tasting experience.
Not just with each expression, but the whole experience. If you can, make it a monthly thing. Get together to discuss life, single malt Scotch whisky, the universe, or whatever you want. Just make sure you have some fine whisky in front of you and life will be your oyster.
Oh, and don’t forget to add Whisky Club CEO to your resume.