Following on from last week’s blog post by Blair Bowman and Nikki Welch, authors of The Pocket Guide to Whisky, we give you another guest blog from these two guides, who will take you on an amber adventure into the world of whisky. In this week’s blog, Blair and Nikki give you some golden tips on how to explore some of your favourite whiskies, and how to edge onto a new line on the WhiskyTubeMap.
‘To help you get started we have created a couple of journeys around the WhiskyTubeMap and some fun ways to ‘pimp’ your tasting to test all your senses.
Our sightseeing tour takes in a stop on each line of the WhiskyTubeMap, giving you a broad spectrum of whiskies to try. Each line on the WhiskyTubeMap represents a different flavour profile, and alludes to the types of flavours and textures you’d expect from whiskies situated on that line. If you don’t want to do all seven you could just pick four or five that you fancy to start with.
The Easy Loop, does what it says on the tin, here you’ll find easy going, every day whiskies.
Suggested stop: Johnnie Walker
Here you will find whiskies from the ‘brave new world’ of whisky distillation. Expect bold and perhaps sometimes foreign flavours.
Suggested stop: Hibiki
The ‘heart’ of a distillation run is the part of the spirit that is held back to make whisky. The Heart Line cuts through the landscape of the WhiskyTubeMap, with a broad spectrum of flavours and origins of flavour are represented as you go along the line.
Suggested stop: Glenfiddich
These are simply classic sweet, honeyed and fruity tasting whiskies but are not in the least bit boring. Expect good bang for your buck in terms of flavour from your dram.
Suggested stop: Glenrothes
These whiskies are rich, deep and unctuous. Luxury in every sip, to be savoured and enjoyed.
Suggested stop: Macallan
This is where influences of sea, smoke and peat start to appear on the WhiskyTubeMap. There is a gradual build up in intensity as you begin to approach the Outliers island.
Suggested stop: Highland Park
A welcoming dram awaits you on board the ‘ferries’ to the Outliers island. Once you are on the island you will start to find more smoke in your whisky. With a gradual build up of smokiness at the terminus, Ardbeg.
Suggested stop: Lagavulin
Just starting out tour
If the map feels a bit daunting, you are totally new to whisky or it has been a long time since you’ve had a dram the sightseeing tour might be a bit much. To help ease you in we have created three ‘starting’ points on the map, these stations are marked with an arrow. Try these three first, then decide which one you prefer and go exploring from there.
Starting point 1: Johnnie Walker
Start here if you want to begin with a very easy drinking, not overly-complex blended whisky.
Starting point 2: Glenfiddich
Start here if you want to begin with a juicy, fruity and sweet single malt whisky.
Starting point 3: Highland Park
Start here if you are after something a bit more complex with a hint of smoke.
Getting Braver Tour
The Getting Braver tour will take you out of your comfort zone and show you some whiskies you might never have thought of trying before. Prepare your taste buds for exciting new experiences and flavours.
Stop 1: Glenfiddich
A tasty starting point for your ‘getting braver’ tour. Look out for apples, pears and green fruits in this whisky.
Stop 2: Virgin Wood Finish
Whiskies from this station might be more woody than you are used to. This gives you a great way of tasting how important the influence of wood is on whisky.
Stop 3: Sullivan’s Cove
A deliciously rich and slightly spicey single malt from Tasmania, Australia. Probably the furthest you could get from the highlands of Scotland but a tasty whisky.
Stop 4: Single Grain Whisky
An often misunderstood cousin of single malt whisky. Single grain whisky is complex and peppery but offers a refreshing alternative to traditional single malt.
Stop 5: Springbank
A malty and slightly maritime dram. This is whisky is like an iron first of flavour in a silk glove.
Pimp your whisky tasting
Why not ‘pimp’ your next whisky tasting by adding fun multi-sensory elements or music as part of the tasting.
It’s all gone a bit fifty shades of whisky! Give everyone in the tasting a blindfold and try tasting the whisky with the blindfold on. Does it taste different without the sense of sight?
Now try tasting the whisky again while touching a rough texture like sandpaper, or a soft texture like silk. Did the taste or texture of the whisky change?
Try one whisky with a piece of dark chocolate and then milk chocolate. The darker chocolate will bring out the bitter flavours of the whisky and the milk chocolate will give your whisky a smoother texture.
However you do it, have fun!
And remember The Pocket Guide to Whisky is available from World Whisky Day on the 20th of May, but you an pre-order your copy here.
And don’t forget, you can find out more about World Whisky Day, which is on 20 May 2017, here. Events are popping up all over the globe. If you want to get involved and raise a dram with the world, head over to the website where you can register your own event. It’s completely free, and anything goes – whether that’s a dram with friends at home, a tasting flight put on at a local bar, or a full-blown street party.