consejos para degustar whisky - Whisky tasting tips

Whisky tasting tips: four advice by Dr. Rachel Barrie

Who better on whisky tasting tips than Dr. Rachel Barrie, master blender?

Rachel Barrie has been in the whisky business for more than 30 years, but was originally trained as a chemist.

This scientific training paved the way for her to become a leader in the delicious field of whiskey blending, which requires her to use her knowledge of stoichiometry on a daily basis.


Whisky tasting tips

Via Concrete Playground.


Tip #1: How to start tasting whisky?

It’s best to start with a neat dram, a teaspoon and water — first tasting neat, then adding water to experiment and unlock different tastes. Always remember to smell with your mouth slightly open. If you nose with your mouth closed, you will smell the alcohol instead of the aromas within the glass. Keep your lips open slightly and inhale a few times. Take your time to access the aroma and uncover the different flavours within.

A great introductory whisky to try is the Benriach’s The Original Ten. The best way to describe it is like having a pastry with fruit, toasted almonds and vanilla custard in it. Tasting with canapés or small nibbles helps showcase each whisky’s flavour, giving you the opportunity to discover the richness of complementary or contrasting combinations. The Benriach 10-year-old goes perfectly with heavily roasted nuts such as peanuts, cashews and walnuts.”


Tip #2: Enjoy it however they prefer, whether on its own, on the rocks or mixed in a cocktail.

I always encourage people to be adventurous and open to trying new things. When it comes to whisky, I encourage people to enjoy it however they choose — whether that’s neat, over ice or mixed in a cocktail. Every person is different. It is important to take your time, nose the whisky and explore the different aromas and flavours with each sip. The first sip is there to get your palate ready, the second sip is when it’s time to explore the different flavours in the glass. If you are finding it too strong, just have a teaspoon of water, it will make it more comfortable.


Tip #3: Whisky tasting tips: the golden rules to serve.

First, bring your chosen bottle of whisky to room temperature. Next up, glassware: it is important that there is a slight funnelling to the top of the glass, this helps to concentrate the aromas in the right direction. It also allows you to view or nose the whisky. Once you have the right glass, pour it and let it breathe. A good rule to follow is to let it breathe for one minute per year. So for The GlenDronach’s Grandeur 28-Year-Old, I like to pour it and leave it out for at least 28 minutes before enjoying.

Enjoy your whisky with a friend or loved one and make sure to take your time to appreciate the flavours and aromas coming from the glass. Stop and ask yourself: what fruit does this remind me of? Is it cherry? Raisins, dates, plums? As you dig deeper you will find notes that remind you of other things or trigger memories. Experience the whisky you are drinking with one another.”


Tip #4: And the best advice you’ve ever been given in life?

My parents were my biggest mentors. Growing up in rural Aberdeenshire, my family was grounded and taught me the power of a strong work ethic. I learned early on that never giving up will always create the best future.

The three sayings that have remained with me most on my journey and led me to where I am today are: do your best and forget the rest; seek balance in every day; and success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.

My biggest mantra is ‘Love what you do and do what you love’. I take this approach with everything I do.


¿Cocktails with whisky?

“Yay! Although I am partial to a neat whisky, we’re finding consumers are increasingly looking for more experiential, ‘fun’ serves with a twist that play on flavours, colours, textures, aromas and interactivity. One of our most popular cocktails is the Benriach Penicillin, which perfectly mixes smoke, lemon and ginger.”



Do you appreciate our whisky tasting tips? Join our newsletter for more news about the world of spirits.


Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.


Join the community on Reddit

Spirits Hunters is a community dedicated to spirits and the world of mixology. Feel free to talk about the world of mixology and bartending here!