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How To Drink Whisky - A Beginners Guide / Tips

Updated on November 26, 2012
My favorite whisky
My favorite whisky

Hi all let me make it clear from the start I love whisky! I will never claim to be an expert and much of what I write you may disagree with. I love to drink it, smell it and talk about it. So it seemed like a natural progression to write about it and share some of my opinions with you guys. I always welcome comments back so if you agree with me or think I’m mad please let me know.

It was when I was around 27 that my life changed, up until that moment I had drunk whisky a few times and had never liked it. I’d go round to my girlfriend’s parents and her dad would always finish a meal with a Laphroaig. I tried it a few times and to be honest thought it tasted like TCP! Writing this now I can’t believe I was such a fool! However, something must have happened over the next few years as I was on a night bus in Thailand, chatting to a random stranger and what should he pull out but a bottle of Laphroaig, he offered me a dram and my initial thought was why would I want another slug of TCP? But I thought “hey, I’ll give it another go” and boy am I glad that I did, because now although I could still taste that unmistakable hint of antiseptic, I was also getting deep wood smoke and peat and I couldn’t believe how delicious this drink was. Needless to say I helped him finish the bottle and never looked back.

That was five years and it kicked off my hobby and indeed changed my life. I now have a running collection of about 20 bottles (some nearly empty, some half full) which I taste regularly. I’m not an everyday drinker by any means, but I love nothing more than finishing a huge meal with a large Laphroaig, Lagavulin or Ardbeg. From this list you can probably guess that I like my whiskies smoky and peaty and you’d be right. Most of my favorite whiskies come from Islay, I do though still love the sweetness and carameliness (if that’s a word) of Glenfiddich Rich Oak and 15yr and some of the Speysides like Glenlivet, particularly the 15yr and 18yr.

I am also very much a Scotch Whisky man, I used to love Irish Whisky, Bush Mills and Jameson’s were some of my favorites, but now after drinking the scotches I don’t think I could ever go back, I just find them too sweet. I’m, also sorry to say I feel the same about bourbon. I used to love Jack Daniels, but again just find it too sweet nowadays.

I have now tried most of the readily available, what I would call supermarket whiskies, and know pretty much what I do and don’t like from that range and am now looking a bit further afield for something special. I realize that you have to pay a little more for the special whiskies, but I think it’s important to keep trying new ones and pushing your palette.

I probably spend more time reading about whisky than I do drinking it and I’m not sure if I should be drinking more to make up for it or reading less, but I’m pretty happy with the balance. My favorite book is ‘The perfect dram’ by Iain Banks; it’s a very entertaining read about travelling round Scotland trying different whiskies. I’d highly recommend it.

Despite considering myself a whisky enthusiast and drinking it steadily for the last five years or so I still consider myself a bit of a newbie so am always keen to hear other people’s opinions and experiences and am always happy to hear a suggestion for the next Scotch Whisky I should try.

I will probably write a bit more about my collection and whisky in general so stay tuned.


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    • dommcg profile image

      dommcg 5 years ago

      I agree, the theory is that the nosing glass has a tulip shape with a thinner glass so the vapours gather in the glass giving you a more potent nosing experience. However, I still prefer drinking my laphroaig out of a nice and heavy cut crystal tumbler. It just looks and feels much more satisfying. I often ask, how would flashman drink his whisky? I don't think there would b a nosing glass in sight.

    • Rain Defence profile image

      Rain Defence 5 years ago from UK

      What sort of glass do you think is the best sort of glass for whisky glugging then? I have tried crystal glasses and generally got on well with those, but then I got bought a whisky tasters glass, which lets you really nose the whisky due to the shape. Oddly though, although the experience should be better, I don't really enjoy using it.

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 6 years ago

      I enjoy fine scoth whiskey too. Unfortunately, I am on a fixed income now so I can only read about it. Keep the articles coming.

    • Rain Defence profile image

      Rain Defence 6 years ago from UK

      Mmmm whisky is delicious. Just reading the word laphroaig made me get my bottle and pour myself a glass.