So here we are finally getting to the nitty gritty and having a taste or two. The first round of tasting was done with Duncan Taylor Mortlach 1993 at full cask strength of 54.1%.The whiskies, having already been nosed and glasses handled, were all in various states of slightly warmer than room temperature depending on how well the glass lent itself to being cradled. Before we get into it, I do need to let you know that for this part of the exercise I will be talking about how the whiskies affect the palate from a mouth feel and alcohol impact perspective. Looking at how a glass delivers the whisky to your palate can make your choice easier in matching your next dram to its perfect glass, or for that matter, the perfect glass depending on what you feel like you want from your experience that day.
# 1 – The Glencairn Scotch Whisky glass – Cask Strength
The Glencairn, while keeping the nose subtle, delivered the whisky to the palate like a laser. It hit my tongue and the alcohol fairly spanked it causing me to tear up with the accompanying dry throat syndrome as a partner. The second sip was not quite the same story as I was more prepared for it, however, the focused nature of the Glencairn opening really placed the whisky onto my palate in a way that was not conducive to picking up subtle flavors for this exercise and enhanced the effect of the alcohol at cask strength.
# 2 – The Reidel Whisky Glass – Cask Strength
The Reidel opened immediately and was considerably softer on the palate, dispersing the alcohol although there was still some minor tingle as I was expecting. Overall easier to pick out flavor and a so much more pleasant tasting experience. The second sip was more of the same with even more discernible flavor as the whisky spread out over the tongue.
# 3 – The Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler – Cask Strength
Here there was only the tiniest hint of alcohol prickle on the very tip of the tongue. Very creamy overall mouth feel and very soft layering flavor. Warming this glass had a definite effect on the whisky and could account for the difference between this glass and the Reidel as they both place the whisky on the same spot on the palate.
# 4 – Traditional Balloon (snifter) – Cask Strength
A huge overall alcohol tingle and you still cant help but be a little overwhelmed by the huge aroma as you bring the glass to your lips. A heady and intoxicating experience, the whisky flows over the entire palate with a big barrage of flavor and smell. From Nose to Tongue this is a punchy experience that can quickly overwhelm the senses.
I then tasted the whiskies again having watered all 4 of them down to just below 46% as they were all now slightly cloudy.
# 1 – The Glencairn Scotch Whisky glass – Watered
Flavors opened up a lot more and the palate did soften a lot. However there was still noticeable tingle which was surprising considering the amount of water added. This was by far a much easier way to taste this whisky from this glass shape.
# 2 – The Reidel Whisky Glass – Watered
Considerably softer with water and very easy on the palate indeed with just the smallest almost imperceptible alcohol tingle. More flavor coming out and a great way to delve into the flavor.
# 3 – The Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler – Watered
Softest easiest flavor profile yet with really no alcohol making its presence felt at all. A lovely balanced mouth feel making it very easy to pick out flavor and really enjoy the whisky.
# 4 – Traditional Balloon (snifter) – Watered
Wow – Yeah Baby! I have to say that water in this instance tamed the beast and turned her into a beauty. Smooth (lots of people don’t like that word as it is over used but I like it as a lot of consumers can relate) like silk with a gorgeous balance. Yummo.
You must all be chafing at the bit to find out what all these flavors are and next week I will write up full tasting notes and sum up the whole experience.
I hope you have been trying along with me with some different glassware on your own multi-glass tasting. It has been the first time I have done this and has been an excellent learning exercise. It can be so much fun to try and delve into something so complex with a focused ambition to teach yourself something new.
Share some of your experiences in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.
Until next week,