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The How To’s of Bourbon Tasting

September 23, 2009

Drinking and tasting are two different things.  To drink bourbon, pour  1 1/2 oz into a glass, sip and swallow.

But to taste bourbon, to appreciate its flavors and qualities, here’s what you do:

glass1. Pour 1 1/2 oz of bourbon into a small glass.  Brandy snifters are good, but if you have a glass that doesn’t “bowl” so much is better.

2. Take a look at the color.  The depth of the color will tell you a little about how long the bourbon is aged.

3.  Smell it.  But don’t stick you nose down in the glass like you would with wine!  The higher proof of will deaden you sense of smell especially if you are using a snifter.  Hold you nose back about an inch or two from the glass and take a whiff.

4. Take a small sip. Just a little to get a feel for the full proof of the whiskey.

5. Now add a little purified water.  No, seriously.  Just a bit of “branch” will take the heat (alcohol burn) out of the bourbon and open up its flavors.  All you need is about 1/2 a teaspoon at best.  Be sure you are using clean water and not tap water.  Get yourself a home water filter or pitcher.  They are inexpensive, easy to maintain, and don”t clog landfills. 

6. Swirl the water into your bourbon to mix, then sip again.With the addition of water, the heat of the bourbon will be lessened and you’ll be able to hold the bourbon on your palate longer.  Find the flavors of this luscious libation. Each person is different and the flavors you taste will be as individual as you.   But if you need a starting point, some typical flavors found in bourbon are vanilla, cherry, caramel, butterscotch, toffee, wood, leather, and smoke.

Enjoy every sip.  If your at a bar, this is great to do with a friend or as a group.  If you are at home, sit down in your favorite chair, or out on the porch.  I’d also recommend, while you are enjoying your drink, to let your other senses relax as well.  Turn off the TV and stereo.  Leave youre cell phone out of hearing range, and simply sit back for a few minutes and enjoy the wonders of what’s in your glass.

Happy Sipping Y’all!

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 23, 2009 1:06 pm

    I love a good bourbon. I’m cheap though. A nice glass of Maker’s Mark does me fine.

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