For novices, it can be really intimidating when they are going to drink a glass of whiskey.

How long should you sniff before taking a sip? Or why all you smell is alcohol?

The thing is that most people are unschooled in the ability of “nosing a whiskey.”

Luckily, it is not complicated to learn it. All it takes are three steps, is as simple as Ross Graham explains, the expert of Scotch at Pernod Ricard USA. These tricks were learned after the recent event “Women and Whiskey” reunion at Marc Forgione‘s impeccable Tribeca Steakhouse, American Cut.

A special night where participants have the opportunity of drinking three different bottles of Glenlivet in its versions of 12-year, 15-year, and 18-year.

Here’s everything you should know:

Firstly, why you should sniff whiskey? There are different reasons:

  • You are going to taste a new whiskey and you want to learn its notes.
  • You just want to learn how to do it for no reason at all.

Let’s begin with the basics, whiskeys has an alcohol range from 40% to 50% and sometimes more, so it might burn your inner nose if you are not careful enough. So, remember to keep always your lips while sniffing to save yourself from the sting.

Usually, when you sniff a whiskey with the next technique you are searching for three kinds of notes: grain, sweetness, and fruit. And let’s not forget spice and smoke.

How to identify fruit notes

When holding the glass next to your chin, keep the border at the end of your lower lip and start inhaling. In America, whiskeys are matured in oak barrels that may have citrus, melon, or orchard fruit notes. By the other hand, in Europe the oak might be a more aromatic of apricot, peaches, or orange peel.

How to identify sweet notes

When sniffing, and inhale a smell of maple, honey, vanilla, toffee, caramel, or nutty and creamy traces.

How to identify grain notes

Put the tip of the glass close to you and dip your nose slightly, you might get an essence of wheat, corn, barley, or just a bread-y, malty aroma.

When you become a whiskey enthusiast, you will learn that there are more nosing distinctions to be searched, but for novices, these tips can be really useful to enter your nose in this world.

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