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Learn About Scotch with a Guided Tasting
This Sunday, Vanessa was out of town so Rachel and I decided to have a girls gone wild kind of #sundayfunday and arranged a scotch tasting at a local whisky bar.
We both love to drink bourbon on the rocks and love a good whisky cocktail but neither of us had drank a lot of scotch or knew much about it at all. So we started by doing a little research on Scotland itself, the homeland of scotch, and the distillation process they use there.
We learned that scotch is made from at least 10-20% malted barley and distilled twice before being aged in barrel for a minimum of three years. If you’re looking to learn more about this process the Scotch Whisky Experience is a good place to start.
There are six regions in Scotland that produce scotch with different characteristics; Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Island, Campbeltown and Isley.
We decided to try one of each and created our very own downloadable Tasting Sheet to keep track of our notes.
- Tasting Sheet (you can download it here)
- 1 oz of each scotch (we ordered six kinds and shared each of them – because six oz of scotch each would put us over the edge)
Start by writing the name of each scotch on the Tasting Sheet and position them in front of their corresponding number. Most scotch will have an age on the bottle which you can also take note of and keep in mind when tasting.
Next, assess the colour. Scotch can range from yellow-gold to a darker amber depending on the type of barrel and how long it is aged for.
Then give it a whiff and record what you smell on the nose. Some scotch is fruity or nutty, others are extremely smoky and peaty.
Now give it a taste! First notice the body of the scotch. Body refers to the texture of the scotch in your mouth. It can be light body to full body in terms of the weight on your palate based on the distillation technique used.
You’ll then want to take notice of the flavours that come out on your palate. They should be similar to the notes recorded on the nose but you may get more or less flavours on the palate depending on the scotch.
Lastly, notice the finish of the scotch, meaning how long those flavours linger on the palate. The longer the flavours last on your palette and the more complex those flavours are, the higher quality the scotch.
We ended our tasting with a final assessment of each scotch, giving it a score out of ten. This helped us remember which ones we liked best so that we could pick up a bottle in the future.
Trust us, we had an amazing time, learned a lot and were feeling pretty good by the time we left. We even picked up the recipe for a new cocktail from the bartender, Mike, which we’ve featured in this post – the Guinness Flip. Because yes, after we tasted the Scotch we couldn’t resist a cocktail. The Guinness Flip is made with rum, condensed milk, egg, Guinness and nutmeg. It might seem like a strange collection of ingredients, but it’s super tasty, trust us! You can grab the recipe here.
This soundtrack is the perfect pairing for your scotch tasting adventure. Sophisticated, a tad jazzy and super chill