Just Like Wine
The art of Spirits Tasting is an intricate thing. Compared to wine; distinguishing the flavor, aroma, distillery, and ingredients of different vodka, gin, bourbon, and tequila might be a tad more difficult, based on the powerful scent of the liquor. In truth, there are a lot of colorful and descriptive words to utilize when conducting a spirits tasting. In general, the language used to describe spirits is not as elaborate as with wine tasting, but it can still be just as intimidating. This month, Harry’s Wine and Spirits in Brentwood is ecstatic about introducing a Spirits tasting this month! Here’s how an efficient Spirits tasting can be conducted.
How Will You Start
The specific details of each spirit (i.e. vodka, rum, whisky) will not be explored in our blog, but rather the process and structure of a tasting and what to look out for as it proceeds in terms of smell, taste, and appearance.
A tasting can be performed with multiple directions. A blind tasting is one option; where one tastes a sample without knowing what’s in each glass. A blind tasting allows you to put any bias aside that you have towards the label and the brand and judge solely on the elements of the drink. However, knowing what’s in the glass prior to the tasting does not hurt your experience.
Every tasting should focus on a single liquor. If you pick tequila, you would want to taste all the different styles that tequila offers. A tasting could also be held as a horizontal or vertical tasting flight. A horizontal flight compares spirits that have similar characteristics but are from different distilleries. A vertical flight goes by age; the kicker is that it’s all from the same distillery. If you don’t want to do that and just do a general tasting, that will pit vodkas or bourbon with different ages and distilleries against each other.
The Technique of Smelling and Tasting
Now when you are finally in the act of tasting, you could still utilize your wine tasting skills to your spirit tasting. The first act is appearance. You’ll be typically using glassware for the tasting, so hold it up to the light. Does the light go through? Is it clear? Even if the color is brown, some light can still strike through. A hazy or cloudy appearance often means that the spirit was poorly distilled. Part of Spirit Tasting is examining the color and clarity which your host will explain with each spirit.
The second act is Aroma. Swirl your class, give it a few sniffs; does it have a strong smell? Do you sense any herbal or floral notes? A deeper whiff of the spirit will allow the taster to pick up individual aromas. Proceed to take another sniff of it before you taste, just to assure yourself that you formed your initial impression of the aroma. If you start to get overwhelmed by the aroma of all the spirits, take a sniff of the back of your hand. Inhaling your skin will allow your senses to reset and start anew. Next, take a sip.
When you take a sip, allow yourself to splash the liquor over tongue and around your mouth so you can get a sense of the flavor. You will mainly get the obvious flavors from the first sip. The important technique of tasting is to let it linger. EMBRACE THE TASTE! After you swallow or spit, you shouldn’t rush for a cracker or a glass of water. Try to notice how long the taste lasts. Take notes on how the finish is.
Enjoy a Tasting in Brentwood
Harry’s Wine and Spirits introduces his version of Spirits Tasting to put more emphasis on his Spirit products while also upgrading his wine tasting events. There is much to decipher and learn about bourbon, vodka, and rum to truly appreciate the making of it. Call Harry at 310-820-9988 to learn all the information about the events and to reserve a private event.