I’m just back from a 5 dram tasting at 10am for what was described as a ‘Civilised Stag Party.’ A bit of an oxymoron, you might think, if you’ve ever been out on a Saturday night in Edinburgh recently. I think that civilised wasn’t too far off the mark, but to be honest the more accurate terminology might be ‘burst’, considering they had been out in Ratho the night before.
Anyway, the whole affair got me thinking about delivering a tasting experience they would remember, at least until the next pub.
Theory has it that the taste buds are at their most effective first thing in the morning, before we have contaminated them with anything else. What do you do if you can still taste last night’s nondescript meat kebab and the last two or three Jagerbombs that your stag party decided you had to down before chaining you to a lamppost?
What I am about to share is a tasting technique that is not only for these occasions, in fact, I think that a 5 dram whisky tasting on these occasions is probably the worst way to treat a hangover. It is a tasting technique that can soften the blow of a cask strength whisky early doors, and I find it a fascinating way to release a delicate and generally sweet experience from the most unlikely of drams.
It is also a great way to savour an Islay with water, without diluting the robust smoky aroma. (A great number of friends love the smell of Islay drams, but detest the flavour.)
If you are NOT an Islay fan, grab a dram of your least favourite and try this, I would love to see if I can use it to convert you to the darker side of Single Malt Scotch…
Here’s the trick:
1. Grab your Islay and take a sip of it neat. (Maybe punishing for some, but you need to experience the level of peat before to know if this technique works…) Swirl it around for a few seconds and swallow, just like it was any other whisky.
2. Take a gulp of water to wash away the after taste.
3. Take a second small sip of water, but hold this sip in your mouth…
4. Now physically drink the Whisky through the water…
Tell me you didn’t enjoy that!
And that’s how to introduce an Islay just before breakfast!