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The Whisky Flavour Wheel: Tasting Whisky With A Beginner’s Palate

The Whisky Flavour Wheel: Tasting Whisky With A Beginner’s Palate

Source: Cheezeburger

Hello friends! Judging from the title of this post you probably have an extremely clear idea of what we’ll be discussing today – or you might just be imagining a deliciously whisky-flavoured candy wheel of sorts. I digress..

Let me start off by saying that everybody tastes things differently whether it be food, drink etc. On that note, have you ever experienced a whisky tasting where the people you’re with point out random ingredients such as ‘vanilla‘ or ‘oak‘ and such?

Source: Giphy
Source; Pinterest

There’s a couple things I’d like to go through today namely the ‘Whisky Flavour Wheel‘ (of which there are so many variants), and basically just my experience so far as a novice whisky-taster trying out exotic liquors that I never imagined I would.

The Flavour Wheel

Source: Malt Review

Overwhelming might be a huge understatement to describe the amount of information found in the photo above. Essentially, this has been the most concise and straightforward whisky flavour wheel that I’ve managed to find.

Don’t feel pressured to remember EVERY single piece of information on the wheel – but at the very least, it’ll give you an idea of the different flavour profiles most commonly found in whiskies.

Source: Business Insider

There are 8 main types of flavours associated with whisky.

  • They are:
    • Sulphury (eg: coal gas, sandy)
    • Woody (eg: vanilla, toasted)
    • Winey (eg: nutty, sherried)
    • Cereal (eg: malt extract, yeasty)
    • Fruity (eg: fresh fruit, citric)
    • Floral (eg: fragrant, leafy)
    • Peaty (eg: medicinal, smokey)
    • Fenty (eg: tobacco, leathery)

Quite the range right? I’ve listed down the 8 flavour types just to give a basic idea of what these terms mean but if you’re feeling even more curious about the whisky flavour wheel in its entirety, feel free to refer to (or even save) the giant graph at the top of this post.

Spirit Mastery TiP: Add Water, My Friend

Source: Gfycat

So we’ve gone through the whisky flavour wheel and its different flavour terminologies. An interesting way for you to enhance the flavours of your glass of whisky is by adding a dash of water.

Scientifically what happens is the dash of water causes certain oils to rise to the top creating new aromas and flavours in your drink.

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Feast your eyes on this beauty. John Walker & Sons XR 21 is by far one of my personal favourites. From the elegant bottle design to the delicious blended scotch whisky sitting inside it, every sip you take will leave you wanting more.

While I’m not the best at identifying flavour profiles, this exquisite whisky definitely has a woody vanilla-like palate to it with hints of spices on the finish. To translate, it goes down beyond smooth but burns like a freshly lit match after you’ve taken a sip.

The Remedy

Source: The Chuck Cowdery Blog

By no means does drinking John Walker & Sons XR 21 neat make it any less enjoyable than it already is. However, in my personal opinion – adding just a slight dash of water to a serving of this whisky raises it to a completely higher echelon of flavour.

With just a tad bit of H20, the overall taste of the whisky becomes softer, smoother and dare I say sweeter to an extent. Additionally, the fruity and leathery aromas wafting off the alcohol also become more prominent making for an extremely pleasant drinking experience.

Source: Giphy

At the end of the day, keep in mind that you should drink how you’d like to whether neat, on the rocks or mixed in with another beverage. As a fun fact to end this post, just because an alcohol is older doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better

Unless it’s the John Walker XR 21! If not you can always try out these other whiskies:

Check out The Good Stuff’s full selection of liquor and have it delivered to you today!

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