Ever wanted to learn how to appreciate a special release whisky like Bill Lark?

Heidi Weitjens

Ever wanted to learn how to appreciate a special release whisky like Bill Lark? Here are six tips for tasting like a pro.

* “Appreciating” is next level to simply just “drinking” Whisky

Bill Lark shared his words of wisdom with me and that was, “I find it is best to have drink of water in between tasting Spirits.  It gives your palate a chance to adjust to the alcohol levels, then I continue to enjoy savouring the next Dram”.  This is followed with a cheeky grin and a “Cheers, up ya Kilt!” which still makes me smile.

Our goal is for you to get a hold of and appreciate a Distiller Choice Single Malt Whisky through evaluation, sipping a little bit at a time and it will tell you its story. 

I have found it takes at least 3 little tastes of Whisky before our mouth is ready to understand the flavours and send a more accurate message to our brain about what we are appreciating.

* See the light

When the glass is held up to the light, or over a piece of white paper, notice that the Tawny Special Release Whisky is a gorgeous amber colour.

Other Whisky types can be a pale straw, or deep nut-like brown colour. Usually, the darker the colour, the more concentrated the flavour.

* Try being a little nosy

Hold the glass slightly away from your nose and gently inhale the aroma of the Whisky in your glass.  Savour all the smells and hold your mouth slightly open for an even deeper affect.    

Take your time appreciating Whisky, notice how it opens up and evolves during the time it is in the glass.  This is what a Distiller wants you to experience; the smell followed by the taste of the alcohol percentage that they see as prime for that Dram handcrafted for our pleasure and appreciation.

* Adding nice water, or rain water ice

Truth be known, I am a water snob.  So I suggest to you that, like me, making your own rain water, or bottled water ice blocks will make you smile as you smell and taste how much better it is.

A large block will cool the whisky and slowly dilute it and is only needed when enjoying a full nip, rather than a brief tasting.

Trying taking the time to experiment with different amounts of water, it is a whole new Whisky appreciation experience.

It is interesting how a couple of drops of water unlocks different aromas and flavours in a Whisky.  Especially for a cask strength Whisky, water added in the glass changes the spirit so much as it also reduces the alcohol percentage.

* Fading finish

Allow the Whisky to reach all the surfaces of your mouth, which will then pick up different flavours.

Tasting Whisky is often about the aftertaste, or the “finish.” After you swallow the whisky, the flavour should linger on your palate, evolve and then fade away, it is worth taking the time to process this taste sensation journey.

* Try a flight to find what’s right

When I compared multiple Whisky’s, it was then noticeable to taste the difference between styles of Single Malt Whisky. When I sampled different categories for example ex Tawny cask v’s ex Bourbon cask and ex Apera cask matured Whisky.   My favourite was Tawny,  hence the name on the label ‘Distiller Choice Single Malt Whisky’ King Island Distillery.

Best wishes and cheers  hh♡ Heidi Weitjens

Passionate King Islander | Sole Trader | Distiller

King Island Distillery


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