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About Us Logo Part 2 The Essential Guide to Scotch Whisky

How to Drink Scotch Whisky

How to drink scotch whisky - myths exposed!

It should be noted that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to drink Scotch Whisky – it is very much down to a question of personal preference.

However, let us offer a few basic suggestions and, for those interested in pursuing the pleasures of ‘nosing’ and ‘tasting’ further, we provide a link below to our eBook which contains a detailed methodology for ’nosing and tasting’ Scotch Whisky.

Many who drink Scotch whisky ‘neat’ say they do not want to spoil the flavour by adding water. However, equally as many will say that adding a touch of water, particularly if it is pure, soft still spring water, serves to enhance the distinctive aroma and flavour of a whisky.

The two approaches are equally valid and they will, typically, highlight different elements of the flavour profile of the whisky under review. We, at undertake both approaches – nosing and sampling both ‘neat’ and with a small addition of water – when conducting Whisky aroma/flavour reviews. (It should be noted that tap water may contain levels of elements such as chlorine and, if so tainted, may mask and certainly would not complement the flavour of any spirit.)

Adding ice to a whisky can provide a refreshing drink in the correct circumstances but, it should be noted, that it will dull the fine flavours and wonderful aromas and so should never be contemplated when conducting a ‘Whisky nosing and tasting.’ Similarly, carbonated water is not an ideal accompaniment for whisky if you are conducting an exploration of aromas and flavours as it will also interfere with your deliberations.

The addition of mixers such as ginger ale, soda and even coca cola, is also undertaken and, it should be noted that whisky is the key spirit in a number of wonderful cocktails but, again, whilst these can provide a pleasurable beverage they are certainly for a different time and place than a Scotch Whisky flavour exploration.

‘Nosing’ and ‘Tasting’

The sense of smell is one of the most sophisticated of all the senses, and the pleasure that can be gained from ‘nosing,’ and then sampling the fine flavours, of the many wonderful and varied Scotch Whiskies available today is an experience that should be treasured. This is particularly true if it is experienced in a convivial atmosphere with a group of friends – old or new.

If you are interested in pursuing detailed recommendations regarding ;

  • The methodology of 'Nosing and Tasting' ;
    • 'Preparation'
    • 'The Nosing Action'
    • 'Tired Nose' Syndrome
    • 'Colour'
    • 'Tasting'
    • 'Whisky Vocabulary'
    • 'Aroma Standards'
    • 'Whisky Tasting Mats'
    • ‘Aroma and Flavour’ Record Sheets

and receiving guidance on ;

  • 'How to conduct your own Nosing and Tasting Session' including five recommended 'Whisky Tastings'

then please click on the link to


The Scotch Whisky Aroma Nosing Kit


Aroma Academy Whisky Nosing Training
trans5The Scotch Whisky Industry Review

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