NosingSmoky, honey, body, sweetness, medicinal, tobacco, spicy, winey, nutty, malty, fruity and floral.  
Single Malt Scotch Whisky is probably the most complex spirit in the world and thus the most fun and sensually stimulating to taste and analyse.
             
So, lets get started: gently pour some whisky into a glass.
You are now ready to begin your sensory journey.
The first stage is appearance and anticipation of what's to follow.
Considerable pleasure is to be gained from appreciating and describing the color and tone, its lightness or intensity, its clarity, its 'legs'.

The second stage is the whisky's aroma - neat.
The pleasure here is to describe and savour the aroma that comes from the whisky when undiluted.
Is it a complex aroma? How intense is it? Try to anticipate what is to come.

adding waterThe third stage is the aroma when diluted.
The aroma will change with the addition of water.
Try adding a little water and notice how the aroma opens out.
Connoisseurs refer to this as the whisky beginning to reveal its inner secrets.

The fourth stage moves to the sense of taste. First, on the palate.
Taste the whisky in the mouth - take a good sip and let it rest and roll on the tongue for a while before swallowing.
Again pleasure is to be gained from sensory observation.
Does it feel intense on the palate?
What is the mouth-feel - thin, fat or creamy? Luxuriant or velvety.
Use the tongue to describe the texture and structure.



The fifth and most vital stage is called the finish.
This is when you swallow and really savour the whisky.
What is the taste? What is the aftertaste - is it long and lingering and satisfying?
And vitally, in the finish, is also the overall impression of the whisky, the culmination of this five stage sensory experience.

For anyone trying to pick the perfect single malt whisky, these are the 12 "cardinal flavours" to tickle the tastebuds of whisky connoisseurs. Below you will find a summary:                    
                        
Apple                         
    Cider                    
    Apple pie                    
    Calvados                    
    Fruity                    
    fresh apples,                    
    cooked apples 
Citrus                         
    Lemons                     
    Limes                     
    Oranges                     
    Zesty                     
    tangerines                     
    limes,                     
    orange peel  
Dried fruits                         
    Prunes                    
    Dates, Figs                     
    Dried Apricots                     
    Raisins                     
    apricots                     
    mixed peel 
Malty                         
    Linseed oil                     
    Oily Texture                     
    Oily Noise                     
    Textured Feel                     
    Rapeseed                     
    Candles     
Floral                         
    Perfumed                    
    Scented                    
    Flowery                    
    Light leafy,                    
    rose                    
    gorse bush                    
    geraniums  
Nutty                         
    Walnut                    
    Hazelnut                    
    Liquorice                    
    Aniseed                    
    Marzipan                    
    Olives 
  Oily                        
    Malt                    
    Cereal                    
    Biscuity                    
    Mealy                     
    Malted milk  
Peaty                         
    Smoky                    
    Phenolic                    
    Antiseptic                    
    Iodine incense     
Toffee                         
    Fudge                    
    Vanilla                    
    Treacle                    
    Sweet                    
    Butterscotch
 Resiny / spicy                         
    Cinnamon                    
    Nutmeg                    
    Ginger                    
    Coriander Seed                     
    Cloves  
Woody                         
    Fresh Pine                     
    Sawdust                     
    Rich Oak                     
    Polished wood                     
    Barbeque                     
    Wood smoke
                 
Flavours from oak                         
Whisky that has been aged in oak barrels gets a number of components from the wood.                         
One of these is cis-3-Methyl-4-octanolide, known as the "whisky lactone" or "quercus lactone", a compound with a strong coconut aroma.           
Commercially charred oaks are rich in phenolic compounds.                         
One study identified 40 different phenolic compounds.   For more detailed analysis of components derived from the barrel, ......our next article will be featuring more about barrels and their influence on whisky.                      
                       

  
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