BEFORE THE TASTING
First of all let us decide the number and type of products to examine. It can be a simple after dinner small sipping or a more structured one, eventually with more people. Anyhow, to perform a “technical” tasting and not to only enjoy a moment of pleasure, it is useful to have a minimum of planning. Let us reserve a rather extended amount of time to dedicate to each spirit, 20-30 minutes or even more for distinguished products.
In order to best enjoy the spirits which are involved in the tasting, it is necessary to experience them with a clean palate, which means it is highly recommended to enjoy it quite some time after meals, and without them involving spicy food. The ideal tasting moment of the day is morning, couple of hours after breakfast; the second part of the afternoon before dinner is also quite a good moment.
If a multiple tasting is planned, let us try to create a harmonic program based on increasing body and alcoholic % spirits. Another attention can be used when tasting whiskeys: the peated ones are always to be considered as last ones and, when multiple peated samples are involved, choose the order based on age and peat intensity (parts per million).
Drinking a lot of water, before, during and after the tasting is also recommended: this practice will allow us to decrease the % ABV of the spirits, and will wash the mouth when moving from one product to the next one. Pay attention not to select too cold water, which could anesthetize the palate and thus diminish the aromas perception capability.
Some are used to drink espresso coffee without sugar half an hour before the tasting: this is a very individual practice, which we suggest to experience before making it a routine. Another aspect to be considered is weather temperature: let us avoid the very hot summer days of course.
Regarding glasses: we strongly recommend using tulip-shaped glasses, several ones are available in the market. Tumblers are discouraged for the specific shape, not fully suggested for tasting events especially for the nose perception. Let us now pour the liquid in the glass; extensively aged products are requiring some minutes to best express all the tastes: let us also calculate this particular aspect when planning.