If you aspire to become a Scotch connoisseur, there is much to learn. There are more than 2,500 brands of Scotch whiskey sold worldwide, each with its own distinct flavor. As with all learning experiences, you’ll need to start with the basics.
Step 1: Learn what Scotch whiskey is Visit the Scotch Whisky Association website to learn what Scotch whiskey is. If it’s not from Scotland, it isn’t Scotch -- Scotland’s whiskey regions are Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside, Islay, and Campbeltown.
TIP: The word whiskey is spelled without the "E" in Scotland and Canada, which is why most Scotch label's feature the W-H-I-S-K-Y spelling on their labels.
Step 2: Learn differences between single malt and blended Learn the differences between single malt and blended Scotch. Single malt comes from one distiller while blended Scotch can be a blend of as many as 50 whiskies from more than one distiller.
TIP: A blended Scotch bottle’s label only gives the age of the youngest whiskey used in the blend.
Step 3: Attend a meeting of a Scotch whiskey tasting club Attend a meeting of a Scotch whiskey tasting club or association to sample Scotch from different regions and different blenders.
Step 4: Get a tulip-shaped Scotch whiskey glass Get a tulip-shaped Scotch whiskey glass with a narrow lip. Experts claim that this glass shape allows the drinker to best experience the aroma.
TIP: According to Scotch whiskey experts, the nose plays a more important role than the taste buds when tasting.
Step 5: Pour Scotch into the glass Pour Scotch into the glass. Add a teaspoon of unchilled spring water to bring out the aroma and flavor. Nose first above the glass rim for a whiff, and then nose below the rim for the full aroma.
Step 6: Properly taste and savor the whiskey Properly taste and savor the whiskey. Take a mouthful and hold it for a moment, swirling it on and under your tongue. Then swallow slowly.
TIP: Purists claim that adding ice to Scotch 'freezes' the aroma and dulls the taste.
Step 7: Get classic Scotch whiskey cocktail recipes Get classic Scotch cocktail recipes from the Scotch Whisky Association website if you prefer mixed drinks. Popular cocktails include the Rob Roy, whiskey sour, and Bobby Burns.
FACT: Blended Scotch whiskies make up over 90 percent of all Scotch Whiskies sold worldwide.