Whisky is fast-becoming a very trendy spirit at the moment. Toast explores this much-loved tipple and everything you need to know to jump on the bandwagon
Traditional, artisanal, crafted, small-batch: products bearing such descriptions are very much in vogue, and in the spirit world, whisky is riding that tide. It’s not as though whisky ever went underground or out of favour, but these days, when we have so much choice in what we consume, there’s so much to love about this spirit with a rich history. Whisky’s current popularity is partly thanks to the millions of new palates discovering and loving it in new markets such as China. And whereas whisky was, not so long ago, regarded as old-fashioned and un-hip, cool these days isn’t just what’s new and flashy: what we covet is something that has a craft in its make-up; we want to be part of a story.
Whisky offers us a great story – a love story with roots stretching way back, a story that takes time, involving trial and error, quality, scarcity and skill.
Experiment a bit
If you’re new to whisky, the best place to start is invariably to taste, and taste widely, to find what you like. Of course, tasting whisky neat (on its own, without any ice, water or mixers) is the best way to pick up on all the nuances in flavour, but as with anything in life, trust your instincts and simply enjoy whiskies in the way you find them most delicious. Experiment with different types, served neat, with ice, with soda, or in cocktails. You’ll find you like different whiskies in different ways and on different occasions. A smoky aged single malt might be just the thing to sip, neat, by the fire, a spicy rye in a bold cocktail may become your favourite way to whet the appetite at a fancy restaurant, while bourbon and soda could be your in-flight go-to.
Matters of flavour
In matters of flavour, broad observations may pertain to type but within that the nuances are infinite. Scotch tends to exhibit smoky characteristics, bourbon sweet caramel, rye fruity and spicy, and blends velvet smooth, but there are no boundaries: any type whisky may proffer notes of vanilla, wood or honey, the pleasurable coarseness of cigar box or the bitter-sweetness of dark chocolate.
Check out our Toast favourite whisky cocktail recipes below to start your delicious whisky journey!
Story by Anna King Shahab