When passing dozens of unknown bottles in the whisky isle, it’soften difficult to pick a bottle to try. After all, distillery tasting notes are usually quite marketing-y, and although some bottle labels are more appealing than others, they don’t tell anything about the quality, either. Well, finding whiskies that you’ll most likely enjoy is actually quite easy.
1. Visit whisky events
Visiting whisky events – varying from small, private tasting sessions to large scale whisky festivals–can be a great way to learn about (and try!) new whiskies. Distillery representatives will tell you all about their latest releases, and will advise you on which whiskies to try next. Make sure to leave your car at home, because leaving a whisky event completely sober is virtually impossible.
The main disadvantage of a whisky event, however, is that you either have to wait or have to travel to attend one. Although smaller tastings are organized fairly regularly, large whisky events with a broad range of samples are not held every week. Additionally, whisky events can be some what pricey, too, since most of them charge an entry fee, plus an additional fee for the more exclusive whiskies.
2. Ask your local liquor store owner
Lots of bricks and mortar specialty liquor stores have difficulties coping with the rise of online whisky sales. And that’s very sad, because some of these retailers are having a hard time to stay in business, despite of their often unrivaled whisky knowledge, but simply because they’re not web-savvy enough.
Why not support your local whisky expert, by paying him or her a visit, and asking for some whisk(e)y advice? Most specialty stores will gladly help you by suggesting whiskies to buy, and some will even let you try before you buy.
3. Order whisky samples
A great way to get to know multiple whiskies at an affordable price, is by ordering whisky samples. Several retailers pour the whisky of a 70 cl. bottle into several small (2-6 cl.) bottles, and sell these as samples,for only a fraction of the price of the regular bottle.
To give you a few options: Master of Malt has lots of 3cl Drinks bythe Dram samples, FineDrams.com offers quite a few 2- and 5cl samples, and Whiskysite offers samples in even larger (6cl) bottles. Try before you buy can be very easy – and tasty, too.
4. Ask digital help
Whisky apps like Whisky Suggest can also be of great assistance. Just enter a few whiskies that you’ve tried in the past and really like, and the app will find whiskies with similar flavour profiles. These flavour profiles also allow you to search by flavor – so if you’re into heavily sherried whiskies, it’s very easy to find suggestions. You can even go very niche, and search for whiskies with notes of bacon, cherry, walnut or white chocolate. Whisky Suggest is available online, too, but one big advantage of the free app is that you can add the suggestions to your personal wishlist very easily.
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