Food & Drink | How to Taste Scotch Whisky


By: Jamie Solis


Recently invited back to visit our friends at VOM FASS in Claremont, was eager to learn even more about scotch whisky. Luckily, we were signed up to enjoy Whisky 101, VOM FASS’ signature event, which provides six scotch tastings, appetizers and expert insight into all things scotch. For the individual who needs to know more about Scotland and its prized liquor, Scotch Class and Tasting at VOM FASS comes highly recommended. We started the class off with a short tutorial on how-to taste scotch, which we're excited to share with you below.

Step One - The Glass

If you want to properly enjoy a sophisticated Scotch whisky, the first place to start is with proper and sophisticated glass. We recommend using the Glencairn Glass.

Once you’ve poured a small amount of whisky in your glass, it is up to you whether or not you want to wrap your hand flat around the whisky in order to warm it up a bit. This is just a matter of preference, so there is no “right” way to do it.

Turn the glass 180 degrees on its side in order to coat the class with scotch. Once you reposition the glass to an upright position, if there are fat legs of whisky remaining on the glass, it means the scotch is 40 percent or above. These slow traveling legs mean there is a lot of oil present in the drink.


Step Two - Nose

Before getting ready to inhale the scent of your whisky, be careful not to agitate your drink too much. Agitating your drink by swirling it around releases alcohol into the air, therefore disrupting the nose of your scotch.

You want to nose (smell) the Scotch three separate times with your mouth open, to allow for the scent to travel completely through your senses. Notice that each time you take a whiff, the scents may change and become more or less complex.

A couple drops of water might help the flavors of certain whiskys develop further, but it is certainly not recommended as a standard practice.


Step Three - Taste

Start by sipping a small amount of scotch into the front of your mouth. Chew or wrap the whisky around your mouth three to four times, allowing the flavors to develop on your palate. You will certainly feel a tingling sensation before you easily allow it down your throat.

Be sure to take notice of how the taste finishes in your mouth, and if there are lingering aftertastes. Breathe out through your nose with your mouth open to discover even more tastes of the scotch whisky.


This lesson on how-to taste scotch whisky was taught within the first few minutes of VOM FASS’ Scotch Class and Tasting, and it was followed by an array of modern and historic knowledge surrounding all things whisky, as well as the enjoying of six single malt, single barrel scotches. Our hosts and teachers Stuart Campbell and Kolja Erman were hilarious, while giving us an in-depth and full understanding of scotch.

Check out VOM FASS’ various other classes by visiting their events calendar. Take note that exclusive classes at VOM FASS Claremont are always selling out fast.


Thank you to VOM FASS for inviting to enjoy a complimentary Whisky 101 Class. To learn more about VOM FASS Claremont, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.