Andrew Weir, an old friend of mine from Scotland and the recently-retired US Ambassador for Balvenie Scotch Whisky (that’s whisky without an e), recently tasted a small group of whisky lovers through the line-up of Balvenie.
Balvenie is a hand-crafted spirit. Some argue it’s among the best Scotch whiskies in the world. Andy would argue that, anyway. I think Rick Turner, our EscapeHatch spirits editor would agree. I’m not gonna suggest anything different.
Anyway, Andy used to be a child actor. He’s had professional roles on stage and screen. He had a speaking part in Braveheart. And now he’s a whisky expert.
Until I spent time with Andy and some of his mates drinking our way through Scotland a few years ago, I didn’t fully understand how to properly taste the water of life, as any good Scotsman will call it. Now I do.
Like wine, I evaluate the color and the aroma. Then I sip it neat. Then I add a little water–a few drops at first–which helps volatilize the alcohol and flavor molecules and smooth the mouth feel. I add more water, a few drops or even a tablespoon at a time, until the liquor tastes looses any rough edges. Don’t need to add any ice. No reason to avoid adding water, either: the bottled whisky was diluted from barrel strength to bottle proof by adding water.
But don’t trust me. Trust Andrew Weir. He’s the expert. Here he is, explaining how to properly taste good Scotch whisky. And by that, we mean Balvenie.