A wee bit of whisky tasting…

17 Jan

It was another rainy and dreary day in Edinburgh, but I refused to let that deter me, and the one thing I really wanted to do in Scotland was a whiskey (or whisky like the Scottish spell it) tour. Unfortunately, they cancelled the organised tour I booked to a local distillery, so the next best was The Whisky Experience in Edinburgh itself.

(For the purpose of consistency, I am using the Scottish spelling in this post…I do have spell check!)

The Whisky Experience is a bit of a cheesy tour, I have to be honest. The first 10 minutes consist of a ride that reminded me of Euro Disney, with the ghost of some famous distiller (I think) explaining how whisky is made. I understand it is a bit difficult to explain how whisky is made when you cannot actually show the process, like at a distillery, but nevertheless, it was still informative.

The next part of the experience was an interactive presentation by one of the customer service agents, as they are called, who explained the regions of Scotland where they make whisky, made us sniff at a little colour wheel to illustrate the differences between bananas and spices, where after we had to choose one (yes, ONE) whisky to taste. Once we made our pick, we were ushered into whisky heaven!

The largest whisky collection in the world!

The largest whisky collection in the world! (a section of it…)

The tasting room is surrounded by huge cabinets on all sides, filled to the brim with the largest whisky collection in the world! Not a single duplicate or a single bottle that has been opened before. It was totally awesome. I sent a picture of this room to a very good friend (who shall not be named), with whom I have once shared a few very expensive whiskies! He replied that he saw a blog coming, and suggested it be a comparison between men and whiskies. And then asked me if it wouldn’t be awesome to be able to taste a variety of men (like a whisky tasting) before choosing one!

Now, I am not much of an expert in whiskies, and neither am I much of an expert in men, but I can see the method behind the madness here…and I do love a challenge!

So here goes. To illustrate how well I concentrated during the whisky tasting, I will follow the recommended steps for a proper single malt whisky tasting! (By the way, I upgraded my whisky tour, so that I could taste four of the whiskies on offer…damn that with choosing one!)

DSC00283s1.      Colour

The colour of the whisky can provide some clues as to the wood used in the maturation process, which can give some indication as to what the whisky will taste like (if you are clued up enough of course). For example, an ex bourbon cask from the US (all whisky casks are pre-used barrels, they don’t use new casks) will result in a lighter colour whisky than for example ex sherry casks. On the other hand, there is no way of telling the maturity profile of a man by simply looking at him. Some of the most innocent looking men, can turn out to be the biggest liars. How many times have you read articles about serial killers, and time and again, the neighbours will all profess that he had the normal boy-next-door look?

Whisky 1 – Men 0

2.      Body

When you swirl a whisky around in a glass (like a wine glass), it should coat the sides of the glass and then run down the sides in ‘tears’, called the legs of the whisky. The younger the whisky, the faster and closer together the legs will run. It is also an indication of the alcohol content. And generally an older whisky will be better than a younger whisky. Simple! With men, you can normally tell the age of a man fairly accurately by looking at him without swirling him around to see his legs, although it could be a very interesting exercise. Personally, I prefer men with their legs over something else…but that’s not the point here…The point is that some men mature and get wiser as they get older, but some others are probably better savoured when they are young and tossed out when they reach their sell-by date.

Whisky 1 – Men 0

3.     Mouth feel

This is used to test the intensity of the whisky and is not quite the taste part yet. Here you are supposed to take a small sip of the whisky, hold it in the middle of your mouth and then swallow. We are attempting to assess how fiery the whisky is. Stronger whiskeys will apparently ‘burn’ for quite some time longer than others. If you ask Cher’s opinion about men, she will tell you that it is all in his kiss. I can vouch for the fact that a good kiss does not necessarily mean that the man is good for a long term relationship, but I think a kiss is a very good indication of attraction and if there is attraction, then at the very least the man can prove to be a good short term distraction. So, maybe on this score, I will give the men their point!

Whisky 0 – Men 1

4.     Nose

That, for the uninitiated, means the smell or aroma of the whisky. It is recommended that you first nose the whisky neat, passing it under your nose, about an inch underneath. And with time, apparently, you will be able to tell a whisky that has flavours of vanilla, fruit, toffee, raisins etc apart. Personally, I think a good whisky smells like a really good whisky and you can probably get high just from the smell of it! This is a tricky one, because I love a man who smells good. It is an indication of someone who looks after himself, and cares about his appearance and how he comes across, so for me this is a pretty important aspect as well. So, I am going to give this one an equal score.

Whisky 1 – Men 1

5.     Palate

Now we are at the tasting point where your taste buds will confirm or add notes to your tasting notes. Apparently the master whisky distillers do not even taste the whisky as they can tell more from the smell and other areas than from the actual tasting itself. We apparently have a lot more sensory organs (like taste buds) in our noses than in our mouths (or in any event can recognise more smells than we can taste different flavours), so this is the theory behind this one. From my non-expert position, I don’t really care too much whether the whisky tastes like cinnamon or toffee or lemons, as long as it tastes good, so this is a pretty important part for me! I don’t often get to taste men, but I would certainly not put this high up on the list of things that will distinguish the men from the assholes, so I will give this one to the whiskies…

Whisky 1 – Men 0


The end result is an overwhelming win for whiskies! And on top of that, there are the following points in favour of whiskies as well:

  • You can ask other people’s opinion about a good whisky without hesitation and they will share their views openly and unreserved!
  • You make the bulk of your investment in a good whisky upfront, thereafter you can just enjoy it.
  • The whisky will make you feel beautiful and there is no need to keep telling the bottle how handsome and desirable it is.

But alas, I have to be honest, I would rather wake up next to a sexy man, than waking up with a whisky hangover! So, men have their uses…if only we could pick out the nice ones without worrying whether he will notice the Christmas dessert on our hips!

Slainte Mhath!


Posted by on January 17, 2013 in Passions


Tags: , , ,

5 responses to “A wee bit of whisky tasting…

  1. Rhonda Janse van Vuuren

    January 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm


  2. Lor Forbes

    January 18, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Just brilliant Gerda – thanks for brightening my day!!


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