Big Friendly Giant

Have you ever sampled a whisky and been put off by its robust and powerful aromas? Sadly, for some, their first glass of whisky becomes their last. A well-meaning friend might have tried to introduce you to the wonders of whisky, and inadvertently presented you with a strongly peated variety, better reserved for those that have already developed an affection for whisky. Forget all those past experiences and take the first steps back into the world of whisky by getting to know the ‘Big Friendly Giant’.

Image credit: Royal Mail

Dalwhinnie is a single malt from a the Scottish Highlands and is known as a the gentle giant for its mild and pleasing characteristics. I have introduced many a friend to the joys of whisky by letting them have a sip of Dalwhinnie. The name ‘Dalwhinnie’ is derived from the Gaelic word ‘Dail-coinneeamh’ meaning a meeting place – a fitting name for the whisky I suggest for your first whisky date.

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Pour a dram of Dalwhinnie, then allow yourself time to ‘nose’ or smell the whisky before having a taste. First, you might get hit by a whiff of alcohol, but then the fresh aromas will begin to tickle your nose. You might notice a slightly fruity aroma and a bit of toffee. Now you’re ready to take a small sip and let the tastes of heather, honey and delicate spice play on your tongue. A whisky to be enjoyed!

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Water or ice?

Many ask what is the correct way to serve a whisky.  The simple answer is anyway you like it!

For some that would be a few drops of water to unlock the flavours. Try gently pouring in some fresh, clear water and notice how the water mixes with the whisky. You’ll see tiny swirls appearing in your glass – this is the oily esters being released and unlocking their aroma. As an experiment, first sample your whisky neat, then add a couple of drops of water and you might be surprised at the difference in taste.

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Others prefer a couple of ice cubes to give their whisky a cool, mellow and slightly subdued feel. Ice can take the edge of the sharpness found in some whiskies and gives a refreshing taste, particularly on warm summer’s day. However, ice also masks some of the complexities within the whisky and can make for a less exciting aroma.

Traditionally, it was considered inappropriate to drink whisky with mixers. In these liberated times many people enjoy a whisky & cola or mixed with their Scottish Irn-Bru. The distinct flavours of whisky is an important component in a variety of long drinks and cocktails. I’ll be sharing some of my favourites here on this blog…..

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Filed under food and drink, Scotland, whisky