Set up for a whisky tasting

Every other month the Upper Valley Whisky Society hosts a whisky tasting. If you have never attended a tasting, you are missing out on a fun event. First of all, let me make it clear, whisky tastings are not only for the connoisseur. It’s quite the opposite!

If you are new to whisky, especially the different types of whisky, a tasting is a great place to experience a whisky for the first time.  Not only is it fun, but you are guaranteed to learn something that will enhance your appreciation for whisky.

Here are 5 reasons why you should plan on attending UVWS’s next whisky tasting:

  1. Unique Whisky – A whisky tasting exposes you to whiskies, and types of whiskies, you may not seek out on your own. There are dozens of different kinds of whiskies. Each one offers a unique tasting experience. You may not think you like whisky, but maybe you just haven’t discovered the whisky that’s right for you.
  2. Expand Your Palette – By trying various whiskies, especially in a group setting, you can benefit from the insights of your peers. We all have unique strengths, and some of you have a special gift; robust taste buds and olfactory receptors that easily distinguish an array of flavors and aromas. While many of us may not be good at detecting a characteristic, we can often recognize something once it’s pointed out. It goes along with the adage, “I’ll know when I see it!
  3. Discover Subtle Nuances – Enjoying a good whisky is more than taste. In fact, if you relied on taste alone, you’d be missing out on what makes a whisky a unique spirit. It’s the subtle nuances that whisky offers that distinguish it: the fruity aromas, the recollection of fresh-baked bread, the smell of your grandfather’s pipe. It’s also the finish, that sensation that lingers and extends your whisky encounter long after you swallow.
  4. Broaden Your Knowledge – Knowledge enhances our ability to enjoy life’s offerings. Often our enjoyment is heightened if we know a product’s back story.  Who made it? How was it made? What makes this product special? UVWS tastings feature presentations that answer those questions and more. Does knowledge change the taste of a whisky? No, but it often explains the taste.
  5. Good Company – There are few experiences better in life than sharing a good whisky with an engaging group of friends. A common interest often brings together folks with diverse backgrounds. And the Upper Valley Whisky Society is an eclectic community. We’re old, and we’re young; male, female; wealthy, not so wealthy. No matter our differences, there is one thing we share, an appreciation for good whisky.

Whisky Tasting Prelude

Okay, so those are the benefits, let me explain what a whisky tasting involves?

First of all, we limit space to 10-15 people per session. That’s a comfortable number logistically and socially. It allows us to gather around a single table and have a free exchange of impressions and observations. It also allows for engaging conversations before, during, and after the tasting.

Second, we treat you to appetizers, a light meal, and dessert. We organize the menu around the highlighted whisky theme. For example, at A Taste of Ireland, we served Irish cheese, Irish soda bread, and had Irish Apple crisp for dessert.

During dinner, we’ll share a brief presentation that speaks to the highlighted whisky. For the Irish whiskey session, we discussed the rise, fall, and resurgence of Irish whiskey. For the World of Whisky session, we took a jaunt around the world. We visited the traditional whiskey-producing countries and discussed what makes them unique. And we also touched down in some of the emerging countries that are redefining the world’s whisky industry.

Whisky Tasting Process

After dinner and the presentation, it’s time to get down to business. You’ll take a seat at the whisky tasting table. In front of you, you will find 4 -5 nosing glasses. These are special stemmed, tulip-shaped glasses that allow the aromas to gather and rise slowly toward the rim. We number and organize the whiskies on an attractive placemat.

We’ll give a brief, very brief introduction to each whisky sharing what you might expect when nosing, tasting, and swallowing the dram. We’ll also provide a cheat sheet if you don’t trust your taste buds. Then it’s time to sample, experience, and compare the chosen whiskies at your own pace.

To help you keep track of your thoughts we even provide you with a tasting sheet. Here you can record the name, distiller, and type of whisky you are sampling, The sheet also lets you rate the color, aromas, palate, and finish of each whisky. There is even a rating guide that helps you rank a whisky for future reference.

And to further enhance your tasting experience, we provide you with water to clear your palate, coffee grinds to clear the olfactories, and of course, we make sure to have a good supply of dark chocolate on hand to sweeten the experience.

The Wrap Up

After the tasting, which usually runs an hour or so, we provide coffee and dessert and an opportunity to sit back, relax, and share some good company. We typically host the whisky tastings from 6-9 pm on Thursday evenings. All in all, it’s the most enjoyable way to cap off a hectic week.  These are a few of the reasons why you should join us for our next tasting!

So join us for our next tasting, you won’t be disappointed, and we’d be pleased to have you!