1. You don’t put water in your whiskey
A very unfortunate misconception. Not only what is considered a bad taste in France is not at all in Scotland, but it is also depriving yourself of beautiful discoveries. Slightly lengthening your whiskey is a great way to taste this spirit. The aromas are released, the facets are better appreciated, and the texture, more fluid and less burning, is easily spread over the tongue. This is also why tasting professionals, after having tasted the whiskey for the first time, frequently add a dash of water in order to perceive it from all angles.
On the other hand, for an excellent whiskey, it is better to choose the water with care: as pure and neutral as possible (the Speyside Glenlivet remains a reference, but the Volvic is an honorable replacement). As for the quantity, no complex to have. In Japan, for example, it is common to order a mizuwari, or a drink composed of one dose of whiskey for two doses of water with ice cubes.
2. The more peaty, the better
Peat is the Epinal image of whiskey. Especially since the 1980s, when the Scottish single malts of Lagavulin and Laphroaig, reputed to be very peaty, have entered the French market. Peat is used to turn barley into malt, instead of coal. As it is a historical fuel in Scotland, the whiskeys there were once richly peated. That doesn’t mean they were better, especially for our 21st-century human palate.e century. No need, therefore, to embark on the shallot race in the peatlands. They are not endless, you might as well slow down the shovels. And then the peat aromas are expressed very differently depending on the dosage and the distilleries. A very light peat will have iodized, slightly marine accents. Others have pharmaceutical, disinfectant notes. The most classic have a smell of smoke, even tar for the sturdiest. Finally, the whiskey has a hundred other flavors to offer, toast, hay, violet or rose, vanilla, honey, chocolate, gingerbread, caramel or hazelnut. The olfactory palette is as wide as that of wine.
3. Real whiskeys are Scottish. Or at a pinch Japanese
The most publicized, without the slightest doubt. But whiskey distilleries are growing all over the world. Apart from scotch (Scottish whiskey, therefore), we can count on bourbon (American, made from corn), rye (American, made from rye), whiskey (Irish). Japanese whiskey, with Suntory and Nikka in particular, has conquered palates of all stripes in the West, but you can also taste a whiskey from Canada (one of the biggest producing countries), India, Iceland or even Tasmania. Unless, of course, you prefer to stay local: there are 90 whiskey distilleries in France, and a little over a hundred brands. From the Menhirs distillery (Eddu whiskeys) in Brittany, to that of Rozelieures in Lorraine, from the Domaine des Hautes-Glaces in the Alps to the Paris distillery, there is something to indulge in every region.
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