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Many people find drinking whisky intimidating, for various reasons. We offer practical tips from experts in the field.

Marc Pendlebury, owner and manager of WhiskyBrother, supplied the bottles for the magazine shoot and was kind enough to offer the following advice for whisky novices:

  • Price – just because a bottle of whisky is more expensive, it doesn’t mean it is better. More expensive usually means it is older, more limited or exclusive, or just that the packaging costs more. None of these factors necessarily mean that it is a better whisky.
  • Flavour – whisky is about flavour, and our enjoyment of different flavours is personal. We all like different clothes, music and cars, so why should we all like the same whisky? Find a whisky that tastes good to you, and stop worrying about what your friends are drinking, or what adverts on TV are telling you to buy.
  • Ice – ideally, you should drink your whisky without ice. Lowering the temperature will hide the flavours of the whisky, and the flavour is what you should be paying for. Rather add a small amount of water to release the flavour. If you want to add ice to create a refreshing, thirst-quenching drink, save your money and add it to everyday affordable whiskies, not premium whisky.

Five tips for whisky drinkers

Mark Backhouse, National Training Manager at Pernod Ricard SA, offers the following tips:

1. The darker the whisky, the sweeter it is and the first notes are toffee-caramel.

2. The lighter the whisky, the drier is it and the first notes are usually vanilla.

3. A single malt whisky gives a long warm feeling in the chest and around the ears. For this reason, you generally get more drinks per bottle from a single malt whisky than a blended whisky.

4. A blended Scotch whisky is made up of a blend of many single types of malt, together with grain whisky. Some leading blended Scotch whiskies finish in the throat, meaning the malt content is extremely low.

5. The absolute purists’ rule on how to drink scotch whisky is to add water if the whisky is younger than 19 years old. Just a teaspoon is enough to open up the whisky. Never add the ice first – always after. The fact that most people add ice first is Hollywood’s fault – every movie or advert shows a man adding whisky to a glass already filled with ice.

* Next week we discuss the difference between Irish, Scotch and Japanese whisky.

To read more about this story go to page 136 of the November-December 2013 issue of DESTINY MAN