Hosting a whisky tasting can be a fantastic way to bond with friends and enjoy some fine spirits. Here's a fun and engaging step-by-step guide to make your whisky tasting event a success, including dos and don’ts to keep the spirits high and the mishaps low!

Step-by-Step Guide to Hosting a Whisky Tasting

Step 1: Choose Your Whiskies

  • Do: Select a variety of whiskies to showcase different styles and regions. Include a mix of single malts & blends, but be sure to include a Australian option in there. We suggest Nonesuch (wink wink).
  • Don’t: Overwhelm your guests with too many choices. Five or six different types is plenty.

Step 2: Set the Scene

  • Do: Create a comfortable space with ample lighting and enough seating. Use a table large enough to hold all the whisky bottles, glasses, water pitchers, and tasting note sheets.
  • Don’t: Forget to provide spittoons in case guests prefer not to swallow the whisky, especially important during larger tastings!

Step 3: Prepare Your Equipment

  • Do: Have one glass per person per whisky. If that’s too much, ensure you have water and cloths for rinsing and drying glasses between tastings.
  • Don’t: Use heavily scented soaps or detergents to clean the glasses—it can interfere with the whisky's aroma.

Step 4: Provide the Right Snacks

  • Do: Offer light snacks like unsalted crackers or bread to cleanse the palate. Cheese and dark chocolate can also complement the flavors of whisky.
  • Don’t: Serve heavy or spicy foods that might overpower the whisky.

Step 5: Water and Other Beverages

  • Do: Provide water for guests to sip and cleanse their palates between tastings, and also to dilute their whisky if they prefer.
  • Don’t: Include other types of alcohol. Keep the focus on whisky to appreciate its nuances fully.

Step 6: Lead the Tasting

  • Do: Give a brief introduction to each whisky—its origin, age, and any special qualities. Guide your friends on how to taste whisky: look, sniff, swirl, sip, and savour.
  • Don’t: Rush through the tasting. Allow time for discussion and enjoyment of each bottle.

Step 7: Tasting Sheets and Discussion

  • Do: Provide tasting sheets for notes. These can include categories like aroma, flavour, body, and finish.
  • Don’t: Pressure guests to agree on tasting notes—everyone’s palate is different!

Step 8: Play Some Games

  • Do: Make it fun with games like “Guess the Region” or “Blind Tasting Scores.”
  • Don’t: Turn it into a competition; keep it light and educational.

Step 9: Conclude with a Favourite

  • Do: End the session by asking everyone to vote for their favourite whisky of the night and maybe share a dram of it to finish.
  • Don’t: Let anyone drive home if they’ve been drinking. Arrange for rides or encourage public transportation.

Step 10: Send Them Home with a Memory

  • Do: Consider giving guests a small souvenir like a dram-sized bottle of their favourite whisky from the night or a custom tasting glass.
  • Don’t: Forget to thank everyone for coming and sharing the experience!

Hosting a whisky tasting is not just about drinking; it's an educational and sensory experience with the bonus of spending time with special people. With these steps, you're sure to host a memorable and enjoyable event that your friends will talk about for years to come!

Do you have a TOP TIP for hosting an amazing whisky night?
share it in the comments below. 

June 15, 2024 — Chris Burdon

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