There are a lot of do's and Don'ts when it comes to nosing and tasting whisky. I'm sure there are more Don'ts but here are some I learned till now.
- do not clean your glass with scented soaps or any kinds of soap for that matter. Clean water only!
- do not dry your glass with any cloth/towel that potentially has any oils / scents etc on it.
- do not wear aftershave,
- do not wear eau de toilette,
- do not wear deodorant,
- do not wear perfume.
- do not smoke.
- do not scent the room you are in by vaporising stuff or burning a nice fire in the fireplace or having poopy diapers around, overripe bananas, wet dogs, backing French fries, etc.
In short your nose will get used to these smells and overpower or change your nosing experience. If the dram has a smell about it that is also in your room than chances are your nose won't get the smell how it's coming from the dram.
Do shower off course to prevent body smells.
Do not try any intelligent nosing while having a running nose or having a sore throat. When your sick, you could use a nice dram to kill some germs but that's not nosing ;)
- same for cleaning your glass, no soaps, no perfumed papers to dry, no oils etc.
- do not eat foods that have strong smells or flavours. I avoid garlic, red peppers, onions.
- do not brush your teeth 5 minutes before a tasting. I say 5 minutes but any time shortly before depending on the mint level of yours toothpaste.
- do not eat anything with your whisky while tasting, unless you mean to reset your palette.
This blog is not about what you should do. That is entirely up to you, but here is what I do.
I clean my glass with hot tap water running in it for a while. Then I rinse with cold water. I dry my glass with a clean dry paper towel or a new clean micro fibre cloth. I'm sure there are better ways, but I seriously am not putting in a oil free high pressure air pistol system to blow dry my glass. Let you glass get to room temperature before starting.
I clean my palette by drinking water and giving my mouth a good rinse. This desolves any sugars left in your mouth or any other water soluble stuff. A small piece of 70+ % pure chocolate helps me "reset" my mouth. Followed by a rinse of water.
Resetting my nose is harder. So I try airing the room to take away smells from cooking. I don't have a dog. Kids are no longer in diapers. I do not smoke, so no problem there either. I sometimes intentionally smell coffee or some other familiar smell to give my nose a reference point and hit sorta hit reset.
If you do not live in a climate controlled lab intended for standardised nosing and tasting than you have to make sure you are at least aware of your surroundings and how they could influence your senses.
Organising your tasting session besides an industrial place that produces fish might not be to smart.
Note to myself: add humoristic video here about nosing and smelling.