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It’s World Whisky Day! All you need to know about your favourite tipple and how to drink it

Whisky is one of the best spirits that deserves to be enjoyed, appreciated, and handled with care. Picture: Pexels/Anastasia Zhenina

Whisky is one of the best spirits that deserves to be enjoyed, appreciated, and handled with care. Picture: Pexels/Anastasia Zhenina

Published May 21, 2022

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Today, May 21, is World Whisky Day, a day that reminds us that there is an incredibly broad range of whisky out there to indulge in. World Whisky Day takes place on the third Saturday in May each year and is all about enjoying your whisky as you like it, ice or water, whatever works for you. I remember eight years ago when I started my journey with whisky. I had Jameson Irish Whiskey neat, and there and then it was my favourite. But as the years went by I started to learn more about other whisky brands on the market and got to taste them. On the journey, I also learnt the right way to drink whisky and what it is made from. And before you quench your thirst in celebration of this much-loved drink today, below we want to share with you some of the things you need to know about your favourite tipple, courtesy of the owner of premium drinks company Truman & Orange, Rowan Leibbrandt, and a simple guide on how to drink whisky.

Things you need to know about your favourite tipple:

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  • Whisky is made from just three ingredients: water, barley and yeast.
  • Whisky spelled without an “e” is made in Scotland. Whiskey spelled with an “e” refers to Irish and American whiskey.
  • Blended whisky is not inferior to single malt whisky; in fact, it’s the most popular of all types of whisky and is driving category growth both globally and in South Africa.
  • Master blenders produce blends by mixing different whiskies of different ages and flavours to get a perfect balance. Let’s take Bannerman’s Scotch Whisky, for example: it is blended using more aged malt than traditional blends – five- to six-year-old malts rather than the traditional three-year-old malts used in many blends – resulting in a bolder, more complex flavour and a longer, smoother finish.
  • Whisky flavours are developed in the distillation process. The slower the process, the fruitier the whisky owing to the liquid’s prolonged contact with the copper still.
  • Sherry casks are significantly more expensive than any others because less sherry is consumed than whisky and so the demand for these casks is higher than the supply.

Whisky is one of the best spirits that deserves to be enjoyed, appreciated, and handled with care. You should drink it like you know what you are doing. Neat or on the rocks. Those were words I used to hear people talk about, not knowing what they meant. It wasn't until I had my first sip of whisky that I realised how important these words are when it comes to such drinks. As much as most experts say there is no “right“ way to drink whisky, we believe there is. Here are some of the best ways to drink and enjoy whisky:

Use a glass

Select a small glass tumbler, such as a lowball glass. To get the most out of the scent and flavour of the whisky, use a tulip-shaped whisky glass. Try to avoid using a plastic cup as you might find that materials other than glass impart their flavour to the whisky.

Smell the whisky before tasting it

Put your nose in the glass and take a deep huff. You may need to do this a few times to get a sense of the aroma, since the smell of alcohol may be overpowering on the first sniff. Then you may start to notice other notes, like spices and wood.

Add a little water to enhance the flavour

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Add a few drops of fresh, clean water to your whisky and give it a quick stir. Doing this will lessen the harshness of the alcohol and bring out the other, more subtle flavours of the whisky. Experiment with adding water little by little until you achieve the flavour you are looking for.

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