Aye Laddies and Lassies! One of the triad of the whisky tasting experience leading to the maximum enjoyment of the spirit is the Nose. This describes the smell of the whisky.
Why is this important? Here is a blurb explaining this fact. You didn’t think drinking whisky was this technical did you? Well, it is.
HOW DO SMELL AND TASTE WORK?
Smell and taste belong to our chemical sensing system (chemosensation). The complicated process of smelling and tasting begins when molecules released by the substances around us stimulate special nerve cells in the nose, mouth, or throat. These cells transmit messages to the brain, where specific smells or tastes are identified.
- Olfactory (smell nerve) cells are stimulated by the odors around usthe fragrance from a rose, the smell of bread baking. These nerve cells are found in a tiny patch of tissue high up in the nose, and they connect directly to the brain.
- Gustatory (taste nerve) cells are clustered in the taste buds of the mouth and throat. They react to food or drink mixed with saliva. Many of the small bumps that can be seen on the tongue contain taste buds. These surface cells send taste information to nearby nerve fibers, which send messages to the brain.
Think about the last time you had a cold and your nose was blocked. Do
you remember eating and thinking that your food had less flavor? That’s
because most of what we “taste” is actually being sensed by our olfactory
system. The word
is actually based on the Latin word
which means to smell. In contrast to taste, where humans can only
perceive fi ve qualities (sour, bitter, sweet, salty, and umami), humans can
smell thousands of odorants.
So, the smell of the whisky you are about to taste is arguably the most important of the three aspects of tasting. However, you will be the final judge. What do you care what a particular whisky smells like to someone else. You shouldn’t.
As usual and as always, you will be the final judge of a whisky.
Now we will explain why you should use a snifter.. The bell shape of the snifter concentrates the whisky vapor which includes the most volatile and if I may say it, tasty smells of the liquor. Adding water allows the chemicals to be released into vapor and “wakes up” the liquor. In my and others expert opinion that is. Some disagree.
The next post will be about the palate of the whisky.
Here’s tae the heath, the hill and the heather,
The bonnet, the plaid, the kilt and the feather.
A h-uile la sona dhuibh ‘s gun la idir dona dhuibh!
May all your days be happy ones!
Your Scotch Spirit Master