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How to Drink Scotch that you Receive from our Scotch of the Month Club

Scotch is a type of whiskey produced in five specific regions of Scotland: Campbeltown, Highland, Islay, Lowland and Speyside. It involves carefully chosen grains and wheat byproducts that go through a unique fermentation process, making it uniquely Scotch. With over 100 Scotch distilleries producing the spirit, there are many types and flavors to choose from, but have you stopped to consider how to drink Scotch to get the most out of it?

The truth is, there is no right or wrong way to drink Scotch. What matters is how you enjoy it. But, when you consider how to understand what you’re buying and the different ways to serve and try it, you’ll enjoy the spirit that much more. Check out our tips on what to look for when choosing a Scotch, the types of glasses best suited for the spirit, the different ways people drink Scotch, and some handy tips to make the most of your Scotch journey.

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Picking Your Taster's Club Scotch

picking a scotch

Each and every Scotch is made with different ingredients and methods, so every bottle from Taster's Club (or anywhere else) will turn out differently, too. It’s important to understand what to watch out for when choosing your Scotch so you can be sure you’re getting one that you love and can maximize your enjoyment. Many elements affect a Scotch’s overall taste and quality, including fermentation, production and filtration process (including the quantity of peat and type of oak cask), and distillation region or location and climate. As well, color, aging time, and ABV (alcohol by volume) have a role to play.

If you’re unsure about some of these elements, the label on your Scotch bottle of the month will indicate quite a bit about it, including some or all of the following:

  • Distillery name or brand
  • Type of wood it was aged in
  • Age
  • Region
  • Type of whisky (make sure it says Scotch!)
  • Strength or ABV (alcohol by volume)
  • Bottle size
  • Collection
  • Bottler
  • Master Blender and/or Master Distiller
  • Cask number
  • Non-chill filtered (this can signal perceived quality)
  • The words “Limited Edition” or “Single Cask”

Scotch Glasses for Your Taster's Club Scotch

scotch glasses

Another top consideration when learning how to drink Scotch from Taster's Club or elsewhere is the glass you’re using. If you’re drinking your Scotch neat, with water, or with ice, try a tulip glass or whiskey snifter. The large bowl bottom captures and concentrates the spirit’s color, aromas, body, taste and finish. If you don’t have one, a wine glass or a sturdy, solid tumbler (which is a short glass with a heavy bottom) can work instead. Or, if cocktails are more your thing, go for a highball glass (a slim, tall and straight-sided glass).

Whichever way you like your Taster's Club Scotch, if you’re wondering how to choose a great glass to enjoy it from, it really boils down to preference. But, there are still a few key factors to consider.

STRUCTURE

Be sure there’s enough room for the spirit to breathe so you can smell and taste it as intended. There should be just enough room for the liquid to move around but not collect at the bottom of a deep glass.

SHAPE, TEXTURE AND FEEL

The thin and curved glass of a tulip glass or whiskey snifter allows you to maximize the aromas when smelling the Scotch. A slightly curled or rounded mouth will help with drinkability. And, the glass should feel good, with a solid weight, design, and grip.

APPEARANCE

You should like the way your Scotch glass looks, just like any other dishware in your kitchen.

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How to Drink Your Scotch of the Month

There are a variety of ways to drink your Taster's Club Scotch of the month, with no way being better than another. It really is a matter of taste and preference, as well as how new you are to the world of Scotch.

NEAT

Drinking Scotch neat is the simplest way to enjoy it, whether you opt for a single malt or blended Scotch. The idea is the liquid goes directly from the bottle into your glass without interruption. Just pour a couple of ounces into that tulip glass or whiskey snifter. In between lingering, slow sips, so you can really appreciate the Scotch’s intricacies, you should neutralize your palate with sips of cool water.

DILUTED

When a few drops of water are combined with Scotch, you’ll find the flavors open right up as the alcohol’s intensity lessens. Just be light-handed with this, since you can always add more water but you can’t take it away. And the last thing you want to do is dilute that top-shelf Scotch you’ve just been waiting for all week.

Pro tip: if you’re about to savor a very old, expensive bottle you can probably be a bit more liberal with the water, up to a teaspoon or two, to better release the flavors. And keep in mind, water might make your Scotch look hazy depending on its filtration, but there’s nothing wrong with this and it won’t change your Scotch-drinking experience.

ON THE ROCKS

scotch on the rocks

If you’re new to Scotch or just looking for a refreshing way to end your day, enjoying the spirit over ice can be a great option. Just keep in mind that when you dilute it this way, its flavor profile will change. Some flavors will be enhanced, while others dulled. And as you savor and slowly sip your Scotch, its temperature will start to rise again. As this happens, flavors will evolve and you’ll begin to taste a myriad of things.

To find the right balance, the shape, size, and amount of ice are important as is the quantity of Scotch you pour. Many people love a single, large cube or ball to slow down the melting rate. Just remember the rule of thumb: the more ice you use, the slower it will melt, and the more Scotch you use, the less it will dilute. If you’re not a fan of diluted Scotch, you could give whiskey stones a try instead of ice.

IN A HIGHBALL OR COCKTAIL

One thing that indicates Scotch’s greatness is its versatility. When you combine it on ice with a highball mixer, like soda, tea, juice, or coconut water, you get a more accessible drink without giving up flavor. Cocktails like the Scotch Old Fashioned, Penicillin or Rob Roy work well with the spirit’s complex profile.

And just because you’re mixing doesn’t mean you’re limited to “cheap” or lower-quality Scotches, either. From spicy, sweet, sour, or bitter, anything goes. Scotch isn’t just for the cliche “stuffy old men” – since it is so versatile in texture and taste, you really can experiment with it any way you’d like.

Tips for Drinking Scotchtips for drinking scotch

INHALE SLOWLY

Take your time enjoying the enticing smell of your Scotch before diving in. When it comes to most food and drink, the aroma is a large part of flavor and can make the experience very enticing.

DON’T SWIRL

You might be tempted to swirl your Scotch, as you do with wine, but resist! When you do this, alcohol gets released which could overpower the actual scent and taste of the spirit.

SIP THOUGHTFULLY

Don’t rush through the sipping process. Instead, savor the Scotch’s flavor by rolling it across your tongue first, then letting it slide smoothly down your throat.

COMPARE NOTES

A quality Scotch will offer many aromas and flavors which will be different with varying degrees of familiarity for everyone. You might find the same Scotch to be spicier than someone else. This is all part of the joy of Scotch – discussing and comparing notes with your friends can be a fun and interesting way to pass the time.

Scotch Drinking FAQs

WHAT IMPACTS A SCOTCH’S QUALITY AND FLAVOR?

Fermentation, production and filtration process, peat quantity, oak cask), distillation region or location and climate, color, aging time, and ABV (alcohol by volume) all impact a Scotch’s quality and taste.

WHAT DOES A SCOTCH LABEL TELL ME?

Many Scotch labels will indicate details such as the spirit’s:

  • Distillery name or brand
  • Type of wood used in aging
  • Age
  • Region
  • Strength or ABV (alcohol by volume)
  • Bottle size
  • Collection
  • Bottler
  • Master Blender and/or Master Distiller
  • Cask number
  • “Limited Edition” or “Single Cask” status

IS SINGLE-MALT OR BLENDED SCOTCH BETTER?

This is really a matter of taste. Single malt is Scotch made with malted-barley whiskey from a single distillery, which can include multiple batches or barrels from that distillery. Blended Scotch is made with whiskey from at least two different distilleries, often with different grain Scotches like wheat, barley, or corn.

IS OLDER SCOTCH BETTER?

Not necessarily, as this is also a matter of taste. Younger Scotch is usually fruiter with vanilla notes, while older Scotch has a more complex flavour with caramel notes. The longer a Scotch ages in oak, the more flavor it gets from the cask.

WHY DOES SCOTCH GO WITH CIGARS?

Cigars are quite strong so pair nicely with a drink that can stand up to them without being overpowered. If cigars aren’t your thing, though, you could apply this to food like aged cheddar cheese, smoked salmon, or haggis.

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