The Pledge, The Turn, and the Prestige:
Hold the glass up to your nose and inhale, slowly, with your mouth slightly open. This will help familiarize your palate with what you are about to experience. Do this a few times and try to pull some flavors before taking your first sip.
This is your first sip. It’s your introduction to the whiskey, preparing you for the next step.
Take another small sip. This time, let it burn your palate until the burn goes away. You will be desensitized from the alcohol when you get through this step. Once the after-burn goes away, you’re ready for your third sip - which is actually your first taste.
Take another small sip. By now you should be able to taste the sweeter, lighter flavors. From this point on, the whiskey should start to open up more and more and you’ll start to pick up all the nuances of the spirit and the wood.
*Note: These steps do not need to be repeated every time you have a new glass of whiskey, but it helps if your next dram is higher in proof or smokier/peatier.
Tips about Ice and Water:
The Pledge, Turn, and Prestige are best when drinking neat out of a whiskey glass such as a Glencairn. Ice does restrict certain flavors so keep that in mind when introducing your palate to new whisk(e)y.
Air and water will reveal more subtle notes. We enjoy following up the Pledge, Turn, and Prestige by allowing the dram to sit for a few minutes, taking another sip, then noting the changes as we add water one drop at a time. Also, holding the glass in your hand may also "open up" new flavors.
If you prefer your whisk(e)y with ice, you may want to try it neat the first time to get the full experience, then enjoy it with varying sizes of ice cubes to find the right rate of dilution for you.
We hope this helps you on your whisk(e)y journey.
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