Article No.4. Flavour Profiles

There are many factors during the whisky production process that have an influence on the flavour.  Even after opening your bottle there is still a chemical reaction occurring in the bottle between oxygen and the whisky.  You will find that once you start to broaden your horizon and try new whiskies that you will be introduced to new flavours.

Many people define Whisky flavours or styles by the region from which the distillery is located.  The more I have delved into whiskies the more I disagree with this notion.  You can get all types of flavours from all over Scotland (if we are just talking about Scotch Single Malts).  I find that regions or countries do help with giving me an initial idea of what a whisky may smell and taste like but I have been surprised on so many occasion that I do not treat this a the rule.

There are  two things in particular that I think will help you get your bearings when it comes to understanding the flavours that you are experiencing and how these flavours differ to on another.

Whisky flavour wheels: If you are finding it difficult to describe flavours then it is worth seeking out a flavour wheel.  If you search on the internet there are a number of these.  A flavour wheel attempts to categories flavours into broad categories and then provide specific notes under each one.  This will help you develop your vocabulary when it comes to describing whiskies.  It may be that you are picking up a lot of flavours but you are struggling to describe them.  You will struggle to read the image so here is where to get a better view and to find out more.



Whisky flavour maps: There are numerous flavour maps available online which pinpoint whiskies on a 2 axis scale between light, delicate, rich and smoky.  These can be helpful in guiding you as to which whisky to try next. Try plotting the ones you have tried or will be trying onto your own flavour map. The image is not great so here is where to get a better view and to find out more.