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Scotch Tasting for Beginners

Although we can’t claim to be Scotch experts here at the Walnut Studiolo, we are appreciators. Our leather Whisky Case is a very popular gift item and we are often for a bottle recommendation to pair with the case. We’re never sure exactly how to respond, so we decided to have a little whisky tasting ourselves and share with you what we learned.

The Basics

On to the Tasting

We assembled a selection of seven single malt Scotch whiskies (oh the things we do for our work!) and these handy dandy tasting note sheets then set out to the hard work of having fun.

Tasting scotch is not much different than tasting wine, with the exception of the important role of water. My grandmother always used to drink Pendleton whiskey with a 60/40 whiskey:water ratio. A little bit of water brings out the flavors and aromas of whisky and makes the drinking experience less harsh. (Never ice, which dulls the flavors.)

To taste: pour the whiskey into a Glencairn glass or a small tumbler and observe color and smell. Make a note of your reaction. Have a small sip here, swirling it around the mouth and “smelling” it again with your tongue as well as nose. Pay attention to smell, taste, and “finish” (how it lingers after it has been swallowed – the flavors and the length of time). Then add anywhere from a few drops to up to 20% room temperature filtered or spring water and taste again. Are there any differences? Observe your reactions to smell, taste, and finish once again and make a few more notes.

The Verdict

Here’s our opinion after the resulting taste test of the seven we sampled:

Whisky Fit For Our Leather Case

If you’re planning on making a gift of Walnut’s Leather Whiskey Case paired with a good bottle of Scotch (a perfect gift for aficionados and noobs alike!), the Lagavulin, Glenmorangie, Oban, Glenfiddich or Macallan bottles all fit perfectly well inside the Whiskey Case, while short, squat bottles like Balvenie or Dalwhinnie did not.

For storing a special bottle out of the light or bringing it out of the house with you, Walnut Studiolo’s Leather Whiskey Case keeps your bottle secure and discreet – cloaked in timeless style. Modern design details create an heirloom piece that ages as well as the beverage inside.

We add sustainable cedarwood ends to protect the bottle and a strong snap that keeps the case closed tightly as you travel to your destination. The leather case is hand-stitched and hand-dyed using the finest USA-sourced vegetable-tanned leather, in our workshop in Portland, Oregon.

Is this the perfect gift for whiskey, whisky and even wine lovers? We think so.

Continue Your Research: Further Reading

How to Host a Scotch Tasting Party
The Serious Eats Guide to Single Malt Scotch

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