How to taste
Hosting your own tasting session is a thoroughly commendable and pleasurable way to sample Ardbeg yourself and introduce Ardbeg to the uninitiated (sometimes referred to as "Ardbeginners").
Step 1. PICK A SPOT
The setting of your tasting is of profound importance. Bear in mind that it should be as odourless as possible. Loch Uigeadail would be ideal, with the same soft pure water that is used in the making of Ardbeg readily available for your tasting. A more practical alternative may be your own well-aired living quarters and a jug of water.
Step 2. PICK YOUR NOSE
Which expression should you offer the "Ardbeginner"? We recommend Ardbeg Ten Years Old as a wonderful introduction to the chewy, mouth watering, gristy peat and beautiful balance and complexity, which is totally unique to Ardbeg.
Step 3. POUR IT
Preferably this will be done into a glass with curved sides, shaped like a tulip, as this will collect and concentrate the aromas.
Step 4. OBSERVE IT
At this point the more discerning whisky aficionado will hold their glass to the light and remark on its colour, e.g. "ahh, shimmering gold!" or "reminiscent of a Fino Sherry don't you think!"
Step 5. SWIRL IT
This is to check for viscosity. As the spirit slides down the glass, it is appropriate to comment on its 'legs'.
Step 6. NOSE IT
Inhale over the top first for the bouquet, then deeply into it for the aroma. Make sure you take lots of good sniffs. Finally...
Step 7. TASTE IT
Encourage each recipient to try it neat first, then add water, a teaspoon at a time. The water helps to unlock the aromas and awaken the spirit. Coat your palate properly - your tongue detects different tastes at the front, back and sides.
What of the mouthfeel? Is it chewing, coating, caressing? Now wait for the flavours to change as the spirit embraces each and every taste bud - can you detect the smoke, the spice and the sweeter high notes? Can you identify tobacco, treacle and toffee?
Take notes if you wish. Remember, if there is one rule of whisky tasting, it is to speak as you feel. There is no right or wrong - as long as you enjoy it!