View Full Version : Question about nosing

10-12-2008, 19:42
Hi all. I've got a couple posts on here but still have somewhat of a dilemma. When nosing different whiskeys, I have a hard time differentiating them. They all sorta smell and taste the same to me. Is there any techniques or tricks, something, that I can do to try and "learn" the differences between different whiskeys? I hope its just a matter of inexperience rather than my senses being dull. Thanks.


10-12-2008, 19:52
This is how I "nose" using a snifter. First I hold the glass a few inches from my nose gently inhale deeply but slowly, (this saves nose hairs from being "scorched". Then I move the glass forward away from my face while I exhale. Then bringing it back to my nose (varying the distance depending on the proof) Inhale again. Repeat the process. Then take a sip.

Hope this helps.

10-13-2008, 05:28
Thanks. I tried your method last night with Makers Mark. I tried it neat, then added a small piece of ice and got some different smells and tastes. Now I just need to work on naming the different flavors that I find.


10-13-2008, 05:36
It is important to allow the bourbon to "breathe. After pouring into your preferred glass, swirl, nose, wait, swirl, nose, and wait. With time, the bourbon will open. During our group's tasting events, we have noticed significant changes over time as the bourbon "breathes".

10-13-2008, 07:51
A lot of it is probably just your nose overwhelmed by alcohol. As Brad suggests, try nosing with your nose a little further away. But I think it is something that will come with more experience - you'll be able to filter out the alcohol smell and recognize other scents. If you continue to have a hard time, buy some whiskey that's very different, like a scotch, and compare the nose of it with bourbon.

10-13-2008, 08:05
In addition to the recommendations above, print out the SB.com tasting list (under tasting notes) while you nose. Circle the ones that you nose over a 20 min period (as you are sipping on your bourbon)

I recommend you use a diff color for every 5 min and watch things change...

The rest is practice...