How to really drink whisky

A master blender suggests one way to appreciate a glass of whisky

Amanda T. Lago

Published: 7:45 PM September 11, 2018

Updated: 7:45 PM September 11, 2018

WHISKY CONNOISSEUR. Chivas Regal's Custodian Master Blender Colin Scott shares how one can enjoy whisky. Photo courtesy of Chivas Regal

Whisky is the alcohol of adulting. It’s not the tequila you’d down in shots at parties in your early-20s, not the gin mixers you drank in between classes during college, nor the beer you snuck sips of (and felt so rebellious doing so) in high school.

Whisky is great for toasting to a career milestone, or a family celebration, or simply for sipping at the end of a tiring or fulfilling day. If you’re thinking of leveling up your alcohol game, whisky is the drink to ask your bartender for.

Of course, its long history as a drink, its elaborate distilling process, and well as its complex flavors means it takes more than a few sips to truly appreciate whisky, whether it’s single malt or blended.

But according to a legendary whisky blender, it doesn’t take much effort – all you need is a bottle of good whisky, some water, and the desire to drink.

In a whisky masterclass held in Manila in July, Chivas Regal's custodian master blender Colin Scott shared the history of the luxury whisky brand, which traces its roots to Aberdeen, Scotland, and whose portfolio now includes the classic Chivas Regal 12, the sherry cask Chivas Regal Extra, and the Chivas Regal Mizunara, which is a tribute to ther other master whisky makers aside from the Scots: the Japanese.

Colin also taught members of the media how to approach a glass of whisky, and it begins with taking a sip of it as is.

Once you take a sip, pay attention to the initial flavors – mostly peppery notes that take over the tongue – and perhaps will make a lot of people shy away from the drink for something that goes down easier.

After that first sip, add a splash of water, swirl it around, and take a good sniff, watching out for the different scents that may come out. Depending on the blend, every whisky will smell different – some will have the scent of apples and pears, some will smell maltier and richer. But taking a whiff will make one appreciate the liquor even more.

At this point, take another sip, and enjoy all the different flavors that emerge. If you pay enough attention, you’ll be at the bottom of your glass before you know it.

Of course, there’s no one way to learn to appreciate whisky. The bottomline is, you simply have to drink it.

Colin recommends taking whisky however way you want it – whether on the rocks, or mixed in a cocktail – and at whatever time of day.

“Grab it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or anytime you want to celebrate,” he said.

The only rule? Make sure you’re drinking a good bottle. Apart from that everything is your choice.

“It’s up to you how you drink it,” Colin said. “There are no rules.” –