Tasting tip for Asia – How to cool your whisky…

There are times when we sip, dissect our impressions, discuss and then look at the official whisky tasting notes and simply scratch our heads in puzzlement.

Now before you think this is only because of overly creative marketing speak, there is another element in the equation that needs to be considered.


Let’s face it… Scotland’s average temperature is 15°C… And Mumbai? 30°C…

Which does indeed have an impact on your whisky tasting experience.

Hence why the standard way of serving in India is “on the rocks” with generous number of ice cubes. But that can “shock” a whisky and for some, it is a complete sacrilege!

As an alternative to killing a whisky’s nuance with chunks of ice, we’ve tried:

  • Those “rocks” that you freeze and then are supposed to cool your whisky… trust me, they warm up so quickly there is nearly no impact! Useless in a place like Bombay…
  • Cooling the whisky by keeping it in the fridge before serving… this actually works for a few minutes however soon enough the ambient temperature takes its toll. What we haven’t tried is storing our whisky bottle in a bucket of ice as we continue our evening…
  • Norlan glass is supposed to help keep the whisky from warming in your hands… yet when your starting point is hot? We have also found there is quite a different tasting experience between Norlan and Glencairn glasses overall with some whiskies much better suited to one or the other type of glass

Any other options?

Enter a ‘tip’ from Murray Campbell, Bruichladdich’s Brand Ambassador for Asia…

Here is his ‘recipe’ for dealing with the warmer climes of Asia:

  • Take two glasses
  • Fill one to the top with ice then water
  • In the other glass, pour your preferred whisky – neat!
  • Take a “shot” of the ice cold water, hold it in your mouth for a few seconds then swallow
  • Then enjoy your whisky
  • Alternate between cooling your mouth with the ice water and quaffing your whisky

In other words, “If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain!”

What a clever idea Sir-ji!

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