Boston Cocktail Summit: Whiskey and Women
When only 20% of women drink whiskey, yet 60% are making purchasing decisions for the household, it’s easy to deduce that the number of women drinking whiskey is on the rise. Yet, even still, many females find this spirit unfriendly and overwhelming. Today, three women broke down the idea that whiskey is a man’s drink by explaining the process of looking, smelling and tasting whiskey: Hollis Bulleit of Bulleit bourbon and rye, Joy Richard of Citizen Public House and Brandy Rand, libations writer and consultant.
A few reasons why more women should be drinking whiskey:
- Women are more sensitive to smell, an evolutionary trait dating back to the hunting and gathering days. Sense of smell is especially heightened during reproductive years.
- Women are more descriptive. (Right?! Ask any of us to talk about the Oscar red carpet and we can go on and on for hours!)
Here’s a fun fact: Anyone can train their palette! I can speak of the truth to this, as a few years ago, I developed a taste for olives by constantly trying them until one day it finally clicked and I found them enjoyable. So if you’ve had a previous experience with whiskey that wasn’t necessarily stellar, have no fear! You have plenty of time to start looking, smelling and tasting to allow your palette the chance to adjust, grow and eventually enjoy whiskey.
What else I learned at this seminar:
- A good rule of thumb when tasting is to keep the whiskey in your mouth for 1 second for every year it’s aged (i.e. 5 year old whiskey = 5 seconds for tasting).
- Smell with your mouth open! Since your mouth is connected to your nose, this is an important aspect of tasting. Don’t shove your nose into the glass; the proof here is much higher than wine and you don’t want to overwhelm (read: burn) your nostrils.
- Be specific about what your tasting. If you pick up a hint of sweetness, what kind of sweet is it? Floral? Herbal? Fruity? If it’s fruity, what kind of fruit? Banana? Apple? What kind of apple? Green apple? Apple in your grandmother’s pie? Ask yourself these questions to help yourself hone in on those flavors.
- Just because a whiskey has been aged longer doesn’t always mean it will be better. The aging process is heavily dependent on the climate in which the whiskey is being aged. Kentucky has a fairly volatile climate, with changing seasons each year; when compared the more docile climate in Scotland, these weather changes affect aging and you might find a 5 year old American whiskey just as enjoyable as a 15 year old scotch.
- Just because 90% of American bourbon is made in Kentucky doesn’t mean it has to be! As long as it’s American, it can still be considered a bourbon.
- Here’s a scotch pairing that I can’t wait to try: a smokey, peaty scotch like a Talisker 10 with Stilton cheese fondue. Yes please!
So ladies, grab a bottle and start tasting!!