Whisky 101: A Brief Guide For Beginners

Whisky 101: A Brief Guide For Beginners


While it’s better to develop your own whisky drinking style, here are some pointers from a whisky specialist that will help you make the most out of each glass

Whisky has a reputation for being a bit intimidating, especially for those who are just starting out. It may be confusing to know where to start, especially when there are several brands to choose from and so many rules to learn. 

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Macallan Brand Ambassador and Whisky Specialist Hans Eckstein
Photo Credit: @themacallanhans (via Instagram)

Here are some whisky drinking guides from The Macallan Brand Ambassador and Whisky Specialist Hans Eckstein that will surely help even the most inexperienced of drinkers to appreciate any bottle: 

Helpful hints for maximizing your whisky experience

The Macallan whisky drinking guide
Photo Credit: @the_macallan (via Instagram)

“When trying a certain whisky for the first time, I feel that it’s best practice to have it neat in a proper nosing glass, that way you can analyze and zero in on all the different flavors and aromas, and fully experience it in the way that the whisky maker intended,” Hans mentioned. Nosing is basically bringing the glass up to your nose so you can take in the various aromas that contribute to a drink’s flavor. He also explained that if you take a few moments to sniff your whisky, you would gain a deeper understanding of its unique flavor. Hans even compared it to recognizing and appreciating the efforts of artists behind any masterpiece.

The Macallan whisky cocktail
Photo Credit: @the_macallan (via Instagram)

After you are acquainted with your whiskies, you can enjoy them in various ways, depending on your mood. Like Hans, when he’s feeling warm and needs something to cool him down, his go-to is a rocks glass with a single giant ice cube or ball that melts gently so as not to water down the whisky. When he’s feeling under the weather or chilly, he makes himself a hot toddy with whisky, lemon juice, honey, and hot water. Hans said, even before dinner, adding a classic cocktail like a Boulevardier, Manhattan, or Old Fashioned can elevate the mood and add to the enjoyment.

Best whisky to sip on first

“As I like to say; taste, aroma, and experience, is entirely preferential and subjective. But the journey getting there is always the fun part.”

Hans stated that he is confident that all whisky experts would agree that a blended scotch is the best option for beginners. It is made up of malt and grain whiskies from several producers.

Photo Credit: @the_macallan (via Instagram)

Once you’ve gotten used to the taste of it, a fruity Speyside single malt is the next step. Then, you can try something new, such as a single malt, like The Macallan, or make a gentle transition with Highland Park, which offers a slightly smoky single malt.

Following that, you can experiment with more intense variations. You might want to try an American whiskey, which includes notes of sweetness, spice, oak, and strength.

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