Courtesy of SmallBatch.com here is a How-To that could make your next Tasting Party particularly successful and memorable:
Aged to nine years, small batch bourbons offer strong, rich flavors and aromas characteristic of pre-Prohibition whiskies. The complex balance of tastes and flavors is what makes them unique the way bourbon was meant to be.
The Small Batch Bourbon Collection, Bookers, Bakers, Knob Creek, and Basil Haydens, is handcrafted in limited quantities using time-honored recipes. These special recipes, some dating back two centuries, help make each Small Batch Bourbon distinctively different. Carefully aged from six to nine years in new, charred American white oak barrels, each Small Batch Bourbon captures the rich flavor and heritage that is unique to Kentucky bourbon.
Bourbon is a complex whiskey that engages your senses at every level. Some say that properly tasting bourbon is an art. And while everyone can and should enjoy it the way they want (neat, on- the-rocks, with a mixer), there are a few basic steps you can take to enhance your tasting experience whether youre out with friends or simply enjoying some quiet time alone by the fire.
Appearance... The first thing you will notice about bourbon whiskey is its rich, deep warm amber color. As a rule of thumb, the deeper and darker the color, the more complex and sophisticated the bourbon. Bourbon gets all of its color during the years it spends aging in new, charred oak barrels. No artificial colors are added.
Aroma... According to research, humans can detect more than 2,000 aromas. So properly nosing the bourbon will go a long way toward enhancing the overall tasting experience. There is an art to nosing bourbon: put your nose deeply into the glass and inhale with your lips parted. Keeping your mouth open a bit will involve the back of your pallet and help you enjoy the bourbon in a three-dimensional manner. It will also allow you to preview the bourbon before actually tasting it.
Taste... Without a doubt (and quite obviously), the most enjoyable step in the tasting process is to actually taste the bourbon! The best way to do this is to put a bit on the tip of your tongue and roll it around and up and down inside your mouth. In short, try chewing the bourbon, before swallowing (we call this the Kentucky Chew). By involving your entire mouth in the tasting process, you'll experience the many subtle flavors that the whiskey offers. Important to note after tasting the bourbon straight or neat, add a splash or two of distilled water to achieve your desired proof. This addition will help open up the bourbon, making it even more enjoyable.
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