The 5 Whisky Flavours
The world of whiskies offers an incredibly diverse range of flavour profiles. So many choices can be overwhelming.
The struggle is REAL.
To help you, we categorise whiskies into 5 Flavour profiles, or as we call it, the 5 Flavour Camps.
If you are struggling to decide which brand of whisky to try next, this is the guide for you.
We have allocated each bottle into one of these Flavour Camps, based on the most prominent, dominant flavours found in the bottle. For instance, the Ardbeg Blaaack expression is labelled Smokey and Peaty.
1. Smokey and Peaty
These whiskies remind you of going to an outdoor BBQ party. The most dominant flavour here is the smoke that comes from burning peat. With a closer look, you may notice different types of peaty flavours, from sootiness of barbeque meats, smoky bacon, to the lighter smokiness of smoked salmon, Oolong tea or Hojicha. Where the peat is derived from a more coastal region, there are some maritime notes such as seaweed and brine. Certain Japanese expressions might even have a fragrant smokiness of temple incense.
The texture is either heavy-bodied or somewhat oily and viscous on the palate. A good peaty whisky should not be too overwhelming with the smoke – if there is a lot of smoke, the whisky is usually balanced with a good amount of sweet dried fruit flavours. If there is a moderate to low amount of smoke, this is usually balanced with some light sweetness of green fruits or juicy orchard fruits.
2. Fragrant and Floral
Whiskies under this Flavour Camp have light estery aromas of fresh cut flowers (remember walking by a florist?), cut grass, and light green fruits, such as green apples, starfruits, green grapes and green mangoes.
Such whiskies tend to be refreshing, light-bodied on the palate, and slightly sweet and crisp (like white wine).
3. Rich and Round
These whiskies are a little bolder and more intensely-flavoured. There are lots of sticky dried fruits here such as raisins, dried dates, dried plums, dried apricots and Chinese hawthorn flakes (山楂 / shān zhā). This shows the use of European ex-sherry oak casks, which imparts lots of rich sweet wine flavours.
The palate is heavy bodied. Such whiskies are also usually a little sweet and a little dry due to the tannins from the sherry oak (like drinking red wine).
4. Fruity and Spicy
Whiskies under this Flavour Camp have notes of ripe, juicy fruits, such as red apples, oranges, pears, peaches, mangoes and even persimmons.
These whiskies also tend to be aged in American ex-bourbon oak, and would show somewhat mild woody flavours of coconut, bread toast and vanilla. Certain sweeter expressions might have notes of caramel, honey and custard. There also tends to be a little bit of heat in the form of cinnamon or nutmeg notes.
Such whiskies tend to be medium-bodied on the palate.
5. Malty and Dry
These whiskies might remind you of a rich malty beer like a Paulaner. They have a lot of malt flavours with flour-y notes of biscuits, breakfast granola, McDonalds’ Hotcakes, and unroasted nuts.
The palate tends to be medium-bodied. Such whiskies are a little drier than the above, and tend to have some woody notes.