I’m going to be featuring a lot of tasting notes on the blog this week, so in today’s Trivia I’m sharing a tip for tasting bourbon: Don’t ”nose” it the way you do wine. You know how you stick your whole nose down in the glass and take a big whiff? Do that with bourbon and you’ll be picking your sinuses up off the floor.
Why? Most wines have an average alcohol-by-volume content (ABV) of 12.5 percent to 14.5 percent. By contrast, bourbon must by law be bottled at a minimum of 40 percent ABV, or 80 proof. (Proof = ABV x 2). Forty percent! And that’s the minimum.
If you just use your nose with bourbon, the alcohol will overpower it, and all you’ll get is the burn. Instead, place the rim of the glass just below your bottom lip and draw in the aroma through both your slightly opened mouth and your nose. You’ll be able to discern much more about the bourbon’s flavor profile – and keep your sinuses intact.