Food & Drinks

Here's what it takes to enjoy classic whisky


From Scotch, Bourbon to Japanese Whisky, it takes many sips and years to master the enjoyment of this classic spirit.

Alexandre Helaine, the marketing manager Eastern Africa for Moët-Hennessy, which has Glenmorangie and Ardbeg in its portfolio, says it takes time and mastery of the do's and dont's to bring out the whisky lover in their consumers.

The question that many consumers ask is if it is okay to chase whisky with a soft drink and if they can add lime.

“If mix water with whisky, yes it opens the flavours because it will not heat the glass which evaporates the flavours, do not add an ingredient that will kill the flavours of the whisky. You can mix with soda water, apple juice, ginger, no problem, the mistake that people do is put lemon in their drink,” Mr Helaine says.

There is a wide range of whisky out there, and it can be hard to know the best one and the place to start exploring.

But it is simple: To start, it’s important to know the key features that define the category.

What is a good whisky for a first-timer, I asked? Good whisky is dependent on your palate.

“There is no bad whisky, it is just what your preference or taste is and how much you want to spend,” he said.

Does expensive always mean good?

“It doesn’t have to be about how much you spend on whisky, it is more about what you like. For me I like original Glenmorangie, it is beautiful on its own and it is the youngest on the range, I am not the youngest but I love it,” Mr Heleine notes.

Best compliment

The expert, however, says the best way to enjoy whisky is to take it neat. “If you just want the kick and are not really into tasting the different notes or have it with a soda or in a cocktail, the secret is it is always best taken with friends “it is the company that is important.”

Most whisky takers prefer to complement their drinks with a good steak. “The high alcohol content and spiciness of full-bodied whiskies, like a flavourful single malt whisky or rye whisky, go well with rich, fatty dishes like meatloaf. Healthy meatloaf served with barbecue sauce goes well with strong whiskies,” he said.

Does age matter? There is no limit on aging whisky, which normally some whiskies are aged up to 30 years, Heleine says.

“While some whiskies are hitting their peak around 12 years of age, others might still have room to grow to get to 18, 21, or even 30 years of age. Some whiskies can hit staggering age,” he said.

In addition to being diverse, whisky is also an extremely versatile spirit. Whiskey is the base for iconic cocktails such as the whisky sour, highball and old-fashioned, but most whiskies can serve as a standalone beverage, served “neat” without any additions or with a splash of water or ice.

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