4 steps - How to know a fine whisky

an easy guideline on how to know fine whisky

4 steps - how to know fine whisky

More and more people gets interested in whisky. And it is also an absolutely wonderful universe of taste, scents, soul and history. But if you are a new enthusiast in the whisky world, or someone who just needs to find a great whisky gift for your good whisky friend, you will soon find that it is also a world full of A LOT of whisky. Then how will YOU know fine whisky?

I want to help you along the way. I have made a 4 steps-guide that can help and guide you through the world of whiskies, so you can find your way over to all the fine whiskies out there.
In fact it is guidelinies I learned by my husband, a long time ago (before I became an enthusiast myself) I learned them so that I could manage to buy him birthday gifts and Christmas presents, by myself. And I must say that they have worked perfectly! By this time he has not complained about the contents of the presents, yet.


1. What are you into?
You need to find out what kind of whisky you are into. Are you into a peated whisky?  a non-peated whisky? Are you into whisky stored on different casktypes, such as, for an example, bourbon cask or sherry cask?
You may want to read reviews or tasting notes.
It is very important to be aware that 99.9 percent of the reviews you can, the reviewer has a financial interest in the whiskies that he reviews. So here you just have to notice what flavor notes the reviewer catches - rather than how much he praises the product.
A reviewer I want to recommend is The Whisky Viking. He is a Danish Viking that writes in English. He has NO financial interest in the whiskies he rewievs. You can read his stuff by clicking here: The Whisky Vikings reviews.

2. Check for natural color
The bottle must say that the whisky is natural color, as many whiskys are added artificial caramel, for the color. They do this because many whiskys are so light when they are done that the general consumer will not immediately associate it with whisky. They might think "It can't be a real whisky, see how light it is".
Bar products or “Supermarket whiskies” are typically very young, which is why they give it some color to make it look older and more exciting. A Johnnie Walker for example. should also preferably resemble the 1,000,000 other Johnny Walker bottles. Therefore, they gives it a splash of color so that all the spirit in the bottles look completely alike.

3. Check that it is unchill-filtered.
You will want your whisky to be unchill-filtered or non-chill filtered. This means  that it is NOT filtered down.
That the big liquor Companies do with whisky/supermarket whiskies is to cool the whisky down and then filter it. This means that a lot of oils and impurities are filtered off so that the whisky can be completely clear and crisp in the bottle. That makes it look very pure and beautiful! But unfortunately it also means that a lot of good taste has been removed.

4. How much is the whisky watered down? Do not go below 43%
Check out how much the whisky is watered down! In principle, the whisky should be at least 43%, even better around 46% and most preferably is cask strength.
Many distilleries are watering down their whisky to sell more. If you have 100 liters of whiskies at 60% then you can pour 50 liters of water in it and sell 150 liters of whiskies at 40% instead. But as you probably can figure out for yourself: "More water, less taste", “Less water, more taste".
So the higher the percentages, the more flavor there is in the whisky. Here you will also be able to decide for yourself how much you want to water down your whisky. That way you can have it exactly as you like it.

Now it’s time to find your whisky
After these 4 steps you are now ready to go out and find and know a good whisky. At www.vaultofspirits.com you can find a huge selection of different fine and rare whiskies. But are you still in doubt, if the whisky you found, is something for you – then you are more then welcome to contact us by
clicking here.

This post is a guideline and not a fact. You WILL be able to find good-tasting whiskies, that go against these steps and advice. However, if you choose to follow the steps above, then you have a good chance of finding a good quality whisky.

See how it looks if the whisky has been added a bit too much color
I went to a tasting this weekend where I tasted, probably the most color-added whisky ever. It is so colored that one does not have to be old, bold or specialist to see that a "bit" of caramel has been added (or perhaps brown gravy in this case). I recorded a short video of it. You can see it here: