Rolling the neat whisky in your Glencairn or Copita tasting glass and watching the tears form will give an indication of strength and viscosity. How big and how fast the tears fall will change with each dram.
As time passes the whisky will change in the glass as it breathes and reacts to the ambient temperature. Holding the glass in your hand to warm the spirit will enhance the flavour on the nose and palate.
To nose, gradually bring the glass near your nose until you can smell the aroma, moving between nostrils and different areas of the glass; dig deep beyond the vanilla from the oak and the nutty cereal notes from the barley to find the fruit and citrus notes from the previous occupant of the cask.
On the palate, take a sip with equal amounts of saliva and spirit and coat the inside of the mouth to excite the flavour receptors. Take your time when nosing and tasting to identify as many flavours as possible. This is influenced by mood location and ambiance and will change from tasting to tasting.
By gradually adding water with a jug, spoon or pipette you will release the flavour particles, nosing and tasting at each stage to savour the experience.
Is it the end point in the journey where the spirit is the most flavoursome to your palate or the journey itself that gives you the most joy?
Below are pictures from Muddy Fingers and whisky away days.