Putting the legal definition aside for a moment, there are generally considered to be seven main types of spirits, being:
Whilst these are easily the most common types of spirits found in bottle shops, bars, and restaurants all over the world, it is possible to find very unique and special types, such as moonshine, made in select parts of the world.
For this reason, the world of spirits offers up a heady variety of new and exotic tasting experiences.
Considering the often high levels of alcohol found in bottles of spirits, it can be a very difficult process to properly taste and assess a particular bottle, especially once you start climbing above 40% ABV.
With this in mind, the ideal steps to take in consuming spirits are to:
|Smoothness||Smoothness refers to how the drink feels as you swallow it. If the spirit has a high degree of alcoholic burn, heat, or bitterness then it is considered not smooth, whilst those that go down easily are considered smooth|
|Sweetness||Sweetness simply refers to how sweet the drink tastes as it enters your mouth and is consumed. Often, the sweetness felt can be described as a syrupy-like texture and with flavours often reminiscent of vanilla, caramel, honey, butterscotch, sugar, or sweet spices|
|Smokiness||Smokiness can refer to either wood or peat smoke. These two different types have unique differences in taste, meaning it’s important when tasting to distinguish between whether you’re noticing peat or wood smoke|
|Body||The body of a spirit simply refers to how heavy or thick it feels as it sits in your mouth. Those that are heavily textured or viscous are considered full-bodied whilst those that are lightly textured and watery are considered light-bodied|
|Finish||Finish in spirits refers to how long the taste of the drink lingers in your mouth once it has been swallowed. Finish can be best described as being either short and sharp, medium length, or long and lingering|
|Prominent Flavours||Identifying the prominent flavours in a spirit is vital as it separates the particular tastes of the bottle when consumed. Whilst experts might be able to pick up dozens of different flavours, it is often best to stick to the top two or three flavours found as these will be obvious to anyone who samples it|