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Once you begin tasting whisky, you will notice a variety of flavors and mouthfeels. However, many beginners do not have the whisky vocabulary necessary to describe their tastes as they taste different whiskies. Here are a few descriptors that will help you explain what you are tasting.

Dignified vs. Youthful. This distinction is difficult to describe, but it is easy to tell the difference. A youthful whisky tends to be vibrant, light, but not altogether integrated. A dignified whisky has an irresistible and seamless blend of flavors that are clear and easy to distinguish.

Soft vs. Firm. Again, this cannot be easy to explain in words, but you will tell the difference.

Dry vs. Sweet. A dry whisky can actually make your mouth feel dry. It is astringent without any sweetness. A sweet whisky, on the other hand, has a sweet taste and a very wet feeling.

Big vs. Subtle. A ‘big’ whisky dominates your mouth. The tastes and flavors are impossible to miss. On the other hand, a subtle whisky has an I-can’t-put-my-finger-on-it quality.

Austere vs. Rich. An austere whisky is simple and straightforward; you see what you get kind of drink. A rich whisky, on the other hand, will have multiple layers and a complex presence. Rich whiskies often have thicker mouthfeels as well, but this is not always the case.

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