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Getting to know whiskey is a lifelong adventure, and there’s no quick way to propel yourself to mastery without putting in the work. Fortunately, in this case, “work” means tasting whiskey, a very enjoyable pastime.

That said, there are a few avenues you can pursue if you want to get serious about developing a palate for whiskey in a focused, systematic way.

Set yourself up for success

Follow the basic rules for sensory evaluation. When tasting, don’t smoke, eat spicy food, or drink coffee for several hours in advance. Don’t taste in a distracting environment, and use the same…

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