Whisky Tasting Toronto And Ontario – In Person or Virtual

Looking for a great whisky tasting experience? You are in the right place! Our classes are great for those looking to expand their knowledge and flavour horizons, and improve their tasting skills. Also makes for a great gift!

We offer tasting events for groups or individuals, in a self directed or live expert facilitated format. The in-person tasting’s can be done at the 180 Drinks licensed tasting location or we can travel to you with a mobile tasting. We can also do a virtual whisky tasting! We service the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Ontario, Canada.

There are many interrelationships between the various types of whisky. For example scotch whisky uses ex-bourbon barrels. We help to demystify whisky by enabling participants to understand these interrelationships and learn transferable tasting skills that span various spirits.

A whisky appreciation class is great if you are looking for a fun experience to build connection, spark conversation, and learn the fundamental knowledge and skills to taste spirits. We look forward to providing an immersive, unique, and memorable tasting experience.

What We Cover During Our Whisky Classes

Tasting whisky is a multi-sensory experience. Below is an overview of how we incorporate the senses in our whisky tasting tour and the knowledge we aim to impart.

Whisky Appearance

The first step of a tasting is to examine the whisky colour using your eyes. This step is often unconscious when enjoying your favorite whisky, however very important!

The colour can provide a clue as to what type of cask the whisky has been aged in and for how long. Whisky gets most of its colour from being stored in oak.

The next step is to assess the viscosity of whisky with your eyes. You do this by swirling the whisky and examining how the liquid runs down the side of the glass. The legs (tears) that form are caused by the difference in surface tension between the alcohol and the water contained in the whisky (the Marangoni effect).

These legs (tears) can indicate:

  • Alcohol Content: The higher the alcohol, the more legs and the slower these will form and fall.
  • Fatty Acid Content: The more fatty acids the thicker these legs will be.
  • Whisky Age: The longer it’s cask aged, the more the legs will separate and space out.

You will learn how to describe the appearance of whisky.

Whisky Tasting Toronto
Whisky Classes

Whisky Aroma

Smell is a chemical sense, whereas sight is a physical sense. The human nose can recognize 1 trillion different smells.

Smell is perceived both through orthonasal and retronasal experience, and these differences are summarized below.

  • Orthonasal Olfaction: Occurs during sniffing.
  • Retronasal Olfaction: The perception of odors emanating from the oral cavity during eating and drinking.

Because of how our senses work, in order to perceive all the aroma’s of whisky you need to both smell and taste whisky.

The type of glassware you select to perceive the aroma is key. Tumblers are too wide and allow aromas to escape. We prefer to use a Glencairn whisky nosing glass, since the tapering glass mouth allows an ease of capturing the aromas on the nose. As you swirl the whisky it forces

the aromas up to the top of the glass.

The whiskies we select for your tasting incorporate a variety of unique aroma’s, and you will learn how to describe their aroma’s.

Whisky Taste

There are three phases of whisky tasting. The first is the intake; the second is the evolution or pass through the mouth, and the third is the final impression or finish.  The sum of all these flavours and sensations is used to describe the taste of the whisky.

There are five fundamental flavours: sweet, bitter, sour (acidic), salty, and umami. More specifically whiskey flavours fall into six main groups: Woody, Fruity, Floral, Cereal, Spicy, or Peaty. Our curated whisky tastings aim to select whiskies incorporating a unique variety of flavours.

When tasting some of your taste buds are specialized in one type of flavour, while some are sensitive to some or all the other flavours. For this reason, how you taste your whisky impacts the flavours that are expressed.

To help maximize flavour expression you want to take enough whiskey into your mouth to cover your tongue. Roll it around in your mouth, coating as many sensory areas as possible.

You will learn how to describe the taste of whisky. This is a great option for your next whisky night!

Private Whisky Tasting
Whisky Experience

Whisky Knowledge

During the whisky tour we aim to impart key whisky knowledge including production methods, interrelationships, and use in cocktails. Below is an overview of each of these topics we cover.

Production Methods: Whiskey is one of the world’s most popular spirits. It is produced by an infinite combination of processes to create a huge number of flavours. For example whisky production may use a single or combination of grains such as barley, corn, rye, and wheat. Whisky We review these whisky production methods at a high level.

Interrelationships: There are interrelationships between various types of whisky, other spirits, and even wine and beer. We explore these interrelationships during your whisky master class.

Use In Cocktails: Various types of whisky are used in the creation of craft cocktails. The selected whisky for your cocktail can play an important role as a key modifier of flavour and texture in a cocktail. We explore the use of whisky in cocktails.

At the end of the whisky tour participants will have learned the language of whisky tasting, and have a big picture perspective.

In Person And Virtual Whisky Tasting Formats

At Home Whisky Tasting Experiences

Self Guided

Our self guided whisky experience is great for a whisky tasting gift, date night, virtual happy hour, or a home whisky tasting session for a small group.

Each self guided whisky tasting kit includes:

  • A curated selection of 5 samples of whisky.
  • A guide that reviews how to taste, key knowledge, and an overview of each whisky including the tasting notes.
  • Optional note card, tasting glass, and food pairing.

Click the link below to learn more about our self guided whisky tasting kits.

Shop Whisky Tasting Kits

In Person Whisky Master Class

Get ready to embark on a whisky tasting journey! Our private in person master class is facilitated live by a whisky expert.

We can do a mobile whisky tasting class and travel to you, or we can host at the 180 Drinks tasting room.

Our in person whisky tasting master class includes:

  • Tasting kit (5 to 6 samples).
  • Whisky tasting guide.
  • Options of World Whisky, Scotch, and Bourbon.
  • Glencairn tasting glass rental (also available for purchase).
  • Bottle of water.
  • Optional chocolate tasting and snack pairings.
  • Optional table rentals.

Get in touch today for a quote!

Private Whiskey Tasting Toronto
Virtual Whiskey Tasting Toronto

Virtual Whisky Tasting or Hybrid (In-Person & Online Whisky Tasting)

Looking for a fun activity for your remote team or friends that are far away? A virtual whisky tasting is a great option!

Our online whisky course is a great option for participants that are geographically distant from each other. It also is a more cost effective option than in person tasting experiences for participants and groups that are far outside of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

We also offer a hybrid whisky tasting event option that combines both in person and virtual experiences. This is a great option for teams that are working both in the office and remotely.

A virtual whisky tasting includes the same options and everything our in-person experiences except the glencairn glass rental (These glasses are only available for purchase for the whisky course online).

The virtual whisky tasting kits are either available for pick up at our head office or we can ship them to your guests.

Get in touch today to experience the best online whisky tasting!

Whisky Tasting Types

World Whisky Tasting Experience

Many believe that whiskey was created first in Scotland or Ireland, however its true origins lie elsewhere.In the 8th century A.D. that Arabic alchemist Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan designed the alembic pot still. This contraption allowed for the effective distillation of alcohol. This practice of distilling alcohol at the time was driven by science rather than recreation. Jabir’s works were eventually translated into Latin by European monks.

We explore the various whisky flavours, interrelationships, and production methods from countries including:

  • Japanese Whisky Tasting
  • Irish Whiskey Tasting
  • Scotch Whisky Tasting
  • Canadian Whisky Tasting
  • India Whisky Experience

Scotch Tasting Experience

The first mention of a whiskey-like liquid in Scotland dates from 1494, where Brother John Cor was noted to have received eight bolls of malt to make Aqua Vitae (An early name for booze) for King James IV at Lindores Abbey. These days eight bolls would be equivalent to a staggering 500 kg of malt, enough to make approximately 400 bottles of whisky.

When you think of a single malt whisky, Scotland is surely the first place that comes to mind. Our single malt scotch whisky tasting experience explores the various taste profiles and regions.

Bourbon Tasting Toronto

Bourbon Tasting

All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. Bourbon must be made in the United States, and its primary grain is corn.

Our bourbon tasting explores the various types and flavour profiles of bourbon.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq What is the difference between Whiskey and Whisky?

To make a long explanation short, whiskey (with an ‘e’) refers to grain spirits distilled in Ireland and the United States. Whisky (with no ‘e’) refers to Scottish, Canadian, or Japanese grain spirits.

Join our whisky appreciation course today to learn more!

faq How Do I Improve My Ability To Detect Whisky Aroma’s

It is impossible to establish what an aroma or odor corresponds to if you have no frame of reference for that specific aroma or odor. If the smell does not exist in your olfactory memory than the smell cannot be identified. The best way to improve your olfactory memory is to become familiar with the smell of individual aromas.

faq Can I Do Whisky Classes at 180 Drinks?

Absolutely! We are licensed for up to 25 guests at our location: 400 Matheson Blvd E Unit 20, Mississauga, ON L4Z 1N8

If your guest count is greater than 25 guests we can also travel to your location in Ontario. Please see which areas we serve below.

faq Should I add water or ice to whisky while tasting?

Alcohol dulls and inhibits your taste receptors. As whiskey typically has a high level of alcohol, at least 40% ABV, it can be worth lowering that level to get the best flavours out of it.

Try adding a little spring or filtered water, gradually and preferably using a pipette. Add just a few drops to begin with, so as not to over-dilute your whiskey. The introduction of water releases the aromas and flavors otherwise locked in by the alcohol.

What about ice? While ice may be preferable when drinking whisky for some, Ice is not recommended for a formal whiskey tasting. This is because it has a double-block effect: it both numbs the palate and “locks in” the flavours of the whiskey, making them harder to detect.

faq Do You Offer A Whisky Tasting Bar For Events?

Absolutely! This is a great option for a more high level whisky tasting event. Our whisky tasting bars are tailored to your service to your requirements and budget.

Get in touch today for a quote on a whisky tasting bar for your next corporate event, party, or wedding!

faq Do you do non-alcoholic whisky tastings?

We offer a non-alcoholic spirit tasting kit for those who prefer not to drink. Cheers to you!

faq What Platform Do You Use For Your Virtual Whiskey Tastings?

We realize that different customers have different platforms they prefer to use. At 180 Drinks we are platform agnostic, so for your virtual whisky tasting event we can provide the virtual platform or we can adapt to use your own platform. For example if you prefer to do a Zoom whiskey tasting we can accommodate this. Other platforms commonly used are Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or Webex.

faq What Areas Do You Serve In Ontario For Your Whisky Classes?

For virtual whiskey tasting experiences we serve all of Ontario.

For in-person private whisky tasting Toronto and Ontario experiences at your location we serve the the following cities:

  • Ajax
  • Aurora
  • Barrie
  • Brampton
  • Brant
  • Brantford
  • Burlington
  • Caledon
  • Cambridge
  • Fort Erie
  • Grimsby
  • Guelph
  • Halton Hills
  • Hamilton
  • Ingersoll
  • King City
  • Kitchener
  • Lincoln
  • London
  • Markham
  • Milton
  • Mississauga
  • Newmarket
  • Niagara Falls
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake
  • Oakville
  • Oshawa
  • Pelham
  • Pickering
  • Port Colborne
  • Richmond Hill
  • Schomberg
  • Catharines
  • Stratford
  • Thorold
  • Toronto (Downtown Core, East End, East York, Etobicoke, GTA, North York, North End, Old Toronto, Scarborough, West End, and York)
  • Vaughan
  • Waterloo
  • Stratford
  • Welland
  • Whitby
  • Woodbridge
  • Woodstock

Get in touch today for your next in person or virtual whisky tasting Toronto event!

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