Why Do I Hate Whiskey? – Love The Dram

Just for the record, ‘why do I hate whiskey’ does not apply to me, but there are many people that it does apply to. The smell (or as it should be said, aroma) is enough for some people to turn away on their heels.

For some then because they cannot get past the aroma, which is lovely in most cases, then how can they know whether they actually like it. Holding your nose while taking a glug is no way to try any drink or food. Smell is part of our tasting experience, so this will not give you the real taste or experience.

Once you know a little more about whiskey, then you may enjoy it after all.

Why Do I Hate Whiskey?

Whiskey is high in alcohol, this makes it strong in aroma and taste. The smell and taste of the actual alcohol will have a strong impact on your nose and pallet. This is the reason why you hate whiskey.

Don’t worry, there is a solution to the problem and learning to love the dram is not as difficult as you may think. Read on and find out how you can learn to enjoy a whiskey.

Why Does Whiskey Taste So Bad?

Whiskey has an alcohol range between 40% ABV and 68% ABV, which I am sure you will agree is high. The whiskey gets overlooked because the strong alcohol overpowers it. If you pour a glass of whiskey, put it straight to your nose and then sip, you will not get the whiskey.

The smell and taste of the alcohol has masked the whiskey smell and taste, and all you experience is the burn. This is why whiskey taste so bad.

It doesn’t have to though, if you take the time to treat the whiskey well, it will return the favor.

Is Whiskey An Acquired Taste?

It can be, but a large percentage of people who hate whiskey, would like it if they drank it properly. We need to treat the whiskey with respect.

A proper glass and the right time is needed for the ethanol (alcohol) to evaporate. Wikipedia explains

Why Do I Hate Whiskey?

The Glass

The right glass is important for the alcohol to evaporate and the real whiskey aroma to collect. To get the best out of your whiskey you need a glass that has a wide bowl and a narrow neck.

The wide bowl will allow the air to get to the whiskey allowing the evaporation, and aromas to release. The narrow neck will trap the aromas allowing the nose to capture flavor before tasting.

The right glass for whiskey is a personal one to a certain extent, but the Glencairn is a favorite.


An important thing you need if you have poured your whiskey into the right glass, is time. Time will let your whiskey develop, and once it does, then the magic begins.

Letting your whiskey develop in the glass allows it to open up and the aromas build in the glass. This makes for a pleasant nose at the rim of the glass, which is best before your take a sip. The taste starts here filling your nose with those aromatic notes of loveliness.

Taking the first sip, you can almost taste the whiskey before it hits your lips. When it does, let the whiskey coat your mouth and savour those rich flavours.

This is the real whiskey.

Should I Drink Whiskey Straight?

Should I Drink Whiskey Straight

There are many ways to drink whiskey, from a hot toddy, to the complex cocktail, back down to water or a little ice. You decide, they are all great ways to enjoy the strong flavours of whiskey.

Should you drink it straight?

Of course, you should, this is the best way to enjoy the great flavours from the different types of whiskey. The sweet caramel tones of a malted barley whiskey, to the spicy pepper tones of a rye whiskey.

The best way to enjoy those beautiful flavours is to take your whiskey straight.

However, it is also okay to enjoy a whiskey in a cocktail or with a mixer like ginger ale. These will create a longer drink that will be more than just about the whiskey.

How Is Whiskey Meant To Be Drunk?

This one is up for debate, some say it was intended to be drunk neat. Others say it needs a little water to help develop it. Ice in whiskey is another favourite. Water between sips to freshen the pallet also crops up on how whiskey is meant to be drunk. Then there is the mixer, such as ginger ale, or soda, many ways to enjoy the same drink.

I think it is impossible to know how the drink was intended to be drunk by those responsible for it. I am not going into that because that is even more of a debate than how to enjoy whiskey.

Like most drinks whiskey is a relatively simple drink that can be enjoyed by itself. Again like many drinks, whiskey has been added with other ingredients to enhance it in some eyes, and spoil it in others.

I say whiskey is meant to be drunk the way you like to drink it.

Final Thoughts

Whiskey is a great drink, there is no doubt in that. It can be used in so many ways, from cooking to cocktails. I enjoy whiskey on its own without any interference, no ice, no mixer, nothing.

I’ve had whiskey in a cocktail, but only to enjoy the flavours of that cocktail, not for the whiskey alone. For me whiskey is all about the aroma and flavour, so it makes sense to enjoy it neat.

Those who say they hate whiskey may want to give it another chance. By all means try it with water, ice or a mixer, but give it chance straight too. At least once, try the whiskey neat, use the right glass, give it time to develop, and enjoy.

Were you a hater of whiskey? Have you given it another chance, or will you give it another chance?

Share your thoughts in the comment’s area below. Have you fallen in love with it now you have given it another chance? If you still hate it, I don’t know why, I have tried, move on to another drink.


2 thoughts on “Why Do I Hate Whiskey? – Love The Dram”

    • Hi Brian,

      Some glass types can allow for the aroma to be released easier than other glass types. As we use smell as part of the taste experience, then the type of glass we use can enhance the taste experience, or not. Having said that, there are some that believe this is just psychological and the glass doesn’t make a difference at all.

      I guess the only way to know for sure is to give it a try yourself.



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