Baltimore Magazine, July 2015
By Jess Mayhugh

We all know the swirl-and-sip routing for wine, but what about the harder stuff? Ben Lyon from Lyon Distilling gives us a step-by-step approach for tasting craft spirits.


GLASSWARE | According to Lyon, a simple wine glass is ideal. “I prefer a thin-rimmed Cabernet glass, but anything with a deep bowl will do the trick,” he says. “The idea is to highlight and concentrate the aroma of the spirit.”

NOSE | When you begin tasting, tip the glass to your nose and inhale gently, slightly opening your mouth to mellow the alcohol in your nostrils. “With our rum, you’re going to at first pick up a bright, grassy, cane-sugar note,” he says.

PALATE | First take a small sip, barely allowing the liquid on your tongue. Follow this with one or two larger sips and pay attention to the flavors and textures. “Our rye first strikes the tongue with spicy heat,” Lyon says.

FINISH | The essences lingering in the 5 to 10 seconds following the tasting constitute the finish, when the astringency subsides and bold flavors heighten. “Our rum finishes with a dry, molasses flavor,” he says. “And the rye quickly mellows to a malty flavor of apple pie and smoky vanilla.”