How to Use

To get the most out of your bourbon nosing kit, follow these step-by-step instructions:

1. If you purchased the Original Bourbon Nosing Kit, cut the end off of the provided honey stick and squeeze it to fill the empty honey container.

Bourbon tasting wheel

2. Refer to the bourbon tasting wheel above. The colors of each ingredient label correspond to one of the five categories found on the wheel:

  • Blue = Sweet
  • Red = Spice
  • Tan = Wood
  • Green = Fruit
  • Yellow = Grain
3. Pour some bourbon in a glass, preferably a Glencairn or similar tulip-shaped glass, and swirl it around gently. Air interacting with the bourbon and the tulip shape of the glass will help accentuate aromas.

4. With your mouth slightly open, nose (smell) one of the elements, then nose your bourbon. Keeping your mouth open is especially important with higher proof bourbon because it prevents your nose from being overwhelmed by alcohol vapors.

Important note - Because Nose Your Bourbon® kits use natural ingredients and nothing is added to boost the aromas, some ingredients will have a weaker aroma than others, just as they do in their natural state. If you’re having trouble picking up the aroma for any ingredient, exhale slightly through your nose into the container before you inhale. This will warm the ingredient slightly and get some air moving, both which will make it easier to detect the aroma.

5. Take a small sip of bourbon and “chew” it around in your mouth for 5-10 seconds before swallowing. This is affectionately referred to as the “Kentucky Chew” and helps give your taste receptors time to identify flavors before swallowing.

6. Nose the element and the bourbon again. The aromas present in the glass should be more amplified now.

7. Take note of what aromas you find in the bourbon you’re nosing. If it smells sweet, can you get more specific? Maybe it’s more like vanilla, honey, or brown sugar. If it smells spicy, is it a black pepper, cinnamon, or clove-like spice?