Does Temperature Really Matter When Drinking Whiskey Neat?

Whether on the rocks, in a cocktail, or simply in a glass, whiskey knows no bounds. The popular spirit can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways, though whiskey fanatics tend to enjoy it neat. Drinking the spirit in its simplest form lets you taste its flavors at their most complex; there's nothing masking the whiskey's undertones, so you can enjoy the purest version of the drink. However, maximizing your whiskey experience isn't necessarily as simple as just pouring it into a glass. The temperature of the spirit also matters.

Whiskey presents something of a Goldilocks scenario; you don't want the spirit too hot or too cold, as either extreme can take away from the complexity of flavors. Chilled whiskey can mask tasting notes, as people tend to taste less when drinking something cold. Meanwhile, whiskey that's too warm similarly hides flavors, detracting from the drink's complexity on your taste buds. 

After all, water temperature matters when you're diluting your whiskey — so it makes sense that temperature matters for the actual spirit, too. Luckily, your whiskey may very well already be at its ideal temperature. There's a general range recommended for enjoying the spirit neat — and if you keep whiskey on the shelf, it may already be ready to drink. 

Keep whiskey at room temperature for maximum flavor

Room temperature is the way to go if you want to enjoy a neat glass of whiskey. In fact, the spirit was initially intended to be sampled as such, with no ice that could potentially dilute its strength. Room temperatures can vary, however, so it's ideal to strive for a temperature between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius, which is about 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. To achieve this desired temperature, it's best to store your whiskey (and other distilled liquors) upright in an airtight container in a cool area away from direct sunlight.

So long as you keep your whiskey at room temperature, you can always enjoy a glass at its best. Once you've poured it neat, all you have to do is make sure you're tasting your whiskey properly. Slowly sipping and taking time to smell the spirit means you're more likely to experience the nuances in its flavor and get the most out of every pour. Then again, so long as your whiskey is at the proper temperature, you're enjoying it the right way.