If you’re a regular wine drinker, you probably catch yourself swirling all types of liquids without even thinking, but the one type you should never swirl is spirits. You see, wine needs a bit of agitation in order for the aromas to come to the fore. But thanks to spirits’ high alcohol content, or “proof,” the aromas already waft up from the glass after you pour the liquid inside, so no swirling required.
By swirling spirits you actually make the alcohol vapors more present, causing them to overtake the aromas you’re looking for, such as toffee, tobacco, juniper, etc. Those vapors can also singe the inside of your nose, resulting in temporary anosmia (the term for losing one’s sense of smell) which, coincidentally, can also be caused by sticking your nose too far into the glass.
It only lasts for a few moments, and you can quickly return your sense of smell by removing your nose from the glass and smelling the crook of your arm or your wrist, but it’s not worth the hassle if you can avoid it
So the next time someone pours you a straight spirit, simply hover your nose above the glass and take a few quick sniffs the way you imagine a rabbit might. Sure, you might feel ridiculous, but it’s the best way to truly capture and process the aromas inside.