Depends on the whiskey. Some is good enough to drink straight, some needs some ice/water to open it up, some needs some coke to be drinkable, and some goes to my friends who don’t care at all and will drink anything.
Regardless of the style or brand I’m drinking, I try to follow these steps:
1.) in a glass (rocks glass if it’s a generous pour, glencairn if just want a sip or two) I’ll swirl it around a few times then I’ll lift it to my nose to sniff what I’m drinking.
2.) After the sniff I’ll take a sip and swish that around my mouth, covering my taste buds. Often called a “Kentucky Chew”, it helps to get rid of the burn of the alcohol.
3.) after 15-20 seconds of my first sip I’ll take another sip to taste the different notes in the bourbon or whiskey. Since the first sip was to help with the burn, the second sip helps to actually taste the flavor of what you’re drinking.
With a cube of ice or splash of water or not, these three steps help me slow down and enjoy the taste of what I’m drinking!