While I don’t think I do anything out of the ordinary during my reviews, here’s how I go about reviewing a whisky. I start with a 1-2 oz pour in some sort of tulip shaped glass (Glencairn, Coptia, or Spey Dram usually). After the pour, I’ll usually let the whisk(e)y sit for about 5-10 minutes. The difference in the nose after 1 minute and after 10 minutes is often remarkable.
I start with the appearance, noting color and if the whisky coats the glass particularly well or poorly. I nose for at least 5-10 minutes before attempting a taste. After about three sips, I’ll add a few drops of water unless I know that the whisky is better neat. It usually takes 30 minutes or so for me to complete a review.
One rule that I like to follow is that I always finish my official review before I finish the drink so that I can enjoy the end of the pour without the pressure of writing down additional tasting notes. If you can’t get everything you need after 30 minutes or so, you can always revisit on the next pour.