What are the varieties of whiskey?

In one of my previous posts I discussed the production of single malt and its transformation from barley to whisky. Today, I will overview the various types of whiskey available without the production summary. I’ll save that for a later date. For my regular readers, if any, I would point out that I intend on providing tasting notes for all kinds of whiskey once I have done the round of the single malts currently available to me. As I acquire new malts, I will make sure to provide tasting notes on these, but I expect the pace to slow.

So, what are the whiskey varieties?

As discussed earlier, single malt is one type of whisky. Single malt comes from one distillery. It can be sourced from various barrels of various age. The age on the bottle is the youngest batch. Its source is barley. Most is made in Scotland, but Canada and Japan are regular producers.

Grain whiskey is used primarily in blends, sourced from wheat and sometimes corn.

Blends are single malts and grain mixed together to come up with a unique flavour. Costs are cut by using more grain whisky than malt. Some are blended malts, meaning they use single malts from several distilleries. According to this site, 95% of whiskey is sold as blended.

Bourbon’s main raw material (more than 50%) is corn. It must be aged at least 2 years in white oak casks that must have been charred. The other infredients are wheat, rye, or barley. Tennesse whiskey is differentiated by the use of Lincoln County Process. Briefly, this filtration method consists of passing the whiskey through a bed of sugar-maple charcoal.

Rye uses the same process as bourbon, but the raw ingredient here is majority rye (more that 50%). Canadian rye is different from American rye though, something I will explore later.

Irish whiskey is made using malted and unmalted barley. The product is distilled three time in the pot still process, rather that the two times common in Scotland. The product must be aged three years and peat is seldom used.

This is but a brief overview, much more can be said about each, and I will attempt to explore these all at later dates.



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