TO begin with let’s sort the basics out ok?
Bourbon, scotch, rye. How much difference can there actually be? A lot actually.
Scottish Whisky encompasses the product developed by the country’s five distilling regions. ( Campbeltown, Islay, Lowlands, Speyside and Highlands ).
Bourbon’s an American Whisky which contains a minimum of 51 percent corn and is aged in new oak barrels.
Once they’re done with them, they often ship them to Scotland to age their whisky.
Rye is again an American whisky and must be made with at least 51 percent rye.
Tennessee whiskey is its own product, an offshoot of bourbon that adds in a supplementary charcoal filtering process. I’m sure you must have met its most successful export - Mr. Jack Daniels.
Whisky Production generally follows a 5 stage process.
Malting (where the grain is germinated, turning starch into soluble sugars), mashing (the grain is added to warm water), fermentation (the liquid is allowed to cool and ferment for around 48 hours), distillation and maturation (the whisky is aged in barrels).
Region plays a major role in shaping the whiskey. Scotch, which is short for Scottish Whisky. The sea salty, floral Scottish atmosphere, air quality seeps into the barrels giving the whisky a distinct finish.
For that matter, Japan has a long record of stellar whisky production and its heavily influenced by Scotland’s methods and Irelands sizeable outputs.
Single or Blended ?
Single Malt is produced using malted barley and yeast. Tend to be much bolder in showcasing its flavours.
Blended is a combination of malt and grain whisky. It tends to have a more harmonious, consistent flavour profile.
AKA Tasting whisky.
Now, light amber whisky means its young and hasn't had much contact with wooden barrels. Could also mean it has been aged in American white oak barrels.
Dark whisky on the other hand means its older and possibly been aged in sherry or Madeira barrels.
To get the best of your tasting session make sure you use a glass with broad base and a narrow top. It helps in preserving the heavy aromas. You can add a couple of drops of water to open up the flavour though Single Malts already have water added to them before bottling.
To really pick up the notes of your whisky, take a small sip, swirl it around your tongue before swallowing.
Whisky notes revolve around being sweet, fruity, floral, spicy, herbal, oaky, nutty, dry and smoky. Bourbons and American whiskies will tend toward the sweet, spicy end of the spectrum, whereas Scotch will lean more towards fruit and floral notes.
Cask: The barrel in which the whisky is aged.
Cask Strength: Whisky that is bottled straight from the barrel. This means no water has been added before bottling and the resulting drink will be more potent and fuller in flavour. If you buy cask strength whisky, be sure to add a little water to your glass before drinking unless you’d like to have your head blown off.
Ester: An organic compound formed during fermentation by the reaction of carboxylic acid with alcohol. They lend whisky its fruitiness.
Finishing: This refers to a process of re-aging the whisky once it has been fully aged. This produces complex new flavours.
Mash Bill: The ratio of grains used in a whisky.
Americans and Irish prefer whiskey, whereas we Brits, the Scottish, Canadians and Japanese prefer whisky.
Important thing is - Drink it.
One ManUP Out.