Whisky is a type of alcoholic beverage that is distilled from fermented grain mash. Different grains are used for producing different varieties of the drink. Some of these are barley, malted barley, rye, wheat and maize. Whiskies are generally stored or aged in a wooden cask, made out of oak. There is an old saying, “Anyone who won’t drink whisky with ice is either pretentious or a drunk, not a whisky drinker”. This refers to “whisky on the rocks”, which is a swaying combo. Now, “whisky” per se is a very wide term. If you get in a liquor store, you will be stunned by the sheer varieties on sale. Choosing a bottle of whisky is like choosing candy, there are so many options and you want all. This makes it quite confusing to someone who just wants to get a plain old drink of whisky. So, equip yourself with information on the main types of whisky, so that you are able to make a choice of the best drink for yourself.
Different Kinds Of Whisky
This is a whisky made in the traditional manner, out of malted barley. Malt whisky is still made in the traditional, onion-shaped pot.
This is made out of both, malted and un-malted barley and also includes other grains, such as wheat and maize. Grain whisky was first produced in the 1830’s and is primarily used in blends.
Single Malt Whisky
Single malt whisky is made solely out of malted barley and it comes from just one distillery. This whisky has a taste that is specific to the distillery in which it is made, and is often blended with other whiskies, in order to reach a perfect blend.
Cask Strength Whisky
This whisky is taken from the cask and bottled immediately, without being diluted. Therefore, it has higher alcohol content than most others.
Vatted Malt Whisky
Vatted Malt Whisky is blended from malt whiskies of different distilleries. If a whisky is labeled ‘pure malt’ or just ‘malt’, it is almost certain to be a vatted whisky. It is also sometimes labeled as ‘blended malt’.
Pure Pot Still Whisky
This refers to a whisky distilled in a pot-still, from mash of mixed malted and un-malted barley. It is found exclusively in Ireland.
Blended whisky is generally made out of a mix of malt and grain whisky. Malt whisky improves the quality of the final drink, as grain whiskeys are held to be of inferior taste & quality. It can also be described as a blend of malt whiskeys from different distilleries.
This is not among the most popular of whiskeys. It is made from a fermented mash of atleast 51% rye. It is primarily used in mixed drinks, but has some diehard fans as well, who enjoy its heavier body.
Bourbon whisky is among the first spirits ever taken into the United States. It must contain atleast 51% corn, have been distilled at more than 160 proof and stored in new charred oak barrels. It has a full-bodied, sweet flavor.
Irish whisky is made from blended malt of half barley and half oats. There is no trace of a smoky or sweet flavor. The two main brands are Jameson and Bush.
It is produced in Canada, basically with corn, but it may also contain some rye, barley, and wheat. The mash is distilled at high proof and is filtered before bottling. A minimum 2 years of aging is required before use, in a new or old barrel. Canadian whiskey is light and slightly sweet.
Scotch whisky is made from peat dried, malted barley that has been fermented and distilled and then blended with corn rye whisky. The barley whisky is distilled at 140 proof and the corn rye at 180 proof. It is light bodied, has a smoky flavor and originates from Scotland.
It is defined as being distilled at not higher than 160 proof. It has to be aged in new charred oak barrels, for at least 2 years. It should be distilled at not less than 80 proof in strength and should not contain any additives, other than water. It has a full flavor, body and aroma. The dominant grain used in the mash determines the name of the whisky - it is straight corn whisky if corn is used and straight wheat whisky if wheat is used.