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All about whiskey
The untold truth about whiskey
We could simply say that whiskey is a liquor that derives from a blend of fermented grains but, as most connoisseurs know, the world of spirits is much more complicated than that. Actually, the whiskey category includes a huge variety of spirits, from bourbon to scotch whisky. To create completely new flavors, distilleries constantly experiment with different grain types.
Flavors can range from sweet to spicy and smoky. Most whiskeys were born as a standalone drink, but you can always choose your favorite mixers and invent your own cocktail recipes.
WHY SOMETIMES IT'S CALLED "WHISKEY" AND SOMETIMES "WHISKY"
If you're a fan of this elegant liquor, you've probably already read both versions of the name on your bottles. Simply put, "whisky" without the "e" comes from distilleries in Scotland, Canada or Japan. If you're looking to try any of these whiskies, bottles will be labeled with "scotch whisky," "Canadian whisky" or "Japanese whisky." "Whiskey" with the "e" comes from Ireland and the United States.
Types of whiskey
Did you know that bourbon is a type of aged whiskey? It ages for two years in brand-spanking-new oak barrels. It's not a joke as producers use bourbon barrels only once, then they pass them on to other distillers who use them for rums, tequilas and other liquors. Sounds like a pretty sustainable production method! Bourbon is the most popular type of whiskey in mixed drinks. After all, could you imagine a Manhattan or John Collins without it?
Scotch whisky, like the name suggests, hails from Scotland. A particular malt drying process imparts to the liquor a distinctive smoky taste, which is even stronger in single malt varieties.
Then there's Irish whiskey, a complex blend of corn-based and malted spirits. It's a very drinkable variety with a smooth, toasty and typically sweet flavor.
What are you waiting for? Find your favorite whiskey on Driz or find a liquor store in your city and look for liquor stores on Drizly near you.
What is the process of making whiskey?
Whiskey starts with a mash of grains. This can be corn, wheat, rye or malted barley. This is similar to the creation of other liquors, like vodka. The outcome of the drink (flavor, mouthfeel, spice etc.) will be determined by the dominant grain. The mash is fermented, distilled and aged (exception for white whiskey). It's then bottled. To be a whiskey, it technically has to be at least 40% ABV.
What are popular varieties of whiskey?
There are so many varieties of whiskey out there. Popular ones include Irish whisky, single malt whiskey, American whiskey, Japanese whisky, scotch whisky, bourbon and Tennessee whiskey. Each of these varieties is made, distilled, blended and aged differently to give them their unique taste and feel. You can learn more about them in our whiskey guide.
What does small batch whiskey mean?
A small batch is a specific number of barrels mixed together to create a unique flavor. The barrels are usually selected based on how their individual flavor, and how complementary their flavor profile is with the other barrels selected. Ultimately, the goal is to create a new, unique flavor for that special batch.
What are the flavor differences between bourbon, scotch and whiskey?
To start - bourbon and scotch are both whiskeys. Bourbon is made in the US and is made mostly of corn, which gives it a sweeter flavor. Scotch is made in Scotland out of malted grains that are "peated," which means it was smoked with peat moss. Scotch's flavor is smokey and briney. American whiskey is predominantly made with malted barley. American whiskeys are sweeter than scotch and less smoky.
Why are older whiskeys better?
This is entirely dependent on your flavor preferences. Older whiskeys have more oakiness because they spent years in their barrels. Many people prefer older whiskeys because their flavor profile is considered more complex as well. Aging also neutralizes any harsh tasting elements and makes for a smoother drink and finish. But you don't always need to drop a bunch of money on a 15 or 18 year old whiskey if you'd like to enjoy a sippable glass. There are plenty of younger, more affordable options that are equally as tasty.
What are sippable whiskeys to try?
Popular brands include Jack Daniels, Makers Mark and Wild Turkey. Or, if you're trying to make whiskey cocktails - you can always try going with something that has a spice or flavor element. These whiskeys have been making headlines recently and are certainly worth a try.