What are some key types of whiskey?
- Single Malt and Blended
If you’re new to the world of whiskey, you might be surprised to know that there are many different types of whiskey and that no two are identical. But there’s no need to be overwhelmed when choosing one!
In this list, we present some whiskeys that are beloved all over the world, the most fundamental types for you to know.
Why are there so many types of whiskey?
Whiskey is a grain alcohol that’s popular all over the world. Its sugars can be sourced from rye, corn, barley, wheat, sorghum, or other grains, each with a specific taste. It is also made in a wide range of countries, each adding a distinct flavor that’s unique to their culture.
Even within the same distillery, no two whiskeys are alike because there is a finite amount of whiskey in each “run”. Once all the whiskey from a certain run has been bottled, that exact taste can never be truly replicated. All that is to say, whiskeys are some of the most diverse drinks in terms of taste, cost, and reputation.
Still, some whiskeys have gained so much traction over the years that they simply had to make their way onto this list. Read on to know what they are.
If you’ve heard of American whiskey, you’ve likely heard of bourbon. This is primarily made in the state of Kentucky, sourced mostly from corn, and aged in charred oak barrels. Bourbon has distinct caramel and vanilla notes, and it can only be made in the USA. For a whiskey to be labeled as bourbon, it needs to comply with certain guidelines set by the US government!
The recipes for any kind of whiskey are called mash bills. As its name suggests, for rye whiskey the mash bill is primarily composed of rye. The remainder is typically made up of other grains, and similar to bourbon, it is aged in charred oak barrels for at least two years, doesn’t contain any additional flavors, and has to meet certain US government guidelines to be called such. In contrast to bourbon, rye whiskey has a higher alcohol content and a bolder flavor profile.
The first two whiskeys in this article are primarily made in America, but this next highly popular drink hails from five specific regions of Scotland. Made from malted barley, water, and yeast and following a specific process of distillation and aging, scotch can be further divided into two categories: single malt and blended, which we’ll discuss further before the end of this article. Scotch is known for having a rich and complex flavor, with notes of various peat, smoke, fruits, and spices that vary according to the region and distillery where it was made as well as the aging process it went through.
If you’re looking for a drink to pan out your whiskey journey, try one of life’s true icons, the Johnnie Walker Black Label. A masterful Scottish blend that’s been aged for at least 12 years, this is a timeless classic with depth and a balance of flavor.
As its name suggests, Irish whiskey is made in—you guessed it—Ireland. It is made from a blend of malted and unmalted barley, and sometimes other grains like corn or wheat. Again, this whiskey follows a specific process. Barley is milled and then mixed with hot water to form a liquid called wort. It is then fermented with yeast to form the whiskey, which is aged for at least 3 years. Irish whiskey is known for its smooth and gentle taste with notes of honey, vanilla, and toffee.
Japan began making whiskeys in the 19th century, making it one of the youngest major whiskey regions, but the industry has grown so big in the island nation that it’s been acknowledged on this and many other whiskey lists. Typically made using ingredients, techniques, and styles similar to Scotch production, Japanese whiskey is known for having a smooth and refined character with notes of fruit, flowers, and spice. Some of the most sought-after, multi-awarded, and expensive whiskeys in the world have hailed from Japan.
One of the most popular and widely-consumed types of whiskey in the world, Canadian or Canadian rye whiskey is famous for its blending process wherein distillers blend different whiskies to create a consistent flavor profile. With that said, however, at least 40% of the final product must be composed of rye whiskey for it to be labeled as such. Generally, Canadian whiskeys are known for their smooth and easy-drinking character and have notes of caramel, vanilla, and fruit.
Single Malt and Blended
Scotch, Japanese, and some other types of whiskey can all be further categorized into two types: single malt and blended. Single malt whiskey is made from 100% malted barley and produced by a single distillery following a specific process of malting, blending with water, and fermenting with yeast. Blended whiskey, on the other hand, combines different single malt or grain whiskies, allowing distillers to create more balanced and smoother whiskeys. Single malt whiskey is considered to be of higher quality and thus is usually more expensive.
For a single malt that’s refreshingly sweet with notes of citrus, cinnamon, and vanilla, try the Glen Moray Single Malt, a light, and fruity expression that’s been finished for 8 months in Port pipes from the No. 1 Porto company in the world.
So there you have it! In this article, we discussed some of the most popular types of whiskey that any newcomer to the industry should know before they start their whiskey journey.
Don’t forget to source your whiskeys and other alcohol from the finest selection of wines, sakes, beers, and spirits in the Philippines. Visit us at one of our stores or browse our collections today!