Drunken myths attribute Scotland as the original home of whiskey, although the Irish may contest this! Nevertheless, the origins are traceable to the XII century. The Scottish spelling is ‘whisky’ (probably pronounced whishky), and the Irish name is ‘whiskey’, which is the popular spelling internationally.
The technology employed in production includes distilling the grain mash first (usually barley, but you can find whiskey made of corn, wheat, or rye), and this is followed by an ‘oaking’ process. The main influencers in the taste of whiskey are the amount of water used in the cooking process, the type of grain mash, and the duration of oaking. Different versions of the drink from the same distillery can have distinct tastes.
The classification of the drink depends on the method of preparation; the classification also indicates the strength of the whiskey. Classifications include:
• Blended: This involves mixing malt alcohol and grain at different proportions. The best producers in this category are Johnny, Chivas, Ballantyne, and Dewars.
• Malt whiskey: This whiskey is derived exclusively from barley malt. Single malt whiskey is quite a prestigious beverage and top producers include Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Auchentoshan, and rarities which can be found in the ‘Selecting a Connoisseur’ collection.
• Pure Malt: This blend derives from mixing alcohols with different malt distillations.
• Grain whiskey: This is the perhaps the rarest type of whiskey, and derives from the distillation of rye or wheat.
• Bourbon: This is a type of whiskey made from corn mash. However, more traditional connoisseurs sometimes categorize bourbon as an entirely different drink. This whiskey is generally produced in the U.S.A.
• Tennessee whiskey (TN): This is an exclusive American brand from the same state, made by a special technology of cold filtration through charcoal maple wood. Jack Daniels is one of the most famous brands of TN whiskey.
• Straight: This is also an American whiskey (diluted only by water), which undergoes at least two years of oaking.
The average production time for a traditional Scotch whiskey is 10-12 years, and is never less than three years. The different regions of Scotland producing this whiskey include the Highlands (highland whiskey), the Lowlands (plain), Speyside and Islay. The specialties vary from one drink to another. For instance, alcohol from Islay is said to carry the aromas of seaweed, and iodine. Some experts also call this bintik, in an analogy with hospital bandages.
The production technology in Ireland is somewhat different. Instead of the double continuous distillation of the Scotch whiskey, Irish distilleries use the triple distillation process. The familiar brands of Irish whiskey include Paddy, Bushmills, and Jameson. The Irish allow at least five years for ageing, thereby creating an unusually soft and balanced beverage.
At the distilleries in the US and Canada, barley malt is not the usual choice. The popular ingredients used here are wheat, rye, and corn. The taste of US whiskey is very different from Scottish products. Black Velvet and Canadian Club are two of the famous Canadian brands. Bourbon consists of at least 51% corn alcohol. Bourbon has received the honor of being the national drink of America since 1964. However, the first Jim Beam Bourbon traces its origins way back to 1795.
How to drink Whiskey
This issue connects whiskey to other strong beverages such as Armagnac and Cognac. First, you need special glasses for the liquor. Secondly, you must follow the five rule of five S’s; Sight, Smell, Savour, Swallow, and Sip with water. You need to use clean water and ice. If need be, light a cigar to add to the luxury of the moment.
Buying whiskey online is not a problem. You can easily find brands from Scotland (Skottish Whiskey), Ireland, and North America. However, it can take some effort to find rare luxury whiskeys, as vintage boutique distilleries produce them in limited amounts. Many customers prefer the single malt whiskey because of its refined subtlety compared to Canadian and US products. Blended whiskey is also widely popular.
You can conveniently shop a wide range of whiskey, brandy and many other beverages from WineStyle. The price of our whiskey is dependent on its quality and length of exposure. You can also find detailed information on selecting the whiskey, tasting the notes, and matching dishes. Our resources also educate you on the history of the beverages. If you are seeking a cheaper brand, please click the ‘buy cheap whisky’ option. You can buy the products on retail or wholesale, and via cashless payment methods. Our alcohol is also available to order in the UK, please click the ‘buy whiskey in UK’ option.