Whiskey is one of the most distinguished alcoholic beverages in the world. It’s rich history, paired with its intricate distillation and aging process makes it something that is celebrated and revered in many different countries and cultures. However, whiskeys aren’t all the same. There are dozens of different varieties which differ in base product, alcohol level, and quality. Here is a breakdown of some of the more common whiskeys, so the next time you’re at the discount liquor store looking for the best single malt scotch, you have a better understanding of what you’re looking at.
Malt and grain whiskeys are combined in various ways to produce the following blends and varieties:
-Vatted malt whiskey is blended from malt whiskies that are usually from different distilleries. If you see a whiskey with a label reading pure malt, Blended malt, or simply, malt, it is most likely a vatted whiskey.
-Single malt scotch whiskey is malt whiskey from one, single distillery and is one of the more highly revered whiskey types.
-Pure pot still whiskey is a whiskey that is distilled in much like a single malt, in a pot still, from a mash of mixed malted and unmalted barley. This type of whiskey is exclusive to Ireland.
-Blended whiskies are created from a mixture of malt and grain whiskeys. A whiskey that is labeled as scotch whiskey or Irish whiskey is most likely a blended whiskey. The term blend means that it is from many distilleries so that the maker can create a distinct flavor that is consistent with the brad.
-Cask strength whiskies are the most rare and usually the best whiskies are bottle in this fashion. Typically they are bottled straight from the cask, undiluted. Instead of diluting the whiskey, the distiller is bidding the consumer to dilute the whiskey to their desired level of taste. Often times, many drinkers choose not to dilute single malts and cask whiskies because they’re of such high-quality. Single-cask whiskeys are typically bottled by independent bottling specialists. Such names include Duncan Taylor, Gordon & MacPhail, Cadenhead and many others. There is a common misconception that whiskies mature in the bottle, but that simply is untrue. Whiskies mature in the cask and get their rich flavors and aromas from the barrel. Therefore, the age of a whiskey refers to the period of time between the distillation process and the bottling. The age refers to how much the cask has influenced the whiskey, and how long it has had to change its chemical makeup and taste.
Hopefully this information will help clear up the complexities of whiskey and you’ll have a much easier time finding the perfect selection, the next time you’re shopping at the discount liquor store.