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What are the different types of whiskeys you ask?
Say no more my friend. As we’re here with all our whiskey know-how, 240 years’ worth, to quench all your burning questions. Hot whiskey style.
So, if you’ve ever wondered the difference between single malt and blended whiskey? We got you. Or what a scotch is? The answer – Not Irish! It’s a whiskey made in Scotland. Just like Irish whiskey is made in Ireland. And Bourbon comes from the United States.
You see, there are just so many varieties of whiskey, we thought we’d make you a handy little guide to navigate them all. Assisting you in becoming the very next great whiskey connoisseur. Differentiating your whiskeys, through the grain used, production process, and maturation time. And knowing what kind is right for every palate, person and pal.
Sound good? Well let’s get going.
What is a single malt whiskey?
Single malt is a type of whiskey made exclusively from malted barley, water and yeast.
It is produced by a single distillery in pot stills. Then aged in oak casks for a minimum of three years, although some are left for much (much) longer. This gives the whiskey a distinctive flavour, aroma and taste that is unique to that distillery and specific batch. And is a favoured method of the Scots (shakes fist), where it’s been produced like this for centuries.
Although not as long as Irish whiskey has been made it should be noted. As we all know where whiskey was truly born ;)
And a blended whiskey is?
It’s just that. Two or more different types of whiskey blended together. Jameson is a blend of Single Pot Still and Grain Whiskey, united to create a perfectly balanced flavour.
Aged for a minimum of three years, this results in a guaranteed smooth, complex taste. Making it a popular choice for cocktails due to its versatility and consistent flavour. So, get your egg whites out and give our whiskey sour recipe a crack.
Speaking of which, what’s Irish whiskey?
Irish whiskey is as they say, chef’s kiss. Known for its thorough and distinct production process and taste.
Now becoming an Irish whiskey is no easy task. For one, it must firstly be produced in Ireland (obviously). And is typically triple distilled. Meaning the spirit is passed through a still three times to create a smoother, cleaner flavour profile. That’s more than any other whiskey, whisky or bourbon in the world.
As smoothness, taste and drinkability are what Irish whiskey is known for in comparison to say a single malt whisky or a Tennessee whiskey.
Giving it a slightly sweet, fruity flavour profile, with notes of vanilla, honey, and caramel. Compared to bourbon, which is made primarily from corn and has a sweeter, more robust flavour. Irish whiskey is generally lighter and more delicate. Scotch, on the other hand, is made from malted barley and has a smoky, peaty flavour that is not typically found in Irish whiskey.
Because of this, Irish whiskey is a popular choice the world over.
Scotch whisky, tell me more?
A scotch is a whisky exclusively made in Scotland. As the country’s unique climate and natural resources play a significant role in shaping its character. And although its production process is highly regarded, Scotch whisky usually only distills its spirit twice, not always, unlike Irish whiskey, which as you’ve learned, traditionally distills three times, but again, not always!
These methods can create a key difference in flavour depending on the methods used. Say when barley is peated, which can be a characteristic of some Scotch whiskeys. Particularly when we are generalising. This creates a smoky flavour that you may here mentioned.
So where Irish whiskey is generally known for its roundness, creaminess and fruity spicy finish. A scotch can lean a little more a smokier, drier and fruitier feel sometimes.
It’s not for everyone, but those who love it… LOVE IT. Particularly those from Isla.
IS BOURBON A TYPE OF WHISKEY THEN?
The answer is yes. It is an American whiskey that is made primarily from corn and aged in new charred oak barrels. Produced in the United States but not necessarily Kentucky as some think. Where the mash bill (the mixture of grains used to make the whiskey) must contain at least 51% corn. With no additives allowed. And can be distilled just once to qualify as bourbon.
There are two main types. Straight bourbon, which is aged in new, charred oak barrels for at least two years, and cannot contain any added flavours or colours. And small batch bourbon, which is made by blending together a small number of barrels to create a unique flavour profile.
In terms of flavour, bourbon is known for its sweet and rich taste, with notes of caramel, vanilla and oak. With the use of corn in the adding a unique sweetness that sets it apart.
IS BOURBON THE SAME AS RYE WHISKEY THEN?
Simply put, no.
The arrival of rye in the US changed things forever. It grew well in the American climate and soil, and soon became a popular crop in the northeastern states. With the abundance of rye, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to turn it into whiskey.
Rye is made using a similar method to bourbon whiskey, by fermenting a mash of at least 51% rye grains, along with other grains such as corn and barley. But it is rye, which is the main ingredient, not corn. Giving it a spicy and peppery flavour, with a hint of fruitiness, a subtle sweetness, and a drier finish than other whiskeys.
What are other types of whiskey?
There are so many. But a few to note are…
Comes from Canada. And is distilled and aged for a minimum of three years. It’s a blended whiskey using grains, such as corn, rye, barley, and wheat. And then distilled in column stills, which produce a lighter, smoother spirit than the pot stills used in other whiskey-producing countries.
It creates a lighter and smoother whiskey, whilst the use of corn gives it a slightly sweet flavour, with notes of vanilla and caramel. A key ingredient in Canadian whiskey is rye also, but it is often used in smaller amounts than in American rye whiskey, resulting in a milder, less spicy taste.
Comes from, drum roll please… Japan. You’re getting good at this. And typically involves a double distillation process like the Scots to achieve a smoother and more refined flavour. Although Japanese whiskey tends to be lighter and more delicate, with less of a smoky or peaty flavour with subtle notes of fruit, floral, and honey.
Despite this, Japanese whiskey is often compared to Scotch, as both types of whiskey share a similar production process and use of malted barley. Additionally, some Japanese whiskey distilleries have even hired Scottish distillers to help them produce their whiskey.
And then there’s Tennessee whiskey. Produced in the state of Tennessee in the United States. Is this bourbon or whiskey you ask?
Well, the production process is similar to that of bourbon, with some additional requirements. Such as being filtered through maple charcoal, and aged in new, charred oak barrels. Which sounds pretty exciting to be fair. This filtering process, called the Lincoln County Process, involves dripping the whiskey through several feet of sugar maple charcoal, which removes impurities and imparts a distinct flavour. The whiskey is then aged for at least two years in these barrels.
Tennessee whiskey has a distinct flavour profile compared to other types of whiskey with notes of caramel, vanilla, and smoke. It is often described as being slightly less sweet than bourbon, with a smoother finish.
Well, we think we’ve poured you enough information to start. So, maybe you need a little sip to distill it all down. Get the gang together. And smoothen out the details. As with all crafts, the above only scratches the surface of all you can know about our great liquid. And our rivals too ;) But now you’re armed with enough knowledge to…
Unleash your adventurous spirit and embark on a whiskey journey. Start with the smooth and rich taste of Jameson Irish Whiskey.