It’s Whisky Happy Hour Again, But How Much Do You Know About This Famous Drink?
Alcoholic beverages are found in plenty all over the world. Partaken mainly by over 18s everywhere, it is commonly enjoyed during festivities, parties, family holidays and much more. It’s common in many places to celebrate having closed a business deal with whisky. And whisky is one of those alcoholic drinks you will find all over the world. Not that we are sexist, but the truth is that it is mostly a male’s drink. However, though I said it’s a typically masculine drink, when women drink whisky they enjoy it as well, and so do we if we are lucky to be around!
For those who like whisky, or just feel they should know about this worldwide preferred drink, join me in a breakdown of the origin of your favourite drink. Whisky is an alcoholic drink made from malts and grains including wheat, barley and corn. It is usually fermented for years and generally distilled to levels of 40% of alcohol. Whisky varies in a number of ways; origin, mode of processing, grains they are made of and of course costs.
Malt whisky: it is made fundamentally of malted barley.
Grain whisky: The terms grain whisky refer to a whisky made with any type of grains.
Blended whisky: A blended whisky, is a combination of various types of whiskies.
Whisky is made in different places all over the world, the processing varies, and the way it is spelled varies too, so you will notice it is written “whisky” or “whiskey”, with an “e”. Basically American and Irish producers chose spelling it as whiskey, while Canadian, Scottish and Japanese spell it whisky.
So, now, let’s keep widening your alcoholic culture:
This whiskey has history, sweet huh! It is not just a beverage. The Japanese people, way back in the 19th century had a special preference for whiskey. However there came a time in their country when the government was levying high taxes on traditionally imported whiskeys. This made the cost of whiskeys sky rocket and the locals opted to make their own at home; hence Japanese whiskey was born.
Amrut fusion is an example of Indian whiskey. They are commonly fruity and often include tropical fruits. Indian whiskey is mostly composed of molasses with only small amounts of malt whiskey. In other parts of the world, this drink goes by the name rum.
American whiskey (bourbon)
This type of whiskey is what we would call legendary. Its origin can be traced to Kentucky. It is made mostly from corn, being more than 51% of the percentage grain used and that has been fermented for well over two years. The best American whiskey is fermented in oak barrels. On top of that, it must be at least 80% alcoholic. A very famous example of this whiskey is the Jack Daniel’s. This name was adopted from the name of jasper Daniel, who was the main inventor of the bourbon, as most Americans refer to their whiskey. It does not contain any added flavours or colour.
For American whiskey that is called rye whiskey, it must contain more than 51% rye in its content.
The Jameson is a common favourite among people who enjoy whiskey. It is an Irish whiskey. It is a form of whiskey distilled after fermenting grains of barley. It is called Irish whiskey because it is made exclusively in Ireland. The flavours of Irish whisky are broader than of scotch since the rules of making this brand of whiskey are less restrictive.
Examples of Irish whiskeys are the Bushmills Irish whiskeys and Green Spot Irish whiskeys.
Unlike the bourbon that is fermented for at least two years, Canadian whiskey is strictly fermented for more than three years. This whiskey is usually composed of a number of grains; corn, wheat and barley. Canadian whiskey does not have a specific container where it has to be fermented however. Among the common brands of Canadian whiskeys are the Crown Royal Reserve and the Canadian Mist whiskeys.
Most people seem to not know that scotch is a whisky, they just go to the bar and ask for a “Scotch on the rocks”. The reason behind this statement is from the questions posed over the difference between the two; only there is none really. Whisky is the name, scotch is a brand of the whiskey. It has its makers in Scotland of Europe. Just like Canadian whiskey, it has to be fermented for well over three years. The very important consideration in its making is that it has to be fermented in oak barrels just like the bourbon. Additionally, it has to attain a minimum 40% alcohol level of distillation.
J & B and Bells are famous among blended scotch whiskies.
Well, imagine you buy a whisky, look at the label, fist thing you will see, of course, the commercial brand. And then a description of the type of whisky you are buying, which is the other distinction of whiskey is under the classification of blended and malt whiskeys.
Single Malt whiskeys
When a whiskey is single malt, it simply means that it has been made by one (single) producer and at one station of distillation, a distillery. This does not mean that it is the product of a sole barrel like most people seem to imagine. No. Being single malt means that it can be a mix of a number of whiskeys fermented in various barrels, but at the same site of production.
A good example of this idea is that of the single scotch whiskey. It consists mainly of barley, which makes for at least 51% content, with some other grains like wheat and corn inclusive. It is not made of barley alone, only that all the whiskey is collected from the same distillery and as such, its taste is a combination of flavours of many barrels. Scotch that is made from only one barrel is referred to as single barrel scotch. In this case, the taste of the whiskey is particular to the barrel from which it was made and varies from one barrel to another.
This type of whiskey is made when several different whiskeys are mixed. When they are blended malt whiskeys, it means a number of malt whiskeys were collected from different distilleries and mixed. Unlike malt whiskies which usually list an age, blended whiskeys often do not. When they do however, the malts they contain must have in fact reached the stated periods of fermentation.
Examples of blended scotch whiskies include
- Johnnie walker
- Famous Grouse
- The real Mackenzie
There are various brands of whiskeys all over the world and people often choose them based on their tastes. They have a relatively high alcoholic content when compared to beers for example and as such should not be consumed in large amounts. For an awesome experience, it is best to drink whiskey in a relaxed environment, in order to savour its brilliant flavour and the feeling that comes along with it.