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Whiskey is a distilled spirit produced from fermented grain (barley, wheat, corn, or rye).  This amber-coloured alcoholic drink is also spelled as whisky. They are aged in casks made of wood and then bottled with forty per cent alcohol by volume.

You can find various whiskey types in the market, usually differentiated by their types of grain, place of origin, blending process, ageing process, and flavours. This drink is commonly described as caramelly, toasty, sweet, spicy, and warm.

What are the ingredients in whiskey?

This drink contains very few ingredients; most of them are added after the main process of distillation and dilution. Each distillery follows a different specification. The main ingredients in the procedure are as follows:

  • Grain mash
  • Water
  • Optional additives
  • Time/ageing

Flavours and other ingredients/additives are added later for taste and uniqueness.

How is whisky prepared?

Most of the types follow a few basic steps, and they are:

  • Combine the base ingredients
  • Ferment the base
  • Strain the mixture
  • Distill
  • Collect and sort the distillate
  • Age the liquor
  • Dilute
  • Bottle

Though there are many ways to change the taste and type of whiskeys, these are the initial steps for producing high-quality whisky.

How many types of whiskeys are there?

Many types are available in the market, usually distinguished by their place of origin, blending method, the ageing process, and types of grains.

The types are:

Blended whiskey

It is a mixture of whiskeys, commonly produced by various distilleries.

Rye whiskey

This type contains fifty-one per cent rye (Secale cereale/grain) in its mash bill. Like bourbon, rye is aged in newly charred oak barrels if it’s made in the USA.

Bourbon whiskey

It is an American type, usually produced in Kentucky, with at least fifty-one per cent corn in its mash bill or grain makeup. If made in the USA, it must be aged in newly charred oak barrels to get a nutty flavour profile and a mellow, caramelised sweetness.

Scotch whiskey

It must be distilled, aged, and bottled in Scotland. In Scotland, the law mandates that scotch must be aged in casks made from oaks for at least three years.

Canadian whiskey

These types are specifically produced and aged in the same country. It has a minimum of forty per cent alcohol by volume (ABV) and ages at least three years in barrels made of wood not bigger than 700L. Canadian whiskey also contains caramel and other additives, which is why you can experience a different taste in each brand.

Single-malt whiskey

It comes from a single distillery and has only one type of malted grain.

Irish whiskey

This is a spirit produced from cereal grain, malt, and barley, and it is distilled, aged, and bottled in the same country to qualify as Irish whiskey. It must be aged in wooden casks for a minimum of 3 years.

Japanese whiskey

It is bottled in Japan but not necessarily distilled/aged in the same place. Some whiskeys made in Japan draw an immediate comparison to Scotch whiskey, while other brands are continuously changing and evolving to acquire unique qualities.

Tennessee whiskey

It is a subtype of bourbon. This type is filtered through sugar maple charcoal before it is aged. The process involved in this filtering is called the Lincoln County process, and it is what gives Tennessee whiskey its flavour.

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