What are the many whiskey varieties?

Paul Benevente

June 8, 2023

Whiskey is a popular spirit that has been around for centuries. It’s made by distilling a fermented mash of grains, and the resulting liquid is then aged in barrels to give it its distinctive flavour and colour. There are several different types of whiskey, each with unique characteristics and flavour profiles. This article examines the most common types of whiskey and what sets them apart. What are the many whiskey varieties?

Bourbon Whiskey

Bourbon is the most famous type of whiskey and for good reason. It’s a distinctly American spirit that must be made from at least 51% corn and aged in new charred oak barrels. This ageing process gives bourbon its characteristic caramel-like sweetness and oaky flavour. Most bourbon is made in Kentucky, but it can be produced anywhere in the United States.

Rye Whiskey

In many ways, rye whiskey is similar to bourbon, but it must be made from at least 51% rye instead of corn. This gives it a spicier, more robust flavour than bourbon. Rye whiskey is also aged in charred oak barrels, providing a distinctive amber colour and woody flavour. Rye whiskey was a popular spirit in the United States before prohibition and has recently grown in popularity.

Scotch Whiskey

Scotch whiskey is a type of whiskey that’s made in Scotland. It’s usually made from malted barley and distilled twice in copper pot stills. The resulting spirit is then aged in oak casks for at least three years. Scotch whiskey has a complex, smoky flavour from the peat smoke used during malting. Scotch whiskey has several subcategories, including single malt, blended malt, and blended scotch.

Irish Whiskey

Irish whiskey is made in Ireland and is generally made from a blend of malted and unmalted barley. It’s distilled three times, which gives it a smoother, more mellow flavour than other types of whiskey. Irish whiskey is usually aged in used bourbon barrels or sherry casks, which give it a unique flavour profile. Some popular brands of Irish whiskey include Jameson and Bushmills.

Canadian Whiskey

Canadian whiskey is made in Canada and is typically made from a blend of corn, rye, wheat, and barley. Unlike other types of whiskey, Canadian whiskey may be aged in used bourbon barrels or different types of oak barrels. This gives it a lighter, smoother flavour than other types of whiskey. Canadian whiskey is often used in cocktails because of its versatility and delicate flavour.

Japanese Whiskey

Japanese whiskey has become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks partly to its unique flavour profile. It’s made using traditional Scottish methods but with Japanese ingredients and techniques. Japanese whiskey is generally known for its smooth, complex flavour and is often aged in various types of barrels, including sherry, bourbon, and Mizunara oak.

Tennessee Whiskey

Tennessee whiskey is similar to bourbon in many ways, but it must be produced in Tennessee and undergoes a unique Lincoln County Process. This involves filtering the whiskey through sugar maple charcoal before ageing it in oak barrels. This gives Tennessee whiskey a distinctive smoky and sweet flavour profile that sets it apart from other types of whiskey.

In conclusion, there are many different types of whiskey, each with unique characteristics and flavour profiles. Whether you prefer the sweet, caramel-like flavour of bourbon, the spicy kick of rye whiskey, or the complex smokiness of scotch, there’s a whiskey out there for every palate. So why grab a glass and try something new? You may discover your new favourite spirit.