7 Types of Whiskey Explained [A Beginner's Guide]

Feb 09, 2023 - Views: 770

Rating: 4.6 - 52Votes

Although the world of whiskey may appear complicated at first, understanding 7 types of whiskey doesn't require you to be an expert.

This is a comprehensive guide to studying these types from all over the world, so read on to learn more!

Types of whisky explained

Types of whisky explained

What Is Whiskey?

Whiskey is a spirit made by distilling grain in a pot still or a patent still.

According to the regulations that regulate the grain, its proportion, and the numerous processes used in creating whiskey, the grain utilized may be maize, barley, wheat, rye, or a mixture of grains in varying quantities.

Unmalted grain, malted grain, or a combination of the two may be present in this mixture. 

The distilled beverage is then matured in wooden casks, particularly oak-made ones with at least 40% alcohol by volume (ABV). 

The roughness of the raw spirit is softened by the wood aging, which also gives the spirit flavor and color.

The definition of whiskey

The definition of whiskey

Is It Whisky or Whiskey?

What is the difference between whisky and whiskey? These days, it's common to encounter two alternative spellings, whiskey vs whisky. 

The two spellings, which were once used to distinguish Irish whiskey from Scotch whisky, are now used to refer to whiskeys produced all over the world.

In Ireland and the United States, the accepted spelling is usually “whiskey,” meanwhile it is known as "whisky" in Canada, Scotland, and Japan.

Whisky vs whiskey both refer to whiskey

Whisky vs whiskey both refer to whiskey

What Are 7 Types of Whiskey?

It's crucial to comprehend the variations between each variety of whiskey to select the one you prefer drinking the most.

Bourbon whiskey

Bourbon is a type of whiskey manufactured from a mash that contains at least 51% corn and can satisfy a variety of tastes and preferences. 

Although there is no minimum age requirement, it must be bottled at a minimum proof of 80.

If made in the US, bourbon must be matured in newly charred oak barrels, giving it a distinctive nutty flavor profile and a mellow, caramelized sweetness.

Tennessee whiskey

Tennessee whiskey is just a subtype of Bourbon with the Lincoln County process added as an extra step.

This additional step helps smooth out the distillate's rough edges by passing it through charcoal filters or chips before maturation casks.

This type of whiskey is made from a mixture of 51-79% corn, as well as rye, barley, and wheat.

Tennessee whiskey

Tennessee whiskey

Irish whiskey

A spirit created from grain, malt, and barley and distilled, matured, and bottled in Ireland is what makes its Irish whiskey. 

This whiskey must spend a minimum of 3 years in wooden casks. 

When Irish whiskey is stored in non-traditional containers like sherry or rum casks, its more subdued and malty flavor really comes through.

Rye whiskey

Rye whiskey has the same manufacturing proofing requirements as Bourbon and must include at least 51% rye, hence the name. 

It is matured to an alcohol by volume below 62.5% and mashed to an alcohol by volume below 80%. Thus, Rye whiskey is noted for reaching peak age more quickly than other whiskeys and being quite inexpensive.

It is characterized by the burst of taste and peppery sharpness that cleanse the palate with each sip and every brand has a unique hint of its own sting.

Scotch whisky

Scotch must be distilled, aged, and bottled in Scotland, and according to Scottish law, it must age for at least three years in oak casks.

Peat, a thick moss that is set on fire to dry out the malted barley used in distillation, gives Scotch its smoky flavor.

Notably, a blended scotch will work best for most cocktails, unless a particular maker or style of scotch is specified in the recipe.

Scotch whisky

Scotch whisky

Japanese whisky

Although Japan hasn't been manufacturing whisky for as long as Scotland, they have a solid international reputation for creating high-quality whisky.

From corn, millet, and rice, Japanese whiskey is distilled using both the patent and pot still technologies.

In fact, Japanese distillers make single malt and blended whiskeys that rival Scotch in quality.

Canadian whisky

Canadian whiskey is created by combining rye, corn, wheat, and malt whiskeys, giving it the grain's delicate, mellow flavor characteristics. 

Canadian Whisky is regarded as the vanilla ice cream of the whiskey world as a result.

Producers are free to combine any cereal grains with any color and flavor they like.

Now that you’ve gone through different types of whiskey, let’s sum up!

7 types of whisky

7 types of whisky

What’s The Difference Between Single Malt and Blended Whisky?

Single malt and blended are 2 types of whiskey in terms of ingredients.

While any type of grain can be used to make a grain whiskey, the primary component of a malt whiskey is malted barley, which germinates before fermentation. 

The primary ways that grains and malts can be mixed in a whiskey are as follows:

Single malt whiskey

Having only one kind of malted grain in it, single malt whiskey is produced by a single distillery. 

If a bottle of single malt whiskey is not a single cask whiskey, it may include whiskey from multiple separate casks.

Blended whiskey

A blended whiskey is a combination of various whiskeys, sometimes made at various distilleries.

One of the most well-known blended whisky in the world is Imperial Blue Whisky - EAN 8901522001334

Imperial Blue Whisky

Imperial Blue Whisky

The immaculate smoothness and straightforwardness of its older sibling are retained with the addition of faintly sweet fruity notes.

The product is the second-largest brand in India's premium blended whiskey industry, selling more than 18 million cases annually.

How To Drink A Whisky?

Suppose you wish to start drinking whiskey but you don't currently do so. Here are some methods for enjoying the goodness of this distillation.

  • On the rocks: It means drinking whiskey with a few ice cubes.

  • Neat: There is no ice in this. One glass of straight bourbon only

  • In a mixed drink: Whiskey is a common ingredient in a variety of delectable cocktails to make good whisky mixers. To balance the bitterness, they are frequently blended with ice and simple syrup or another sweet substance.

There are 3 ways to enjoy whiskey

There are 3 ways to enjoy whiskey

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Is Crown Royal a whiskey?

The blended Canadian whisky brand Crown Royal, commonly known as Seagram's Crown Royal, was developed by Seagram and has been owned by Diageo since 2000.

2. Is bourbon the same as whisky?

The type of grain used and the location of production are the fundamental distinctions between bourbon and whiskey.

Bourbon is an American whiskey that must be matured in brand-new, charred-oak barrels and have a minimum corn content of 51%.

On the other hand, whiskey can be produced anywhere in the world, using a mixture of grains like barley, wheat, corn, or rye.

3. Why can bourbon only be made in America?

Bourbon was designated "America's Native Spirit" by Congress in 1964. For this reason, it must be produced in the United States in order to be termed bourbon.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this helps to clarify some of the biggest misconceptions surrounding the many whiskey varieties. Of course, the only real way to accomplish these 7 types of whiskey is to try them for yourself. Discover your passion and have fun!

Rating: 4.6 - 52Votes

11 Comments

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  1. Darcy Jackson

    Darcy Jackson

    I'm planning on making Smitten Kitchen's jacked-up banana bread - I don't have any bourbon, but I do have J&B scotch and Bulleit 95 Rye. Would this still be complementary, and if so which would be the better of the two?

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    1. Mohan Misra

      Mohan Misra

      Bourbon has a sweetness that the other two don't, but you should be fine with the rye. I'd be careful about the scotch as it tends to have a smokiness you might not want in your banana bread

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    2. Eloise Adams

      Eloise Adams

      I have not had either, but some scotch has a peaty flavor, while rye has a taste that is similar to bourbon. If you like the taste of both, then either is fine.

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    3. Tulsi Subramanian

      Tulsi Subramanian

      Agree with the others - I don't want peaty, smoky banana bread. Go with the rye. Irish or Canadian whisky would also be fine. Again, different flavors, but not too far off

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  2. Amrita Radhakrishnan

    Amrita Radhakrishnan

    Thanks a lot for your awesome work

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    1. Barcodelive

      No worries

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  3. Parker James

    Parker James

    I love scotch. Especially those located around Glenmarangie or JWB/Highland Park 12 on the flavor map or whatever. I’ve genuinely tried to appreciate bourbon but I just don’t. Anything you think I should try?

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    1. Darcy Turner

      Darcy Turner

      Some Japanese whiskey tastes Scotch-y. I liked Nikka from the Barrel.

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    2. Flynn Campbell

      Flynn Campbell

      Two Irish Whiskies you might enjoy are Jameson Crested - smoother and with less 'fire' than regular Jameson - and Connemara Single Malt which is peated like a Scotch but still has an Irish character

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  4. Marlo Gopal

    Marlo Gopal

    I love tea and I love scotch, but haven't ever really explored the classic whisky/tea combo. So what do y'all think the best type of whisky to go with tea is, and what are some specific whisky/tea pairings y'all enjoy? Cheers!

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    1. Elsie Lee

      Elsie Lee

      Elijah Craig is great for hot toddies, I think its sweetness could pair great with tea if you like honey in your tea.

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