Do you know anything about whiskey?
Good question! Technically, it is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. This mash is typically aged in wooden casks, which gives it that distinct brown color and taste. Popular whiskey brands include Jack Daniel’s, Maker’s Mark, Glenmorangie, Bulleit, Johnnie Walker, and The Macallan.
How does whiskey become bourbon?
For a whiskey to be considered bourbon, the mixture of grains from which the product is distilled (the mash) must be, at least, 51% corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain. On top of that, the mixture must be stored in charred oak containers and cannot contain any additives. That law pretty much separates bourbon from everything else.
Tastes like: Its main characteristic is its sweetness, but it’s also a bit smoky due to the charred oak. Why do you think that bourbon is our favorite here at 46? Goes perfectly with our smokey delights from Hotbox!
Brands you should know: Wild Turkey, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, and our favorite Elijah Craig!
What about Scotch?
Scotch is technically whiskey that has been distilled and matured in Scotland. It is made mostly from malted barley – remember, bourbon is made from corn. Scotch, in layman’s terms, tastes a lot like bourbon, but with a trademark “bite” dragging along the back of your tasting. This is the reason some people stay away from Scotch, but for others, it’s an acquired taste that only makes the experience richer. One thing’s for sure: amateurs should not start with Scotch.
Tastes like: Rubber, wood, fire, dirt, and leather.
Brands you should know: Cutty Sark, Glenlivet, Johnnie Walker, Macallan.
Rye whiskey, like its name suggests, is a whiskey that is distilled from at least 51% rye.
What is rye? Rye is a type of grass that is a member of the wheat tribe and closely related to barley.
Tastes like: A spicy, grainy, hard-edged version of bourbon.
Brands you should know: Journeyman Ravenswood, Van Winkle Family Reserve.
Let’s talk about Irish whiskey!
Whereas most Scottish whiskey is distilled twice, Irish whiskey goes through three rounds of distillation before it’s bottled. Compared to Scotch, Irish whiskey uses a lot of barley and doesn’t have that smoky, burnt-rubber taste that you’ll find from the peat that’s in Scotch. Funny fact? Legally, Irish whiskey must be aged in Ireland for at least three years in wooden casks to be considered whiskey!
Tastes like: Very, very smooth and less sweet than most American bourbons. Great for cocktails!
Brands you should know: Jameson, Midleton, Green Spot.
White whiskey? Moonshine ring any bell?
The term “moonshine” is slang for quickly distilled un-aged corn mash and, according to Wikipedia, “is derived from the term ‘ moonrakers ‘ used for early English smugglers and the clandestine, by the light of the moon nature of the operation. So, technically,
when you see whiskey labeled “moonshine” in stores, it’s really just white whiskey,
because “moonshine” refers to illegal hooch made at home. This stuff is only white because it hasn’t seen the inside of a wooden cask.
Tastes like: Whiskey-flavored vodka.
Brands you should know: Hudson NY Corn Whiskey, Bully Boy, Buffalo Trace White Dog.
Whiskey from the country of the rising sun?
Yes, Sir. Japanese Whiskey is a must-try! Japanese whiskey is a treat. This is because Suntory’s first master distiller Masataka Taketsuru studied in Scotland and came to love the taste of Scottish whiskey. The biggest Japanese whiskey producers are Suntory and Nikka. You can’t really pin Japanese whiskey down to a specific style, but it’s generally Scotchy.
Tastes like: Scotch, sort of, they all taste like relaxing times.
Brands you should know: Suntory, Nikka.
So now that you know much better this cerealy, creamy, dark, grassy, harsh, herbal, hot, malty, mouth-coating, nutty, oaky, orangey, citrus, peaty, peppery, salty, smoky, spicy, woody and winey drink… go and indulge yourself in the whiskey world!