Whisky or whiskey – which is it? Turns out, the spelling depends on the country of origin. The Scottish call them “whisky” whilst people from Ireland and the USA know it as “whiskey”.
Fancy a whisky, neat?
Originating from Scotland, the USA, Ireland, and Canada with significant wine producers in Japan, India, Australia, and Sweden, the manufacturing process always involves alcohol distilled from a fermented grain mash and then matured in wooden casks. This results in the production of a wide range of styles and qualities depending on the products used at the start, how those are processed, and the distillation and maturation conditions. Read on to discover the varieties of this sophisticated drink.
Scotland is still the undisputed leader in the world of whisky. Leading the way are the famous single malt whiskies originating from a single distillery. Single malt whiskies consist only of malted barley. When produced, the whisky is distilled twice in traditional pot stills. A distinct smoky peat aroma is often typical for single malt whiskies as the barley is usually dried over peat fires following germination. The products from the world-renowned major Scottish brands generally involve blended scotch whisky, which is a mixture of malt and grain whiskies.
Scotch whisky is still the most popular
The Irish also produce theirs either as malt and grain whiskey or as blended whiskies. What they do differently is that the use of peat for drying germinated barley is less common. Additionally the whiskey is distilled thrice, which is why Irish whiskeys generally taste milder than those in neighbouring Scotland.
The most well-known American whiskey is bourbon. In contrast to Europe where the basis of whiskey is barley, 51% of the bourbon mash must comprise of corn.
Storage in barrels made from American oak (the insides of which have usually been lightly toasted over a fire) and the essence of corn is what give bourbon its typical, slightly sweet vanilla aroma. Tennessee whiskey is a particular type of bourbon which is filtered through a thick layer of charcoal.
However, if at least 51% of the grain mix consists of rye, then this is referred to as American rye whiskey. Compared to bourbon, rye whiskey has a spicier and drier taste.
Canadian whisky is also traditionally produced partly from rye. However, although today the proportion of rye is only relatively small, many Canadian whiskies are still referred to as Canadian rye whisky. Canadian whisky generally involves blends which are slightly lighter and brighter than the intensive bourbons from the States.
It may be surprising for many to learn that Japan is also one of the major whisky-producing countries. Yamazaki is the oldest distillery still in existence today and was founded back in 1923 near Kyoto. And, 91 years later, it has finally arrived to take its place among the world’s elite. In 2014, an internationally recognised British expert awarded the distinction of best whisky in the world to Japan for the first time. The “Murray’s Whisky Bible” awarded the highest marks globally to the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 – ahead, even, of the famous traditional whiskies from the USA and Scotland.
If you have always liked your whisky neat, you might want to change your mind. Studies have shown the adding water to whisky can intensify its smell and taste so do give it a go! The Liebherr built-in IceMaker ensures you always have ice on demand, making your whisky-on-the-rocks experience so much better. Check out our full range of Liebherr freezers and look out for those with IceMaker function.