My whiskey journey started 13 years ago when I checked out distilleries near me.
If you're a bartender in London, your best chance to travel expense-free is to win a cocktail competition with a trip to the distillery as the prize. Among them was the Bartender Ball of 2014, where the prize was a trip to Ireland to one of the biggest distilleries in the world. Because of that, I got to learn, taste, and see Irish whiskey production firsthand.
It took me many trips to distilleries in Scotland and Ireland to realize Irish and Scotch whiskeys have a lot in common.
First, they produce the same five styles: Single Malt, Blended Malt, Single Grain, Blended Grain, and Blend Scotch/Irish Whiskey. The Irish also make Single Pot Irish whiskey, which as we previously mentioned, is like single malt but made with malted and unmalted barley. Despite similar production techniques, their flavors are very different, and rightly so.
Using double or triple distillation, pitting of malt, and the region where the whiskey is distilled all play a significant role in whiskey production, but these things are not laws; in fact, we can now find on the market pitted Irish whiskey, triple distilled Scotch whiskey, and Glasgow and the surrounding areas have begun imitating other whiskey profiles and styles usually associated with other geographical locations in Scotland.
This was overwhelming, and I thought that once I had a full understanding of the production, law, and taste of those whisky styles, it would be easier to expand my knowledge of whiskey from around the world. I was wrong.
American whiskey knowledge in bars isn't extensive and is often wrong. I worked with bartenders and managers who said American whiskey was easier to understand. But I was only hearing about Bourbon. Which they often describe as sweet whiskey made from corn and aged in American oak barrels. They were wrong.
I can see how the whole category has been overlooked. The seminars and tastings I attended were often hosted by sales agents and ambassadors who are only trained on how the brand they represent is special, unique, and different. Companies pay their employees to promote their brands and promoting American whiskey and the law behind it is difficult in a two-hour slot. Especially when every type of whiskey in the US has different standards of identity. Even more so when, rather than 6 types of whisky, they have 41.
My book shows how to keep track of all these rules in each group by dividing the style into 6 categories based on the production process.
RYE MALT WHISKY
WHISKY DISTILLED FROM BOURBON MASH
WHISKY DISTILLED FROM RYE MASH
WHISKY DISTILLED FROM WHEAT MASH
WHISKY DISTILLED FROM MALT MASH
WHISKY DISTILLED FROM RYE MALT MASH
STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKY
STRAIGHT RYE WHISKY
STRAIGHT WHEAT WHISKY
STRAIGHT MALT WHISKY
STRAIGHT RYE MALT WHISKY
STRAIGHT CORN WHISKY
A BLEND OF STRAIGHT WHISKIES OR BLENDED STRAIGHT WHISKIES
A BLEND OF STRAIGHT BOURBON WHISKIES OR BLENDED STRAIGHT BOURBON
A BLEND OF STRAIGHT RYE WHISKIES OR BLENDED STRAIGHT RYE WHISKIES
A BLEND OF STRAIGHT WHEAT WHISKIES OR BLENDED STRAIGHT WHEAT WHISKIES
A BLEND OF STRAIGHT MALT WHISKIES OR BLENDED STRAIGHT MALT WHISKIES
A BLEND OF STRAIGHT RYE MALT WHISKIES OR BLENDED STRAIGHT RYE MALT WHISKIES
A BLEND OF STRAIGHT CORN WHISKIES OR BLENDED STRAIGHT CORN WHISKIES
A BLENDED BOURBON WHISKY OR BOURBON WHISKY – A BLEND
BLENDED RYE WHISKY OR RYE WHISKY – A BLEND
BLENDED WHEAT WHISKY OR WHEAT WHISKY – A BLEND
BLENDED MALT WHISKY OR MALT WHISKY – A BLEND
BLENDED RYE MALT WHISKY OR RYE MALT WHISKY – A BLEND
BLENDED CORN WHISKY OR CORN WHISKY – A BLEND
BLENDED WHISKY OR WHISKY – A BLEND
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY OR SCOTCH WHISKY - A BLEND
BLENDED IRISH WHISKY OR IRISH WHISKY – A BLEND
BLENDED CANADIAN WHISKY OR CANADIAN WHISKY – A BLEND
BLENDED LIGHT WHISKY OR LIGHT WHISKY – A BLEND
Are you familiar with them all?
Why does the federal government spell it whiskey (without the "e") but the labels usually spell it whiskey?
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