1. What is whisky?
Whisky (or whiskey) is a distilled spirit made from fermented grain mash. A variety of grains can be used, such as rye, corn, wheat and barley, aged in wooden barrels.
2. What kinds of whiskeys are there?
There can be many ways to prepare a single type of whisky, including single malt, blended malt, cask strength, and single cask. Many countries have their own type of whiskey, and their exploration is encouraged.
However, usually when this question is asked of us, it means to include the particular kinds of whiskey made in the U.S. Here are a few examples:
Bourbon – mash contains primarily corn, aged 4-9 years in white oak barrels.
Rye whiskey – mash contains primarily rye, mixed with corn and barley.
Corn whiskey – mash contains primarily corn, based on American moonshine.
3. What is Scotch whisky?
First of all, it comes from Scotland. Scotch whisky, or scotch, is made from barley mash and aged for a minimum of three years in oak casks by one of Scotland’s licensed distilleries.
4. What is a single malt?
A single malt Scotch means that all the malted barley is distilled at one location. Blended Scotches use distillations from multiple sources.
5. What does the age marking on Scotch mean?
Single malt Scotch will often be marked with an age. A 12 year whisky means all the malts in the bottle have been aged for a minimum of 12 years.
6. What are the most prominent Scotch-producing regions?
There are six principal Scotch-producing regions in the country: Lowlands, Highlands, Islay, Campbelltown, Speyside, and the Western Islands (Jura, Mull, and Skye). Please note the useful map for easy reference.
7. How do you drink single malt Scotch?
With respect. Not like beer. Not in cocktails. Not by the gulp. Certainly not with ice. Or soda. It is expensive and complex, meant to be savored. For specific tasting methods, go HERE.
8. Are there fine single malts produced outside of Scotland?
Yes, the few and the proud. Many countries sought to create Scotch-style whisky on their own soil. Many of them failed. However, some distillers learned to harness the beauty and individuality of their own native resources to produce some very fine whiskeys. We will even discuss some of them here – all are welcome at our table, but only the truly worthy are invited back again.
Feel free to write your own questions to us via the Contact Us page or the comments below and we’ll try to answer them here!