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Single Malt Scotch Whiskey and More: The Different Types of Whiskey Explained

posted 29 Sept 2010, 04:38 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 29 Sept 2010, 04:41 ]


Whiskey is one of the most distinguished alcoholic beverages
in the world. It's rich history, paired with its intricate
distillation and aging process makes it something that is
celebrated and revered in many different countries and
cultures. However, whiskeys aren't all the same. There are
dozens of different varieties which differ in base product,
alcohol level, and quality. Here is a breakdown of some of
the more common whiskeys, so the next time you're at the
discount liquor store looking for the best single malt
scotch, you have a better understanding of what you're
looking at.

Malt and grain whiskeys are combined in various ways to
produce the following blends and varieties:

-Vatted malt whiskey is blended from malt whiskies that are
usually from different distilleries. If you see a whiskey
with a label reading pure malt, Blended malt, or simply,
malt, it is most likely a vatted whiskey.

-Single malt scotch whiskey is malt whiskey from one, single
distillery and is one of the more highly revered whiskey

-Pure pot still whiskey is a whiskey that is distilled in
much like a single malt, in a pot still, from a mash of
mixed malted and unmalted barley. This type of whiskey is
exclusive to Ireland.

-Blended whiskies are created from a mixture of malt and
grain whiskeys. A whiskey that is labeled as scotch whiskey
or Irish whiskey is most likely a blended whiskey. The term
blend means that it is from many distilleries so that the
maker can create a distinct flavor that is consistent with
the brad.

-Cask strength whiskies are the most rare and usually the
best whiskies are bottle in this fashion. Typically they are
bottled straight from the cask, undiluted. Instead of
diluting the whiskey, the distiller is bidding the consumer
to dilute the whiskey to their desired level of taste. Often
times, many drinkers choose not to dilute single malts and
cask whiskies because they're of such high-quality.
Single-cask whiskeys are typically bottled by independent
bottling specialists. Such names include Duncan Taylor,
Gordon & MacPhail, Cadenhead and many others. There is a
common misconception that whiskies mature in the bottle, but
that simply is untrue. Whiskies mature in the cask and get
their rich flavors and aromas from the barrel. Therefore,
the age of a whiskey refers to the period of time between
the distillation process and the bottling. The age refers to
how much the cask has influenced the whiskey, and how long it
has had to change its chemical makeup and taste.

Hopefully this information will help clear up the
complexities of whiskey and you'll have a much easier time
finding the perfect selection, the next time you're shopping
at the discount liquor store.

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