7 FAQs About Whisky That You Need To Know
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If you’re someone who enjoys a drink of whisky poured on ice, or in a cocktail, chances are that you’re not always familiar with the finer details of the spirt. If you’re looking to explore the world of whisky and become a connoisseur, or simply want to know a bit more about your favourite liqueur, here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions.

How Is whisky made?

Whisky has three major components – grain, yeast and water but the process of crafting your favourite tipple is a detailed one. Usually involving a few key steps like malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation, maturation and bottling, the grains are mashed and fermented, and the resulting liquid is distilled to concentrate the alcohol. The whisky is then aged in wooden casks, gaining its unique character and depth from the maturation process.

What is aged whisky?

Once the whisky is distilled, it is stored in wooden barrels – typically oak – in order to let them mature and take on the woody, earthy notes of the storage material. Aged whisky is the product of time since the process refines the whisky, enhancing its flavour basis the duration of ageing, and aficionados often find pleasure in the nuanced notes that develop as the whisky rests in the cask.

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What are the different types of whisky?

Usually named after their place of origin, the distilling process can vary from place to place. Scotch whisky, known for being smoky, comes in single malt and blended varieties whereas the Irish version is triple-distilled and known to be smooth. Bourbon – the American classic, is crafted primarily from corn and aged in charred oak barrels. Rye Whisky, yet another American staple is characterised by its spicier notes, can be made from a mash of at least 51% rye. Japanese whisky often mirrors Scotch traditions and Canadian whisky may include a blend of grains and is often lighter in style.

Is single malt better than blended whisky?

Single malts are whiskies crafted within a single distillery, offering a more consistent taste. In contrast, blended whiskies, as the name implies, incorporate other flavours to achieve a diversified flavour profile. If not executed with precision, the amalgamation of multiple flavours can result in a cacophony of flavours that don’t necessarily mix well.

Should I only drink whisky neat?

The purists would probably say yes, but those rigid traditions are slowly making way for more experimental whisky drinkers. While some prefer to savour it neat to fully appreciate the flavours, others add a splash of water or a few ice cubes to mellow the intensity. If you’re using a brighter whisky, you can even try your hand at some whisky cocktails. Experimentation is encouraged to find the serving method that best suits individual tastes.

Is whisky always better when it’s expensive?

It’s tempting to assume that expensive bottles of whisky are the best but this doesn't always hold in the world of whisky. While some rare and aged expressions can command high prices, there are exceptional whiskies at various price points and it usually comes down to the innovativeness of the distillery and their commitment to quality.

Why are some whiskies smoky?

The smoky flavour in whisky often comes from the use of peat during the malting process. Peat is a type of soil rich in decomposed plant material. When used to dry malted barley, it imparts a distinct smokiness to the grains, which carries through the entire whisky-making process.