You've probably heard of it a lot and may even routinely sip on your favourite whiskey. However, how well do you believe you understand Ireland's national beverage? Let's explore whiskey from the ground up and discover everything there is to know about it.
Among the most widely consumed alcoholic beverages worldwide are the seven primary varieties, which include whiskey, gin, rum, tequila, wine, beer, and vodka. However, are you truly aware of what whiskey is beyond that? Although it contains alcohol, what else is there? You might be astonished by how little you know about whiskey, regardless of whether you've never taken a taste and want to start or are an experienced drinker.
In order to really enjoy this delectable spirit, here are a few basic facts about whisky that you should know.
What Is Whiskey?
Whiskey, which is frequently written "whisky," is an amber-coloured liquor that is stored in wooden barrels, typically made of white oak, after being distilled from fermented cereal grains known as "mash." Rye, wheat, corn, and barley are common cereals.
The location of the production determines the spelling variation. Whiskey is spelled with an 'e' in America and Ireland. Scotland, Japan, and Canada spell whisky (without the "e"). You can remember it since the names of the nations that spell it with an "e" have an "e" in them, and the ones that don't don't have an "e."
What Does It Taste Like?
Whiskey is a very versatile spirit that is infused with a wide range of regional tastes and flavours. Essentially, whiskey is matured in oak barrels after being produced from grain, usually corn, barley, wheat, and rye. In addition to the typical woody and toasty flavours of whiskey, caramel and vanilla notes and flavours are highly appreciated in whiskey.
How Is Whiskey Made?
Though the overall procedure for producing whiskey is pretty uniform, several aspects are dependent on the style and the nation of origin.
Every variety begins as a raw grain, whether it's bourbon, Scotch, whiskey, or something entirely else entirely. Extracting all of the sugars from the grain is a prerequisite to fermentation. By mashing, this is accomplished. Upon receiving the grains, the distiller will place them in a huge tank filled with boiling water.
Once stirred, the mixture becomes mash or wort, a porridge-like consistency. It's ready for the fermentation step once the maximum amount of sugar has been extracted. Any residual sugars are converted to alcohol during fermentation, which happens when yeast is added to the mash or wort.
Large vats are used for the process, which lasts between 48 and 96 hours. After that, it is sent to a copper still for the distillation process. Pot stills and column stills are the most commonly used still types, although they are employed in numerous circumstances. The batch method of pot distillation is most frequently applied to malt whiskey. Bourbon, rye, and other American whiskies are usually made in column stills, which operate constantly to eliminate the need for a batch procedure.
The History Of Whiskey
A popular liquor made from malted barley, whiskey is sometimes referred to as the "water of life." It is claimed to have originated in the mediaeval Irish monasteries. It is challenging to pinpoint the precise beginnings of whiskey, though, as several studies have varying views. Some even contend that the Babylonians of Mesopotamia were the first to learn the craft of distillation as early as the 2nd millennium BC.
It is known that distillation made its way to Scotland and Ireland in the fifteenth century. It was mostly used for medical purposes, especially to cure outbreaks like smallpox. The aristocracy of the era, especially King Henry VIII of England and James IV of Scotland, began to enjoy whiskey as a beverage rather than only as a medicine, and by 1608, the Old Bushmill's Distillery in Northern Ireland was granted a licence to produce whiskey. Unfortunately, whiskey was labelled as moonshine once the English Malt Tax was implemented in 1725, which led to the closure or underground operation of several Irish distilleries.
Whiskey Vs. Bourbon
Whiskies come in several varieties, all of which are unique based on the methods used for malting, mixing, and ageing them, as well as the location of their production.
Just one malt Pot stills are the traditional method of distilling Scotch whiskey, which is created only from malted barley. It takes more than three years for Scotch whiskey to develop in oak barrels; fresh casks are never used.
However, American whisky sometimes referred to as bourbon and often spelled whisky, can only be aged in fresh American oak barrels. A contemporary column is still often used to distil the spirit, which is made from grains and must include at least 51% corn.
What Is Finished Whiskey?
A lot of whiskies are matured for the whole ageing process in a single barrel. However, during the ageing process, some whiskies switch out their barrels, allowing the whiskey to become "finished" with flavours from a different wood.
Depending on the flavour profile they wish for their whiskies, distillers might add other flavours and ingredients to their finished whiskies. Comparing these finished whiskies to typical single-barrel whiskies, they can be more diverse and sophisticated.