All About The Whisky's Origins, Types And Maturing Process
Image Credit: Freepik

Whiskey is a classic drink known for its distinct roots, which have been the reason for its fame and love. It is originally from Scotland but has made its home around the globe. The family tree of whiskey is a bit tricky to understand. Some may not know that Bourbon is a type of whisky, for example. Beyond the popular Scotch and Bourbon varieties, there are several other major types of whisky to explore.

Scotch whisky hails from Scotland and is often aged in oak barrels for years, resulting in a smooth, smoky flavour profile. Irish whisky also features smoky, earthy flavours thanks to barley drying techniques but tends to be lighter and fruitier than Scotch. European whiskies like those from France and Germany offer floral, spicy tastes.

With an array of whisky types and styles to explore, from Scotland to Japan, there is a dram for every palate. The key is trying a few to unlock your perfect whisky match.

Top 7 Whisky Varieties You Must Know About


Scotch whisky gets its distinctive flavour from the land and climate of Scotland. It starts in the field of barley. First, it is malted and dried over peat fires, giving the barley an earthy, smokey flavour. Then, the malted barley is mashed and fermented, similar to a beer-like wash. This wash is distilled in copper pot stills, where the clear spirit takes on subtle flavours from the stills. By law, Scotch must be aged for at least 3 years in oak casks, often old sherry or bourbon barrels. As it rests in the cask, the spirit interacts with the wood, drawing out tannins, vanilla, and spicy notes. The final flavour profile is determined by the region, distillery practices, and cask type. 

Image credit: Freepik


Having a centuries-old history Irish whiskey has the 1st written record of distillation in Ireland, dating back to 1405. A spirit is called Irish Whiskey only when it is distilled and aged for 3 years in Ireland. The process begins by malting barley, which involves soaking the grain in water to allow it to germinate. The malted barley is then dried in kilns and ground into grist. This grist is combined with other grains, like corn or wheat, and water to create the mash. The mash is fermented, distilled three times in copper pot stills, and finally aged in wooden casks, often old bourbon or sherry casks. As the whiskey matures, it takes on signature characteristics from the wood, becoming smoother and more complex. The result is a warm, mellow whiskey with hints of spice and vanilla.

Image credit: Freepik


A recent addition to the global whiskey market, European whiskey has gained fame quite rapidly. The process is pretty similar to Scotch or Irish whiskey, with a few key differences. 

Starting with grain grown locally, like wheat, rye, or barley, which is then malted, mashed, and fermented. The wash is then distilled, into pot stills to achieve the desired smoothness and character. European whiskies can be aged for shorter periods in various barrels, adding distinctive notes. The diverse climates across Europe impart nuances from the local environment. Italy's Puni, Germany's Aureum, and Sweden's Mackmyra exemplify the range of complex, intriguing flavours European distilleries craft through their innovative production methods and maturing processes. 

Image credit: Freepik


Made exclusively in the state of Tennessee, this whiskey has a touch of a unique style of American whiskey. Similar to bourbon, Tennessee whiskey is distinguished by its extra maturing process. After initial distillation, the spirit is filtered through thick slabs of sugar maple charcoal before ageing. This "Lincoln County Process" mellows the whiskey and removes impurities, resulting in a cleaner, smoother flavour. The spirit must contain at least 51% corn in the mashbill and be aged in new, charred white oak barrels. This barrel ageing imparts notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak. However, the signature mellowing through sugar maple charcoal gives Tennessee whiskey a more refined character than bourbon's boldness. 

Image credit: Freepik


Bourbon whiskey has a history in Kentucky dating back to the late 1700s. The spirit's name comes from Bourbon County, where distillers first crafted the corn-based liquor. By law, bourbon mash must contain at least 51% corn and grains like rye or wheat. After distilling, the clear whiskey is aged in charred new oak barrels, which impart a rich amber colour and signature vanilla and caramel flavours. Bourbon must be aged at least two years before being bottled at no more than 125 proof. While modern techniques are used today, bourbon still follows traditional Kentucky methods, from mashing to maturation, to produce its smooth, complex taste that whiskey enthusiasts cherish.

Image credit: Freepik


Dating back to the 1700s, American rye whiskey has a long history when immigrants from Scotland and Ireland brought distilling knowledge to America. The whiskey is made from a mash containing at least 51% rye grain which gives it a distinctive spicy, peppery taste. 

Image credit: Freepik

The whiskey is aged in charred oak barrels for at least 2 years, adding flavours like vanilla, caramel, and oak. Rye whiskey has a bold, dry flavour that stands up well in cocktails like the Manhattan and Old Fashioned. When sipped straight, the complex flavours of fresh grain, warm spices and oak reflect the care and tradition that goes into making quality American rye whiskey.


Japanese whisky started in 1934, with the opening of the Yamazaki distillery. Japanese distillers crafted a spirit similar to Scotch, following the Scotch model of using pot stills and ageing in oak barrels, but with their own delicate and subtle style. The whisky is aged for over a decade in various cask types like sherry, bourbon, and Japanese oak to develop complexity. Due to its growing global popularity, Japanese whisky stocks have dropped as distillers struggle to meet demand. However, this has also led them to focus on expanding capacity. In its short history, Japanese whisky has become known for achieving a refined balance of subtlety and complexity.

Image credit: Freepik

With origins in Scotland and Ireland, whiskey has expanded across the globe, evolving into distinct regional styles that reflect local cultures and innovations. While the types vary, all quality whiskies share a common foundation of malted grains, distillation, and oak barrel aging that imparts complexity. With so many unique flavours to discover, whiskey continues to be an intriguing drink that brings people together through a shared passion.