Whisky Myths Unveiled – Part 1
Whisky has always intrigued a vast majority of people. Whether it is the different names given to this drink, the different locations where they are manufactured or even how to distinguish the good ones from the not so good whiskys found in the market. Whisky brings curiosity and interest as it is a unique spirit that can be delighted in a variety of different ways. In this new series, we will unveil some myths about whisky in order to help you understand a bit more about this fantastic beverage.
Scotch, Bourbon and Whiskey means all the same
Not exactly. The main difference between these three terms is geographic and their ingredients. Scotch is the whisky made in Scotland, Bourbon is made in the United States, mainly in Kentucky and whiskey is made in Ireland, named Irish whiskey.
Although Bourbon is known as the whisky from the US, Jack Daniels is not named Bourbon but Whisky from Tennessee. The reason for this is due to the production process where Bourbon is a distilled spirit and Tennessee whisky is filtered through a sugar-maple charcoal. The name Bourbon also comes from an area in Kentucky known as Old Bourbon, dedicated to the production of this incredible whisky.
Regarding the ingredients, these also differ. In Scotland, whisky is made from malted barley while in the United States, Bourbon is distilled from corn. This will influence the flavour of the whisky and thus its unique notes and aroma.
Single malt whisky is made by one particular barley harvest
Single malt has nothing to do with the barley harvest. A whisky is called single malt when it is distilled from a single distillery.
Normally a single malt is associated to a Scotch whisky due to the country’s regulations. In Scotland, a single malt is produced from malted barley and distilled using pot stills at a single distillery. The whisky must also be aged for at least 3 years in oak casts with the capacity not exceeding 700 litres.
Nowadays however, you will have single malts from other countries, which might differ slightly from the Scottish process. In the United States, a single malt whisky might have been developed using malted rye rather than malted barley. Other countries will not have the strict regulations that Scotland has, so do not be surprised if there is not much association with the single malt scotch production process.
Only poor quality whiskies are used in cocktails
The answer is no, and this is not only for whiskies but also for any type of spirit. The quality of the spirit will highly influence the quality of the cocktail you are developing.
The variety of whiskeys that you will find in the market will offer you a variety of different aromas and tastes which pair differently with the different cocktail recipes and ingredients.
One of our famous article series is “No Fail – Whisky Cocktail” which gives you a variety of different cocktail recipes with very specific types of whiskeys. Being specific about the type of whisky you should use in a particular cocktail will allow you to understand better which direction to take and which type of whisky you should use.
As mentioned in the myth above, a single malt whisky made in Scotland will use one malted barley, while in the USA, a single malt whisky will use malted rye. The smallest change in the production process, aging, procedures, ingredients and materials will affect the whisky flavour and thus influence the flavour of the cocktail you are developing.