In the pursuit of the art of genting, it is important to have a basic understanding of any and all things that interest you. More so than not, most men tend not to know the basic difference between scotch, whiskey and bourbon. In this piece, we will give you a basic understanding of the difference, without going into too much detail. Should you wish to learn more, there is this thing called google that yields plenty of information on any topic you wish to learn about.
What is Whiskey or Whisky?
First, the spelling varies based on geographic location. Either way you spell it, it is correct. A whisky is composed of primarily of grain mash. Mashing is the process of hot water steeping that converts grains to a fermented sugar. Whisky’s are aged in Oak barrels without a specific maturation date. You can age from one year on. The grains used can be a mix of barley, wheat, corn or rye. Whisky’s can come from many geographic origins.
VK’s top choice: Hibiki, 17 years, neat
What is a Scotch?
Scotch comes from Scotland. There are 5 main regions that produce scotch. From the Lowlands to Speyside to Islay, each region offers a distinct taste. Scotch must be aged for a minimum of three years and is made primarily of malted barley. Aside from the caramel colouring, there are very few additives. The first written mention of Scotch whisky is in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, 1495. (Bender, 2005, p. 556) A friar named John Cor was the distiller at Lindores Abbey (the home of Scotch whisky) in the Kingdom of Fife.
VK’s top choice: Dalwhinnie, 15 years, neat
What is the difference between single malt and blended?
Most of us have been led to believe that single malt scotch comes from one batch, one barrel made with one particular yield of malted barley. Sorry, this is incorrect because that would be “Single barrel” scotch. What single malt basically means is that the scotches you are drinking are all from the same distillery. This allows the producer to keep a consistent taste to the end product. In single barrel scotches, each barrel would naturally yield a different tasting product.
VK’s top choice (blended): Royal Salute, 21 years, one cube of ice
What is Bourbon?
Bourbon is a by product of grain mash where the primary grain is corn (51%). There are no minimum aging requirements and it can be made anywhere. Once upon a time, the connoisseur would turn his nose to anyone that would offer bourbon. However, today, bourbons have a come a long way and are very enjoyable.
VK’s top choice: Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel, two cubes of ice