Walking into any liquor store, even a liquor store Glendale AZ, to discover a new whiskey can be confusing. The liquor store shelves are lined with bourbon, scotch, scotch-style whisky, Irish whiskey, whiskey liqueurs, and many more. Luckily, these varieties are easy to understand.
To answer the spelling question, both spellings are correct. Whiskey is from the Irish tradition and whisky is from the Scottish tradition. All of these types of whiskey should be available in a liquor store near me. This brief guide will break down common questions and misconceptions about whiskey.
The master distiller at Highland Park gives a good explanation on how to taste whisky.
A Cowboy, an International Businessman, and an Irishman Walk Into a Bar…
The primary categories of whiskey are bourbon, scotch, and Irish whiskey. Each of these whiskies have distinct personalities. The cowboy is one of the most iconic figures in the United States. Bourbon is the iconic spirit in the United States. Scotch is perceived as sophisticated and mature. The first distilled drink referred to as “whiskey” was Irish whiskey.
Bourbon Whiskey – the Cowboy
Like the rough-riding cowboy, bourbon is a little rougher than its cousins in the whiskey world. Bourbon can be made anywhere in the United States. It can be found in any liquor store near me. Corn must make up at least 51% of the grain bill, or what grains come together to make the whiskey. As a result of corn’s higher sugar content, bourbon is often sweeter than scotch or Irish whiskey. For a whiskey to be called bourbon, it must also be aged in new oak barrels that are charred on the inside. That means a fire is lit that burns the inside of the new oak barrel. This is where bourbon’s marshmallow tastes come from. Bourbon of all varieties are available in any liquor store Glendale AZ.
Scotch – the International Business Man
Movies portray scotch as the whisky of the urbane. Scotch is made from barley and has a heavy, smoky flavor. This smoky taste comes from burning peat, cut from peat bogs in Scotland. Scotch can only be made in Scotland, but there are other parts of the world that make “Scotch-style” whiskies. Japanese whisky is a notable example of scotch-style whisky, as Japanese whisky has consistently won whisky quality awards. In the whisky family, scotch is the suave and sophisticated international business person.
Scotland experiences a more mild climate with less temperature variation than a region like Kentucky in the United States. This means that scotch often benefits for much longer aging periods than bourbon. This is also why it is common to see scotch that is aged 12, 18, and even 22 years. Scotch is often made using a Coffey still that is able to distill at a constant rate. Of course, scotch can also be made in batches using a pot still. For a good history of a scotch brand, check out this commercial starring Robert Carlyle.
Irish Whiskey – the Irishman
As the first beverage to be called “whiskey,” Irish whiskey as it is today tastes a lot different than those first whiskies. The first Irish whiskies were made from anything those early distillers could find, even including carrots and kitchen scraps. Now, Irish whiskey is traditionally made from barley. All whiskey usually contains at least a small amount of barley because barley malt assists fermentation.
Irish whiskey is usually distilled using pot stills in batches. This takes more time and is more expensive but it does impart a distinct taste and mouthfeel. Like all whiskey, Irish whiskey needs to be aged for at least two years. Many irish whiskey varieties are available in liquor store Glendale AZ.
What About the Rest?
It is a new era in whiskey — there is lots of experimentation. Only 100 years ago, it was impossible to find legally distilled whiskey due to the Prohibition. The categories above are general guidelines, and whiskey is blurring the lines more and more often. There are many phrases on labels, but it can be difficult to understand what they mean. Here is a list to help understand what some of these mean along with a simple example:
- Blended: there is more than one whiskey in this bottle.. A non-whiskey example would be mixing two sodas like root beer and Dr. Pepper to make a new soda.
- Single batch: whiskey from this bottle are single, and is not blended. It is like a loaf of bread — it was made in a batch and is not mixed with another loaf of bread.
- Whiskey liqueur: this is a spirit that is inspired by whiskey. One way of thinking about whiskey liqueur is a movie inspired by a book. The movie may be fantastic, but it is not the same as the book.
Whiskey: Not That Hard
There is no single best whiskey (or whisky) — that is all up to the person enjoying it. Whiskey can be enjoyed on the rocks, neat, or in a cocktail. To try any of these, search for a liquor store near me.