Wednesday, May 15, 2024

What Grain Is Scotch Whiskey Made From

They Have Different Abv Requirements

How Scotch Whisky is Made From Grain to Glass

Bourbon must be distilled to no more than 80 percent alcohol and be no more than 62.5 percent when put into casks for aging in new charred oak barrels. Scotch, however, must have an ABV of less than 94.8 percent and is aged in used oak barrels, including those that previously stored Sherry, beer and, yes, bourbon.

Popular Scotch And Whiskey Cocktails

Lets get to some examples of cocktails! Of course, you can drink Scotch or whiskey straight up. But we prefer it mixed into drinks! Keep in mind, Scotch cocktails are considered whiskey cocktails because its a type of whiskey, but not all whiskey cocktails are Scotch cocktails. In fact, if a cocktail calls for whiskey, we dont recommend using a Scotch unless the recipe specifically calls for it. Scotch has a very distinct flavor and its usually called for specifically in a cocktail recipe.

Japanese Grain Whisky Takes The Lead

A lot is going on in Japan with Grain Whisky, and Suntory is currently producing it at the Chita Distillery. The product from here mostly goes into their Chita range. The country is currently seeing a shortage of Malt Whisky, and as such, Grain Whisky has had to pick up some of the slack. Suntory is experimenting with Grain to see what flavor profiles they can build. They are using different casks for maturation and trying out different strengths to see what they get.

The grains they are focussing on include wheat, rye, and corn. Check out any of their recent releases, including Hibiki Harmony, to understand their beautifully balanced blends. Japan is undoubtedly leading the trend where Grain Whisky is concerned, but other distilleries worldwide are closely following.

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Bourbon Is Whiskey Scotch Is Whisky

The whiskey spelling is used for American and Irish spirits, including bourbon. Conversely, whisky is used by the rest of the world, including Europe, Australia, Japan and, of course, Scotland. Regardless of spelling, all whiskey or whisky must be distilled to a minimum of 40 percent and a maximum of 94.8 percent alcohol by volume .

Why Is Canadian Whisky Called/labelled Rye

Loch Lomond Single Grain Scotch Whisky made from malted barley

Along the way, someone decided to spice up their whisky by adding a small amount of rye grain to it and a distinctly Canadian whisky style was born. This tangy new whisky packed more flavour than common wheat whisky and almost everyone preferred it. Customers started demanding rye wheat whisky with a small amount of rye grain added. Eventually, the word rye entered the Canadian lexicon as a synonym for whisky.

But, as soon as rough land became tilled fields, farmers switched from rye to more bountiful wheat, and eventually in the 1950s corn, there was less rye grown and thus, distillers stopped using rye grain, except in small amounts for flavouring.

When corn is fermented it produces large amounts of alcohol. 14% alcohol is the norm in a corn mash but often it goes higher. Rye on the other hand produces in the range of 8% alcohol, often less than that. So a mash of 51% rye and 49% corn is still producing a lot more corn whisky than it is rye. Thus, Canadian distillers who blend at the liquid stage rather than as dry grain get proportionally more impact from the rye grain they use. Canadian distillers buy 320,000 metric tons of corn annually and are the 4th largest buyer of Ontario corn.

The next time you head out to purchase whisky, look for a Canadian rye whisky. This type of whisky uses Ontario grains like corn, wheat and barley

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They Come From Different Places

Contrary to popular belief, bourbon can be made outside of Kentucky. However, to legally qualify as bourbon, it must be made in the United States. Simlarly, in order for a whisky to be called Scotch, it must be made in Scotland. Japanese whisky, for example, is similar to Scotch in many ways. But it’s not Scotch, because it’s made in Japan.

Whats The Difference Between Scotch Irish Whisky And Bourbon

Have you ever fumbled over a bar menu, wondering what whisky will be better in your cocktail? Or wondered why some are spelled whisky and others, whiskey? This quick cheat sheet will help you sail through an evening without worrying about getting your spirits mixed up.

To simplify things for you: the name of the spirit is based on factors such as the type of cereal grain used in the distilling process as well as how and where it was produced. And about that e, whiskey’ is used in the US and in Ireland, whereas it’s plain, ol’ whisky in Scotland, Canada and other parts of the world.

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How To Enjoy Whiskey

Whiskey is a versatile beverage that can be enjoyed in many ways.

Most people drink whiskey straight or neat, which means by itself. Its typically recommended to drink whiskey this way at first to get a better idea of its flavor and aroma.

That said, adding a splash of water can help bring out its more subtle flavours. Additionally, you can drink whiskey with ice, commonly known as on the rocks.

If you dont like whiskeys taste by itself, you can try it in a cocktail.

Here are some popular whiskey cocktails:

  • Old Fashioned. This cocktail is made from a combination of whiskey, bitters, sugar, and water.
  • Manhattan. Made from a combination of rye or bourbon whiskey, bitters, and sweet vermouth , a Manhattan is typically served with cherries.
  • Classic highball. This drink is made from any style of whiskey, ice cubes, and ginger ale.
  • Mint julep. Typically served at derbies, a mint julep is made from a combination of bourbon whiskey, sugar , mint leaves, and crushed ice.
  • Whiskey sour. This cocktail is made from a combination of bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Its commonly served with ice and cherries.
  • John Collins. Made similarly to a whiskey sour, this drink also contains club soda.

Keep in mind that many of these drinks contain added sugars and can pack a lot of calories. Like any alcoholic or sweetened beverage, its best to enjoy these drinks sparingly.

What Is The Difference Between Whiskey And Whisky

How Scotch Whisky is Made – Part 2 Grain Whisky

There is a difference between whiskey and whisky beside the spelling. The barrel type is a key differentiator from bourbon, which must age on new oak barrels. Scotch can be aged on used barrels, many of which come from bourbon country. In Scotland, there are 22 million or more barrels maturing, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.

The final product that goes into a bottle must be 40% ABV or higher.

Many Scotch aficionados will highlight their favorite regions, which can produce unique whiskies to their area of Scotland. Particularly popular regions include Islay and Speyside. With more than 100 Scotch distilleries in Scotland, there are five main types of whisky.

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We Love All Kinds Of Whiskey

Whiskey is a spirit made from grain, distilled at a proof lower than 190 and usually matured in oak casks.

Now onto the different types of whiskey. Here are the ones youll encounter most of the time:

  • Bourbon: Whiskey made in America from 51% or more corn, and aged for any amount of time in new, charred, oak barrels.
  • Rye: Made just like bourbon, but contains 51% or more of rye.
  • Malt Whiskey: Made just like bourbon, but with 51% or more of malted barley as an ingredient.
  • Scotch: Whisky made in Scotland from 100% malted barley. Usually aged in used barrels for at least 3 years.
  • Irish: Whiskey made in Ireland made from malted barley and other ingredients.
  • Canadian: Whiskey made in Canada from any grain and aged in oak for at least 3 years.

They Have Different Flavors

While both can have smokey, charred notes, Scotch and bourbon develop these traits through different means. Bourbon draws its oaky, vanilla-like flavors from the charred surface of the barrels in which it ages, whereas Scotch’s smoke comes largely from peat burned in the barley malting process. Keep in mind though that not all scotches have a peaty flavor. In fact, only two of the five Scotch producing regions are known for that signature peatiness.

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What Exactly Makes A Scotch Single Malt Single Grain Or A Blend

Whisky is a complex spirit. The array of differing classifications and rules that each type of whisky must satisfy means that no two bottles are ever the same. Previously, we have explored the differences between scotch and bourbon, but this time we will be diving deeper into the differing forms in which scotch can come. Scotch whisky can come as a single malt, a single grain and most commonly as a blend. These can often be confusing, and so in this post we will outline what exactly makes a scotch single malt, single grain or a blend.

Scotch Vs Whiskey: Whats The Difference

Loch Lomond Single Grain Scotch Whisky made from malted barley

Alright, lets break it down. Whats Scotch and whats whiskey? Is it spelled whiskey or whisky? Heres a quick bulleted breakdown of what you need to know:

  • Whiskey is a family of distilled liquor made by fermenting grain mash: wheat, rye, barley or corn. Its then aged in wooden barrels, usually made of oak.
  • There are many types of whiskey based on country and style of production. Some popular types of whiskey are Bourbon , Rye whiskey , Irish whiskey, Scotch, aka Scotch whisky, and Japanese whisky.
  • Whiskey is the correct spelling for American and Irish-made whiskey, and whisky is the spelling for the Canadian, Japanese, and Scottish-made versions.
  • Scotch is whisky made in Scotland from either barley or a mix of grains. There are several types of Scotch, but the most common types youll hear of are:
  • Single malt Scotch is a whisky thats from one distillery from a mash of malted barley.
  • Blended Scotch is made by blending two types of whisky: barrel-aged malt whisky and grain whisky.

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Differences Between Malt And Grain Whisky

To be known as Scotch whisky, a mash of cereals, water and yeast must be distilled and matured in Scotland for a minimum of three years in oak casks.

There are two main types of whisky produced in Scotland: malt whisky and grain whisky. All whisky begins its life as the product of a single distillery so these products are known as single malt or single grain.

Single malt whisky is made in a traditional batch process using a copper pot still. According to the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009, to be classifed as a Single Malt Scotch Whisky it must be “produced from only water and malted barley at a single distillery by batch distillation in pot stills”.

Single malt is the premium, traditional style of whisky, but the artisanal manner of its production is not easily scaled.

The production of single grain whisky is very different. Unlike single malt, it can be produced from a variety of different grains or cereal types, either malted or unmalted. Single grain whisky is also made continuously via a modern column still, on an industrial scale. The output is purer in alcohol, but with much less flavour and character than a single malt.

The overwhelming majority of Scotch whisky consists of malt and grain whiskies mixed together to make a product known as blended Scotch whisky.

More grain whisky is produced than malt but far fewer distilleries make it

Various Whiskey And Their Manufacturing Items

Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage made from malt, fermentation, and grain. Different whiskeys making uses various ingredients, which are barley, corn, rye, and wheat. These ingredients went through the process of malting.

Wooden barrels are where you can store the whiskey for an extended period, but you have to make sure that it should be made of charred white oak. Not everyone can drink whiskey as it is an alcohol brand, so there are restrictions worldwide to drink a different whiskey. Age limit is one of the main factors in this.

The second thing is class. There are types of people belonging to different categories, and not all are allowed to drink every kind of whiskey. One of the main factors in this is the pricing. Some whiskeys which are well aged and well fermented with genuine grains will cost you so high that an average person will not be able to buy it.

There are various brands to make low price whiskeys so that everyone can drink them. There are whiskeys which are made in different countries, and from other ingredients, some of them are Scotch whiskey, Irish whiskey, wheat grain whiskey, malt whiskey, and rye whiskey.

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Whats The Difference Between Scotch Whiskey And Bourbon

This might be common knowledge for some, but it’s worth a refresher before you go out and buy a bottle. Let’s start with a burning question we answered back in 2008: what makes a whiskey bourbon?

The law. While knocking back a dram of bourbon is a decidedly carefree exercise, making it is exceedingly technical and requires that the whiskey meet a rigid set of criteria. The Federal Standards of Identity for Bourbon stipulate what is and what isnt bourbon. For a whiskey to call itself bourbon, its mash, the mixture of grains from which the product is distilled, must contain at least 51% corn. The mash must be distilled at 160 proof or less, put into the barrel at 125 proof or less, and it must not contain any additives. The distillate must be aged in a new charred oak barrel. If you distill a whiskey in your kitchen that meets all of these standards, congrats, youve made bourbon. Also, youve broken the law the ATF is probably outside your house right now.

The main difference between scotch and whiskey is geographic, but also ingredients and spellings. Scotch is whisky made in Scotland, while bourbon is whiskey made in the U.S.A, generally Kentucky. Scotch is made mostly from malted barley, while bourbon is distilled from corn. If youre in England and ask for a whisky, youll get Scotch. But in Ireland, youll get Irish whiskey .

Scotch Whisky Cereals Technical Note: 4th Edition


Scotch Malt Whisky must use 100% malted barley and be distilled in a pot still. Preferred barley varieties are those which produce high alcohol yield, easy and consistent processing, no glycosidic nitrile and high enzymes for grain distilling malts. Barley for pot distilling requires a high starch content . A nitrogen level of about 1.5% in the barley is considered optimum and will be the maltsters target, if the crop quality allows. Malt specifications are agreed upon by distillers and maltsters on an individual basis and are subject to change as a result of commercial trading issues, availability and harvest quality.

Grain Scotch Whisky is normally made from unmalted cereals with the addition of around 10 % high DP malted barley and is typically distilled in a continuous column still. High DP barley will normally exceed 1.80 % nitrogen to achieve the required level of enzyme activity for conversion of the whole mash to fermentable sugars. Grain whisky is most commonly used as a component part of blended Scotch Whisky, which accounts for around 90% of all Scotch Whisky sales.

Sustainability has increasingly become a major consideration for distillers for both grain and malt distilling. The Scotch Whisky industry, supported by the SWA, has adopted a comprehensive Environmental Strategy with a view to reducing progressively the impact Scotch Whisky companies and their supply chain have on the environment.

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New Traditions In Scotland

Scotland has distilleries like Loch Lomond and Girvan that are paving the way for a new category of Scotch Grain Whisky.These distilleries are bottling Grain Whisky that is of high quality and well matured and is a definite threat to Single Malt.

Loch Lomond is producing Grain Whisky that has won awards and is well known for its smoothness and distinct light-bodied qualities. This being the first distillery in Scotland to produce both Grain and Malt at the same time, it is only fitting that its Grain Whisky is a challenge to the Malt throne.

They’re Made With Different Ingredients

The U.S. government has very strict regulations for bourbon, one of which is that bourbon whiskey must be made from a grain mixture of at least 51 percent corn. The rest is usually a mix of malted barley, rye and wheat. Scotch whisky, on the other hand, must be made from malted barley, which is Scotchs primary ingredient, along with water and yeast. Scotch producers are permitted to include other whole cereal grains for coloring.

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Grain Whisky Is Actually An Essential Part Of Blended Scotch

When you think of blended Scotch whisky, your mind likely drifts to the big smoky malts that define the blend. You probably dont think about the grain whiskies in the bottle, which are made with a mix of cereal grains rather than solely malted barley. But those grain whiskies are a large reason why Scotch whisky has the influence it does and is consumed all around the world.

To understand why, its easiest to start at the beginning. Scotch whisky blends are made up of single malt whisky and grain whisky. Single malt whisky is made from 100 percent malted barley at a single distillery in copper pot stills. Each distillery has its own character, whether its fruity notes, creamy notes, or smoky notes.

Grain whisky, on the other hand, is made from a mix of cereal grains thats distilled in a continuous still. A continuous still is the same type of still used to make vodka and gin. It strips a lot of the flavor out of the liquid, but its also faster and cheaper to make. Scotch grain whisky retains some sweet notes of toffee and butterscotch to it, but its generally on the lighter side.


So next time you take a sip of a blended Scotch whisky, take a moment to appreciate the grain in the mix. Without it, theres a good chance you wouldnt have that whisky in your hand.

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