Monday, May 27, 2024

What Makes Scotch Whiskey Scotch

They Come From Different Places

How Scotch Whisky is Made From Grain to Glass

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.

Scotch Vs Whiskey: Whats The Difference

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.

Is Tennessee Whiskey Just Bourbon With A Different Name

Glad you asked. First and foremost, the biggest difference between these two whiskeys is location. Tennessee whiskey is made in Tennessee and bourbon was invented by a man named Shelbyville Kentucky. Just kidding. What separates the two is a method of filtering called the Lincoln County Process in which the whiskey is filtered through, or steeped, in charcoal before going into the casks. The most famous Tennessee whiskey out there is Jack Daniel’s and it — alongside other Tennessee distillers — doesnt refer to its product as bourbon.

Tennessee whiskey tastes like: Bourbon, if we’re being honestBrands you should know about: Jack Daniel’s, Collier and McKeel

You May Like: What Is The Price Of Don Julio Tequila

What Makes Whiskey Bourbon

This one’s a doozy, but bear with us. For a whiskey to be considered bourbon, the mixture of grains from which the product is distilled must be, at least, 51% corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain. On top of that, the mixture must be stored in charred oak containers and cannot contain any additives. That law pretty much separates bourbon from everything else.

Bourbon tastes like: Its main characteristic is its sweetness, but it’s also a bit smoky due to the charred oak.Brands you should know:Wild Turkey, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve

Single Malts But Dont Call Them Scotch

Monkey Shoulder Blended Whisky Impressions
  • Read in app

By Eric Asimov

  • May 12, 2016

Its as Scottish as Robert Burns, tartans and the wail of the pipes. I mean whisky, of course, single malt in particular. The proverbial wee dram is a romance in heather and smoke, fascinating the world over yet always traced back to the foggy glens of Scotland.

Actually, that last bit is not true, and it hasnt been for years. Single malts may always be associated with Scotland, but now they are of the world, made in every continent but Antarctica and all over the United States. The Japanese have been making single malts for decades, and the rest of the world is catching up.

How can Scotch be made outside of Scotland? It cant. By law, a whisky can only be called Scotch if it is distilled in Scotland according to a set of specific rules. But single malt whiskey can be distilled anywhere.

No. 1:

Noting the growing number of malt whiskies from unexpected origins, the Food section tasting panel recently sampled 20 single malts from anywhere but Scotland. We found bottles from Japan and Taiwan, from India and Canada, from the United States and all over Europe, including Ireland, which insists on using its traditional spelling whiskey, unlike the rest of the single-malt producing universe, which, in deference to its inspiration, follows the Scottish usage of whisky.

The traditional approach has been so well traveled, Sean said. If these new approaches can be harnessed, it could really broaden the style.

No. 2:No. 3:

Tasting Report

You May Like: What To Mix With Clear Rum

What Makes Scotch Scotch

Lets begin by stating the obvious- for a whisky to be classed as Scotch it has to, you guessed it, be produced in Scotland. This is stated in the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009.

Although this geographic rule is what usually defines Scotch whisky and sets it apart from other distilled spirits worldwide, there is much more to it. The distillation of Scotch can only be carried out by following many rules and regulations in order to preserve Scotchs rich history and traditional production practices.

Whether you believe them to be too strict or not, the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009, which superseded the Scotch Whisky Act of 1988 are the final word on what defines Scotch whisky. From ingredients and distillation, to labeling and advertising, these rules are what keep the timeless production of Scotch whisky on the right track.

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.

You May Like: Where To Buy Vodka Online

What Is White Whiskey Is It Just Moonshine What Is Moonshine

The term “moonshine” is slang for quickly distilled un-aged corn mash and, according to the omnipotent Wikipedia, “is derived from the term ‘moonrakers‘ used for early English smugglers and the clandestine nature of the operation.” So, technically, when you see whiskey labeled “moonshine” in stores, it’s really just white whiskey, because “moonshine” refers to illegal hooch made at home. This stuff is only white because it hasn’t seen the inside of a wooden cask.

White whiskey tastes like: Whiskey-flavored vodkaAnd just so you know, moonshine tastes like: Fire, because it’s almost always at some ridiculously high proof

How About Japanese Whisky


Japanese whisky is a treat. You may notice that it follows suit with the Scottish and Canadians with the omittance of the letter “e.” This is because Suntorys first master distiller Masataka Taketsuru studied in Scotland and came to love the taste of Scottish whisky. The biggest Japanese whisky producers are Suntory and Nikka, the former of which has had some seriously cool commercials in the past. You can’t really pin Japanese whisky down to a specific style, but it’s generally Scotchy.

Japanese whisky tastes like: Scotch, sort of, but it really depends on the brand. One thing is for sure, they all taste like relaxing times.

You May Like: Who Makes The Best Bourbon Whiskey

Legal Definition Of Scotch Whisky

Scotch whisky means a whisky produced in Scotland:

that has been distilled at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley all of which have been:

  • processed at that distillery into a mash
  • converted at that distillery into a fermentable substrate only by endogenous enzyme systems and
  • fermented at that distillery only by the addition of yeast

that has been distilled at an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 94.8 per cent so that the distillate has an aroma and taste derived from the raw materials used in, and the method of, its production

that has been matured only in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres

that has been matured only in Scotland

that has been matured for a period of not less than three years

that has been matured only in an excise warehouse or a permitted place

that retains the colour, aroma and taste derived from the raw materials used in, and the method of, its production and maturation

to which no substance has been added, or to which no substance has been added except:

  • water
  • water and plain caramel colouring and

that has a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 40%.

Is Diageo Trying To Rewrite The Rules Of Scotch

January 25, 2018 | Susannah Skiver Barton

Diageo, which owns about a quarter of Scotlands single malt distilleries, is reportedly planning new products and processes that could fundamentally change the nature of scotch. According to a story in the Wall Street Journal , the company formed a secret task force last year to determine how Scotch whisky is constrained in regulatory, legal, technical, and other ways, and to explore the scope for reform. That means Diageo is hoping to use its clout to force changes or adaptations to the rules set down in the Scotch Whisky Regulations of 2009 and upheld by the Scotch Whisky Association trade group.

Two particular ideas are highlighted in the WSJ article. First, Diageo is considering creating scotch whisky infusions, low-alcohol and/or flavored alcoholic beverages sold under the same name as existing single malt or blended whisky brands. Secondly, Diageo has sought permission from the SWA to finish some of its single malts in Don Julio tequila barrels, a move that the association did not approve.

Recommended Reading: What Is Absolut Vodka Made From

What Is The Difference Between Whiskey And 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.

Education For Scotch Beginners

77 Whiskey â DIELINE

Like any topic, its important to educate yourself if you truly want to understand its intricacies and the best way to do that is by tasting it and learning along the way.

You can either do that through local tasting classes, but those can be quite pricey. Or you can try to read a book but, it is best to have written content in combination with a dram on your pallet. As I mentioned before, flaviar offers the most comprehensive Scotch tasting samples out there. Dont forget to keep a notebook on hand to write down your experiences with various whiskies or use an app.

When youre at a pub or bar, ask the bartender for advice. Mention what you enjoy and dont enjoy in a whisky. If theyre competent theyll be able to help lead you in the right direction and if they arent they jut pour you whatever they want to sell

When youre at the liquor store, seek advice. If the clerk asks to help, take them up on the offer. Introduce yourself and talk about various bottles before making your decision. Try and shop at times where the store is likely not busy and bring your notepad so you can show them where youre at in your journey. A good whisky advocate is like a consigliere in that theyll counsel you and help you develop your palate.

Also, take a look at Jim Murrays Whisky Bible. For under $20 you get a lot of information but always bear in mind the only thing that counts is what you like.

You May Like: Where Can I Buy Blackened Whiskey

Seven Additional Whiskys For Beginners

  • Dalmore 12 Year Scotch Whisky
  • Macallan 10 Year Scotch Whisky
  • Balvenie Doublewood
  • Glenfiddich 12 Year Scotch Whisky
  • Glenlivet 12 Year Scotch Whisky
  • Bladnoch 11 Year Scotch Whisky
  • Glenkinchie 12 Year Old Whisky

Lighter whiskies are strongly recommended in the beginning. Avoid the Islays at least for now. The Islays are notoriously strong and the burn youll experience may very well turn you off from Scotch forever.

If youre a guest that is offered whisky, out fo respect for your host , try to focus on a whisky they recommend for your palate or one you already know you enjoy that way youre not wasting the dram.

Auchentoshan Three Wood Scotch Whisky

Auchentoshan is a triple distilled single malt from the lowland region of Scotland. The name Auchentoshan is Gaelic and translates to the corner of the field. With most whisky from Scotland, the last stage is where they distill the mash in two copper stills . However, with Auchentoshan, its placed in a third still called the Intermediate Still which gives the whisky strength.

As mentioned, Auchentoshan is unpeated, which makes it an ideal candidate for a first dram. Because its unpeated, the spirit is far more delicate and sweet than most whiskies and the burn many newcomers complain of is so minimal most dont notice it.

The Auchentoshan Three Wood is matured in American bourbon casks, Oloroso sherry and Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks all of which give it a unique flavor profile with significant complexity. It was the winner of the Double Gold Medal in the category of single malts up to 12 years at the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

The first thing youll notice with the Three Wood is that its very toffee and sherry heavy. The nose is sweet and fruity with hints of currants, brown sugar, coffee, orange peel and raisins. The taste mimics the sweetness of the nose almost resembling a syrup flavor. Its quite nutty with strong hints of lemon and bursts of cinnamon.

Recommended Reading: Where To Buy Kah Tequila

What Is Scotch Made Of And How Is It Made

via: Pexels / Pixabay

To understand what scotch is made of, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of what whisky is made of. Whisky is basically alcohol that’s made from grain. This means that whisky is more or less just a distilled version of beer.

What makes scotch different from other whiskies is the way it’s made and the ingredients that are used to make it.

Allow The Distillate To Mature

Types of Alcohol : How Is Scotch Whiskey Made?

After the distillate is proven acceptable, the distiller will transfer it to oak casts for maturation. As previously mentioned, Scotlands scotch-governing body allows three years for the minimum years of maturation. Single malts typically are allowed to mature for eight years or more. Each year, the distillery allows 2% of the scotch to evaporate.

The maturation process would allow the conversion of the higher alcohols into esters and other end products to enhance the scotchs flavor and aroma.

Don’t Miss: What Can I Mix With Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

Distill The Resulting Liquid

The resulting liquid is further purified through distillation. This step needs special equipment as you have to extract the vaporized alcohol and then condense it again into liquid form. The first distillation will separate alcohol from the yeast and other end products.

In the second distillation, the solution is further purified to produce around 68% alcohol by volume. This distillate is collected in a designated container called spirit safe. The designated government agency of Scotland must approve this scotch whiskey safe.

Whiskey Scotch Bourbon And Rye

Lots to unpack here. The basics, according to Encyclopedia Britannica:

Whiskey can be any of a variety of distilled liquors that are made from a fermented mash of cereal grains and aged in wooden containers, which are usually constructed of oak. Commonly used grains are corn, barley malt, rye, and wheat.

The difference between whiskey and whisky is where the stuff is made: in the United States and Ireland, its spelled whiskey in Scotland, Canada, and Japan, its whisky.

Now, for the differences between Scotch, bourbon, and rye. Back to Encyclopedia Britannica:

Scotch is a whisky that gets its distinctive smoky flavor from the process in which it is made: the grain, primarily barley, is malted and then heated over a peat fire. A whisky cannot be called Scotch unless it is entirely produced and bottled in Scotland.

Bourbon, a whiskey that was first produced in Kentucky, U.S., uses at least 51 percent mash from corn in its production. It also uses a sour mash process that is, the mash is fermented with yeast and includes a portion from a mash that has already been fermented. U.S. regulations specify that in order for a whiskey to be called bourbon, it must be made in the United States.

And rye whiskey? Its a whiskey that uses a rye mash or a rye and malt mash. In the United States, regulations stipulate that the mash must be at least 51 percent rye in order for it to be called rye whiskey. In Canada, regulations do not specify a minimum percentage of rye.


Read Also: What Proof Is Absolut Vodka

Difference Between Peat And Smoke

Even though we used both the words peat and smoke as synonyms with each other, there is a slight difference between them. What makes a peaty scotch so different?

If you smell the drink, you will find that the spirit gives a distinctive odor of something like a campfire. The traits for the palate are a bit like ashes, soot, and cinders, which later leave a dry savor. These are all the characteristics of smokey scotch.

On the other hand, peated scotch contributes by giving a musty effect of the decaying turf and other organic substances. It also provides a hint of iodine because of the chemical compounds of the peat. The flavors include a rich and earthy essence with a taste of bittersweetness, a bit moist, and a bitter and spicy aftertaste.

Popular Articles
Related news