The Development Of Taste During Cask Maturation
The origin of the casks is crucial for the taste of the Whisky. Glenfiddich predominantly matures their Whiskies casks made from American white oak that has previously been used to mature Bourbon Whiskey. In contrast, distilleries like Macallan or Bowmore use mainly casks that held Spanish Sherry before. One Malt Whisky from Springbank became a legend: it was matured in ex-rum casks from the Caribbean and took on a green colour.
A bit less important for the taste of the Whisky is the place of maturation. The old warehouses are dark and have earth floors. The casks are stored on oak beams and are stacked on top of each other in 3 to 6 rows. Modern warehouses have concrete floors so the casks can be moved with forklifts. Until the end of the last century, the casks were stored lying on steel racks. Nowadays the casks are mostly stored upright on pallets. Whisky matures differently in the highlands than on the islands, since there are hot summers and cold, snowy winters in the highlands, while the gulf stream provides for a mild climate on the islands and at the coast.
Scotch Vs Whiskey Whats The Difference
Even for the Scotch and whiskey connoisseurs among us, the differences, though sometimes subtle, can be pretty confusing! If youve ever scratched your head when it comes to Scotch vs. whiskey , this guide is for you.Learn exactly what these spirits are, their similarities, and how they smell and taste. Then, why not mix up a cocktail with each to see what you most fancy?
When you compare Scotch vs. whiskey, they might seem pretty close. But, there are some key differences that well break down here for you.
Best For Cocktails: Auchentoshan American Oak
Region: Lowlands | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Nuts, Pepper, Vanilla
While you might want to think twice about using that $300 bottle of 25-year-old whisky to whip up a Manhattan, there are single malt scotches that play beautifully in cocktails . One such whisky comes from Auchentoshan, a distillery located in the Lowlands just outside of Glasgow.
This triple-distilled whisky has an almost bourbon-like character, making it great to use in a Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Boulevardier, or any other whiskey cocktail you can think of.
Auchentoshan is one of the few Lowland distilleries making single malt. These whiskies are traditionally very light and grassy. The American Oak is matured in first-fill bourbon casks, giving it a vanilla fruity note. The grassy notes remain but under a lemon curd light citrusy and cream layer. Lynnette Marrero, co-founder of Speed Rack, bar director at Llama Inn
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How Does The Taste Of Scotch And Whiskey Compare
Scotch vs. whiskey flavors can vary quite a bit. Whiskeys flavor depends on the variety produced and the process used to do so. For example, bourbons are usually vanilla, caramel, and oak-heavy, while rye or Canadian whiskey is sharper, drier, lighter, and spicier. But, there are some taste similarities between whiskey types since they all use a form of cask, grain, and fermentation and distillation.Scotch is heavier, fuller, more intense, and smokier than whiskey. You might taste these notes when drinking Scotch:
Best Under $: Bowmore Darkest 15 Year Old
Region: Islay| ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Toffee, Smoke, Brine, Dried fruits
Bringing together the best of Scotlands opposing traditions, this cherrywood-colored scotch from Bowmore, Islays oldest distillery, is made with heavily peated malt from island-grown barley. Its aged primarily in bourbon barrels, but its final three years are spent in oloroso casks, where the scotch takes on its sherrylike layers.
I love that it captures both, says Tardie. Its the perfect balance: salty but sweet. Toffee, dried fruit and swarthy smoke are finished with ocean-water salinity for what Tardie calls a multidimensional treat. Im not big on dessert, but if I were to have a dessert, this would be it,” he says.
Region: Islay | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Smoke, Brine, Umami, Dried fruit
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Macallans A Speyside Whisky Which Means What
The basics of Speyside are pretty simple, and you can use them to buy whiskies according to your palate and intimidate your friends over drinks. Speyside is an incredibly prolific subdivision of the Highlands region, roughly broken down into two types: lighter, heathery, grassy whiskies , versus richer, fruitier, sweeter whiskies. Think fruitcake, but you actually like it, and it gets you drunk enough to endure family holidays.
Q: What Is Single Malt Scotch Made Of
A: Single malt just refers to the fact that only barley is used in the process of distillation and the whisky has not been blended with any other whiskies from other distilleries. A single malt can contain a mixture of whiskies from the same distillery. Lets take Highland Park 12 as an example. To get the flavour profile of the 12-year-old, the distillery may have to mix several whiskies from different casks to create a standardise flavour for every bottle. The 12-year-old stamp just means that the youngest whisky used in the process of making that whisky is 12-years-old. You can have single cask editions of different whiskies. This means that only one whisky has been used from one cask to make that bottle. The constancy of single cask whiskies can vary widely.
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For Macallan At Least Size Matters
Not the way, youd think. Macallan whisky is famous for its self-described curiously small stills, among the smallest copper pot stills in the business. The basic concept and obvious success of using smaller stills has to do with surface-area contact between alcohol and copper, increasing heat and creating more depth and richness in the distillate. Adding small to small, Macallan uses a tiny cut of the distillate 16 percent of the alcohol theyre evaporating to create the final product.
The Beautiful Macallan Estate Is Definitely Haunted
Its been scientifically confirmed that most buildings in the U.K. are probably haunted, but Macallans flagship Easter Elchies estate might definitely be haunted. Roderick Kemp took over Macallan in 1892. Beyond introducing the essential Spanish sherry casks, Kemp, who was supposedly a bit of a difficult boss, is rumored to haunt the estate to this day. Let the boss nightmares ensue.
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Scotch Aroma And Flavor
Scotch typically has a more intense, smoky flavor than whiskey. Its pretty heavy, full, and distinct especially to newbies who arent used to its sharpness.The spirits flavors and aromas are highly affected by its distillation practices, mash bill, and type being produced. The oak wood it sits in, which is Scotlands required Scotch cask type, and the aging time in this oak play a large role, too. Plus, the barley grains exposure to peat smoke in the drying stage ultimately affects Scotchs flavor.When drinking Scotch vs. whiskey, you might taste or smell the following:
- Rubber, fire, or peat/dirt
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.
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Types Of Scotch Whisky
Weve previously covered Scotlands beloved whisky regions, so if you want to know more about them, check out our article. And while youre digging, check out this in-depth article about single malt Scotch whisky and how it gets made. Last but not least, heres an intensive guide to peaty whisky, which isnt an official type per se, but nevertheless exists in a category all its own. Putting all that aside, Scotch whisky breaks down according to the following types:
- Single Malt To qualify as single malt, the Scotch must be made from a mash of 100% malted barley and distilled at a single distillery by way of a pot still distillation process.
- Single Grain Despite the name, single grain Scotch can incorporate other whole cereal grains into the mash. The whisky must be distilled at a single distillery and it can be distilled continuously in continuous stills or column stills.
- Blended Malt A blend of single malt Scotch whiskies from at least two different distilleries.
- Blended Grain A blend of single grain Scotch whiskies from at least two different distilleries.
- Blended Scotch A blend of single malt and single grain Scotch whiskies.
What Makes It Bourbon
U.S. laws regulate what manufacturers can label as bourbon.
- The mash used must contain at least 51% corn.
- The only additive allowed outside of the mash and the yeast is water. No other additives may be used.
- It must be 160 proof or less.
- It can only be produced in the United States.
- It must be aged for at least two years.
- Aging takes place in new white oak barrels that have been charred.
- While the main grain in bourbon is corn, other grains may include rye, barley, or malt.
- Enjoy it in a classic mint julep.
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The Drying Of Malted Barley
After the barley grain has opened and the germ has reached approximately 2/3 of the length of the grain, the starch has turned into sugar. Now the germination process is interrupted by spreading the still wet barley on grids in the kiln and drying it with hot air from below. Drying is stopped at 4% humidity. This stage contributes significantly to the character of the Whisky. If you add peat to the fire, the malt gets a smoky peat note. The steam is discharged through the pagoda roofs of the distilleries.
What Is Scotch Whisky Made Of
Given that all whisky is created from fermented grain mash, Scotch is no exception at all. To be classified as a scotch, the cereal used to produce this spirit must is, mostly, malted barley. However, many Scotch whiskies are made just from barley, water, and yeast.
In a scotch whisky recipe, you may use whole grains from various cereals and caramel colouring. There are no fermentation additives or shortcuts allowed.
Although Scotch whisky is produced from malted barley, the different types of Scotches may add different ingredients to the mixture.
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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.
Screening For Potential Adulteration
Refilling and fabrication or tampering of branded Scotch whiskies are types of Scotch whisky adulteration that diminishes brand integrity, consumer confidence, and profitability in the Scotch industry. Deviation from normal concentrations of major constituents, such as alcohol congeners, provides a precise, quantitative method for determining authenticity of Scotch whiskies. Over 100 compounds can be detected during counterfeit analysis, including phenolics and terpenes which may vary in concentration by different geographic origins, the barley used in the fermentation mash, or the oak cask used during ageing. Typical high-throughput instruments used in counterfeit detection are liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry.
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Ordering Whisky In Scotland
The first rule of ordering whisky in Scotland is to never call it Scotch. It’s whisky when it’s blended and malt when it’s single-malt. When ordering malt, it’s a faux pas to order it on the rocks because ice numbs the tongue and does not let you appreciate the flavor of the whisky. You can drink malt neat or with a drop of water. Ordering it with Coke, of course, is also a terrible idea.
Tweeddale Grain Of Truth Peated Edition
Believed to be one of the firsts Peated Single Graind Scotch Whisky, this expression from Tweeddale presents a new turn on single grain whiskies. Made with 50% malted barley and 50% wheat, it is peated and also aged in bourbon barrels.
As sweet as it is smoky, the Tweeddale Grain of Truth has light smoke, chocolate and caramel as flavour notes.
This expression already won the Silver Medal at the World Whiskies Awards 2020.
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What Makes A Whiskey Scotch Whisky
By: Jeremy Glass | Updated: Feb 18, 2021
What would life be without the simple creature comforts that get us through the week. Good friends, trashy TV, comfy slippers and a nice glass of whiskey. For those of us who can pour a couple of ounces of Fireball into a glass and call it day, we commend you. However, there are some of us who require a bit more bang for our buck when sipping mankind’s finest vice. There’s a scotch-drinker nestled within all of us some of us just don’t know it yet.
Despite the inherent ease of drinking the stuff, a lot has to happen to a bottle of whiskey before it can legally be classified as such. Similar to bourbon in color, alcohol content and occasionally taste, scotch whisky is in a category of its own and cannot be labeled as bourbon. So, what makes what you’re drinking scotch and how does it get that way?
Best Rum Cask Finish: The Balvenie Caribbean Cask
Region: Speyside | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Spice
Finishing whisky in a rum cask might not be as popular as sherry or wine casks within the single malt scotch category, but there are some benefits. A rum barrel brings new flavors to the mix, like banana, brown sugar and cocoa. The Balvenies Caribbean Cask 14-Year-Old Scotch is a stellar example. Everything about this whisky draws you in, says Otsuji. The ex-rum barrel finish creates a sense of richness in the flavors, like toffee or caramel, toasted oak, or perhaps a bit of honey on fresh papaya but rather than expressing itself as a sugary taste, it comes through as a luxurious textural element.
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Best 10 Year Old: Jura 10 Year Old
courtesy of Total Wine
Region: Islands | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Orange, Cherry
Though not as well-known an island as its neighbor Islay, the isle of Jura also boasts a history of scotch productionand its namesake distillery offers a delicious and approachable 10-year-old expression. This scotch is rested in bourbon barrels and then finished in Oloroso sherry casks, says Adam Morgan, head bartender at Husk Nashville. This unique finish lends a balanced yet sweet finish that dances between spice and oak. The smoke on this particular scotch is soft and intriguing for any first-time scotch drinker.
Filling The Casks: Regulation
After the casks are filled, they are weighed to estimate the tax, which has to be paid. Then they are transported into the warehouse, where they stay at least for three years. By law, each cask must be marked with a unique number, the name of the distillery and the distillation year. This used to be done with a template and a paintbrush. However, in recent years more and more distilleries have begun to use barcodes readable only by computers. What a shame!
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They Go Through Different Aging Processes
Bourbon has no minimum aging period, but to call your product Straight Bourbon, a specific distinction of quality, it must be aged for no less than two years and have no added coloring, flavor or spirits. Conversely, Scotch must be aged for no less than three years. Within Scotch, though, there are additional distinctions as well. For instance, a single malt Scotch is made with malted barley in pot stills at a single distillery and blended Scotch whisky is made by combining several single malts with other whiskies in column stills.
Scotch also tends to be aged longer than bourbon, with many of the most popular whiskies hitting shelves after anywhere from 12-25 years inside barrels. Part of the reason for this is a difference in climates. Bourbon is predominantly produced in Kentucky, where the climate is quite warm during the summer and therefore bourbon evaporates at a faster rate. This means that the longer bourbon is in the barrel, the lower the yield and the more expensive it gets.
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 .
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