Whiskey 101

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Is it “whiskey” or “whisky”?

American and Irish liquor producers tend to favor the spelling “whiskey”, while Canadian, Scottish, and Japanese producers tend to favor “whisky”.

Here’s a quick way to remember how to spell it by country:

Countries that have e’s in their names such as United States and Ireland tend to spell it whiskEy (plural whiskeys). Countries without an e in their name such as Japan, Scotland, and Canada spell it whisky (plural whiskies).

What is malted barley?

Barley soaked in water to facilitate the conversion of starches to sugar, which is then dried over a heat source before grinding.

Single versus blended malt whiskey

A single malt whiskey is made at one particular distillery from a mash that uses only malted grains, usually barley. Formerly called vatted malt, blended malt whiskey is a blend of single malts from two or more distilleries.

What is the difference between Scotch, Bourbon, and Rye?

Whiskey is an umbrella term for a type of spirit distilled from a mash of fermented grains. Scotch refers to whiskey made in Scotland. Bourbon is an American whiskey made primarily from corn. Rye whiskey is made primarily from Rye.

Historically, barley was the key component of Irish and Scottish whiskey, although, outside of blended and single malts, most today are a blend of barley, corn and wheat.

What is the difference between Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey?

Bourbon, although originally produced in Bourbon County, Kentucky, can be made anywhere in the United States. However, to be labeled bourbon, it must be comprised of at least 51% corn and stored in new charred oak barrels. Tennessee whiskey is also corn based. Unlike bourbon, these whiskeys can be made only in the state of Tennessee and utilize a sugar maple charcoal filtration system before storage that imparts a warm, sweet flavor.

Whew! That was a lot of terms… We hope you’ve now got down the basics. While some high-end specialty bottles will set you back big time, there are selections on every price level and for every palette. So buy a bottle and enjoy a drink with good company.

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July is our big Spirits blow-out sale with discounts ranging from 15% – 50% off. Stop by the store or shop online for savings.

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