In principle, Scotch, Bourbon or Irish Whisky hardly differ in terms of production. While the raw materials differ slightly for the different types of whisky, all whisky is made using grain, water and fermentation by yeast. Malt whiskys are produced from malted barley, grain whiskys from cereals such as wheat, rye or oats and bourbon whiskies predominantly from corn.
yet important differences can be found in the distillation technology used. Scottish malt whiskies have to be distilled in copper stills (pot stills), while large column stills are used for grain and bourbon whiskies. Further differences in whisky production can be found in the storage in oak barrels. Barrels from bourbon and sherry production are generally used for Scottish whisky, while only charred virgin American oak is permitted for bourbon whisky. In addition to the influence of the different whisky barrels, different barrel sizes also have an influence on the later taste of the whisky.
Getting to grips with the basics of whisky is not essential to selecting and enjoying your next bottle, but the varied history and produciton methods are fascinating and can help guide you on your journey.
Before whisky distillation can take place beer like liquid, commonly called wash, must be created. The creation of wash, brewing by another name, occurs when the sugars from the grain are extracted via hot water. The resultant sugary liquid known as mash is then combined with yeast, and fermentation takles place. The main difference is whether the sugar for fermentation is created from natural, or commercial enzymes. What are Enzymes? Enzymes are proteins that act as biological catalysts, which is to say that they convert molecules into other molecules.
There are many different types of stills in use around the world. From the vast to the strangely small, long-necked, multi-story, column stills, hybrid stills, and Lomond stills, indirect or direct fired. One of the most important distinctions, however, is the one between batch pot stills and continuous column or coffey stills. Those looking a little deeper into the processes of distillation, quickly realise that the process has changed little over the centuries.
What Are The Best Whisky Glasses? The SMWS glass - the best all rounder The Glencairn - the most widely known glass, poorer for grain whiskies The Copita - fantastic for grain and sherried whiskies The Cognac Glass - widely available and great for most drams, weaker on peat The Blender’s Glass - perfect for blended whisky, good for grain The Túath Glass - solid for bourbons, ryes and Irish pot still The NEAT Glass - the perfect upgrade from a tumbler, excellent for high ABV The Norlan - an expensive tumbler The Tumbler - for those who want their whisky chilled The Highball - for those looking for refreshment Historical Background If you look into the history of whisky drinking, you will quickly come across the “Quaich” or “Quaigh” or “Quoich”.
Unlike wine whisky doesn’t continue to mature in the bottle once opened, unfortunately the chemical transformations don’t stop entirely. While the change much slower than with wine, Oxidisation will inevitably change the taste of the spirit over the course of months and years. This can be a net benefit, with oxidisation improving younger whiskies, rounding out deficiencies just as it did to the whisky maturing within the cask. Unfortunately it can also be very detrimental.
What is Baudoinia Compniacensis? Baudoinia Compniacensis is a sac fungus (Ascomycota) that has been observed on a variety of natural substrates near distilleries including soil, rock and vegetation, as well as bonded warehouses, and nearby street signs. The fungus is a habitat colonist with a preference for airborne alcohol. Controvertial Neighbours In recent years the Baudoinia fungus has made newpaper headlines, as the fungus don’t limit their growth to the distilleries and warehouses.