How to read a whisky label

It can be difficult to read a whisky label if you don’t know what you are reading or looking for. 

There are so many things written on a whisky label.

You can lose track of time inspecting every bottle of whisky. But what is important and what is marketing?  

Here are a couple of things that will help you read a whisky label better and faster.

This so you will pick and enjoy the right bottle of whisky.

  • Type of whisky :

    There are all kinds of different types of whiskies: Grain whisky, blended whisky, Malt whisky, Single malt whisky, Single pot still whiskey, Bourbon, Rye whiskey, Corn whiskey, flavored whisky.
    What type of whisky is displayed on the label. In this case its a Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

    Read more about this in my blog: How whisky is made.

  • Cask maturation:

    There are a lot of different kind of cask maturations available for maturing your whisky. In this case its matured in two different kind of cask and called a Doublewood. Mostly there are three kinds of oak cask/barrels used in whisky: European oak, American oak, Japanese oak. But there are a lot of different types of cask / barrel marriages and finishings. This means what was inside the oak cask before the whisky went inside, for example: Port, sherry, bourbon.

    Read more about this in my blog: Cask and barrel types and there influence.

  • Limited edition:

    There are whiskies that are limited produced from just a couple of cask /barrels. This is called small batch or batch. Only a limited amount of bottles are produced by the distillery.

  • Volume of the bottle:

    This indicate how many centiliter the bottle of whisky contains.

  • Distillery name:

    This indicate what distillery produced the whisky. There are also independent bottlers. They didn't produce the whisky but they bought a cask (or couple ) and bottled the whisky under their name, like for example Compass box.

  • Country where its produced:

    This states in what country the whisky was produced and bottled.

  • Age of the whisky:

    This indicate that age the whisky is inside the bottle. if there is no age or number on the bottle it means its a NAS (non age statement). this means only the distillery and bottler knows the age of the whisky inside the bottle. By law whisky needs to be 3 years of age. (2 years if its American.)

    Read more about this in my blog: How long can i safe my whisky?

  • ABV strength

    This indicate the ABV( Alcohol By Volume ) inside the bottle of whisky. By law whisky needs to be 40% ABV. But know there are also cask strength whiskies with a ABV of 60%- 65%

    Read more about this in my blog: Cask strength whisky

But Wait there is more!

Non-Chill filtration or Un-Chill filtered

This means the whisky isn’t chill filtrated. So the oils inside the whisky aren’t filtered and are still inside the whisky. This also means your whisky can get hazy. Don’t worry this is a good thing. Its means it’s pure and got all his flavors and oils right from the cask. 

Read more about this click here

Natural colour

This means your whisky of natural colour and they didn’t put E150a inside your whisky. E150a is caramel coloring. It’s sometimes called spirit caramel. Why do they use it…well because the customer demands consistency. Luckily you can’t taste this in your whisky and there are whiskies without caramel coloring. They state this at their box or label as natural colour. 

Read more about this click here

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