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Types of whisk(e)y

Scotch Whisky

Irish Whiskey

Japanese Whisky

United States of America Whiskey

Bourbon: 

  • Bourbon 
  • Straight Bourbon
  • Blended Bourbon

Rye: 

  • Rye whiskey
  • Blended Rye Whiskey

Tennessee Whisky: 

  • Straight Bourbon

Moonshine

Canadian Whisky

Rest of the world Whisky

These different categories also have different kind of taste and requirements before they can call themselves whisky/whiskey.

Let me explain it by these category. 

  • Single Grain Whisky

Single Malt whisk(e)y

Made at 1 distillery
Uses malted barley
Made in copper pot stills
Bottled at min. 40% ABV

Matured min. 3 years

Single Maly Whisky
  • Single Malt Whisky is made using only malted barley, water and yeast
  • You can only call it single malt whisky is the whisky is distilled in one distillery 
  • If its bottled with a minimal strength of 40 % ABV (80 proof)
  • If its matured in oak barrels for a minimal of 3 years( and 1 day )
  • If its distilled in copper pot stills 
  • The storage and maturation of the spirit in oak casks can not be larger than 700 liters 
  • The spirit can not contain any added substances with the exception of water and plain spirit caramel (E150a) 
Whisky fact: "Today barley is grown in many countries in the temperate zone. For a long time now, the Scottish barley production hasn’t been able to meet the demand for whisky. That's why Scotland imports parts of their barley but also finished barley malt from other countries such as for example Germany."
Livingbythedram
Whisky Blogger

Single Grain Whisk(e)y

Made at 1 distillery
Uses malted grain
Uses other cereals like what, rye, and corn
Continuous Distillation
Single Grain Whisky
  • Single grain whisky is made using only malted grain 
  • You can only call it single grain whisky is the whisky is distilled in one distillery 
  • If its bottled with a minimal strength of 40 % ABV
  • If its matured in oak barrels for a minimal of 3 years and 1 day 
  • If its distilled in copper pot stills 

Blended Scotch Whisky

Made at mutable distilleries in Scotland

Matured min. 3 years

port
Distilled with a min. of 40%
Uses Single Malt for blending
Uses Single Grain for blending
Blended Scotch Whisky
  • All blended whisky must be matured in Scotland for a minimum of three years 
  • And then bottled in Scotland at a minimum of 40 % ABV
  • Must be a mix of one or more single malt whiskies with one or more single grain whiskies. 
  • Can be from different Scottish distilleries. 

Blended Malt Whisk(e)y

Made at mutable distilleries
Uses different kind Single Malt for blending
Blended Malt Whisky
port
Bottled with a min. of 40%

Matured in Oak Barrels

  • A blend of two or more single malts whiskies from two or more distilleries.
  • Must be at least 40 % ABV 
  • Must be matured in oak barrels or casks. 

Blended Grain Whisk(e)y

Made at mutable distilleries
Uses different kind Single Grain for blending
Blended Grain Whisky
port
Bottled with a min. of 40%

Matured in Oak Barrels

  • A blend of two or more single grain whiskies from two or more distilleries.
  • Must be at least 40 % ABV 
  • Must be matured in oak barrels or casks. 

Blended Whisk(e)y

Made at mutable distilleries
Uses different kind of whisky for blending

Matured in Oak Barrels

port
Bottled with a min. of 40%
Blended Whisky
  • Blended whisky can be made Whisk(e)y.
  • Can be blended with different ages. 
  • Must be at least 40% ABV
  • Must be maturated in oak barrels or casks. 
  • Can be from different countries 
  • Can be from different distilleries. 
  • Can be from different cereals. 

Rye Whisk(e)y

Must be distilled to no more than 80% ABV (160 proof)
Can be different kind of cereal
The mash bill must contain at least 51% rye
Can be distilled in pot still, continuous stills or a combination of both
port
Bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV (80 proof)

Matured in brand-new charred oak barrels

  • Rye whisky must be at least 3+ years old to be sold outside of North America 
  • There is no minimum aging requirement for the United States of America and Canada
  • Can be distilled in a pot still or a continuous still or a combination of both. 
  • Can be different kind of cereals
  • The mash bill must contain at least 51% rye
  • Must be distilled to no more than 80% ABV (160 proof)
  • Bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV (80 proof) 
  • Must be matured in brand-new charred oak barrels.

Bourbon

Must be distilled to no more than 80% ABV (160 proof)
Can different kind cereal
The mash bill must contain at least 51% corn
Filling strength of the barrel can't be more than 80% ABV(160 proof)
port
Bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV (80 proof)

Matured in brand-new charred oak barrels

  • Bourbon must be produced in the Unites States and Territories. 
  • Made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn 
  • Aged in new, charred oak barrels. 
  • Distilled to no more than 160 proof(80% ABV)
  • Filling strength of the barrel can’t be more than 125 Proof (62.5% ABV) 
  • Bottled at al least 80 % proof(40% ABV)
  • Bourbon whiskey has no minimum aging period. Product aged for 3 months can be called and sold as Bourbon
  • exception is straight Bourbon, which has a minimum aging requirement of 2 years
  • Any Bourbon aged less than 4 years must include an age statement on its label.

Tennessee whiskey

Must be distilled to no more than 80% ABV (160 proof)
Can different kind cereal
The mash bill must contain at least 51% corn
Can be distilled in pot still, continuous stills or a combination of both
port
Bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV (80 proof)

Matured in brand-new charred oak cask

  • Tennessee whiskey is labeled as a straight Bourbon
  • Can only be produced in the state Tennessee in the Unites States of America
  • Must be filtered through maple charcoal
  • must be at least 51% corn
  • Aged in new charred oak barrels
  • Distilled to no more than 160 proof(80% ABV)
  • Filling strength of the barrel can’t be more than 125 Proof (62.5% ABV) 
  • Bottled at al least 80 % proof(40% ABV)
  • There is no minimum aging requirement for the United States of America and the rest of the world 
  • Must be filtered unnamed through charcoal pellets
  • Tennessee distillers that don’t use the charcoal filtration can call their whiskey Bourbon Whiskey. 
  • In 2013 the Us government enshrined by law to differentiate Tennessee charcoal filtrate whiskey from Bourbon whiskey. 

Wheat Whisk(e)y

Must be distilled to no more than 80% ABV (160 proof)
Wheat whiskey can contain other cereals (usually corn and malted barely)
The mash bill must contain at least 51% wheat
Can be distilled in pot still, continuous stills or a combination of both
port
Bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV (80 proof)

Matured in brand-new charred oak barrels

  • Not exceed 80% ABV(160 proof) at distillation
  • Not Exceed 62.5% ABV(125 proof) when entering the barrel
  • Be bottled at 40% ABV (80 proof) or higher. 
  • There is no minimum aging requirement for the United States of America and Canada
  • Consists primarily of wheat. The United States government only allows a product to be labeled “wheat whiskey” when the mash is composed of at least 51% wheat. 
  • American style wheat whiskey may be labelled as a “straight” if it is aged for at least 2 years in new, charred oak barrels.
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