What are the types of Whisky, their classes or classification? Let’s give ourselves the task of an initial basic summary. It is important to distinguish between the different whiskies that are marketed today in the world. There is not a single type of whisky, but different types that vary according to their production processes, the ingredients used for their production or their territorial origin.
Blended (or blend)
These are the most common, it is a mixture of various “malt whiskies” with “grain whiskies”. One bottle of blended can hold up to 50 different whiskies. This type of whisky was born during the nineteenth century thanks to the Scottish distillery Glenlivet and is now the most consumed whisky in the world because it is the least expensive (both manufactured and purchased).
Malt mixture (or malt in vat or pure malt)
Again, it is a mixture of different whiskies from various distilleries, but only “malt whiskies”. Pure malt allows blending professionals to create products with a unique character.
Pure malta: Types of Whisky, classes
It is the product of a single distillery. Mixing competition for many years for economic reasons, reappeared in the spotlight in the 1960s following an initiative by the Glenfiddich distillery. It is now the star product of Scottish distilleries.
(Single grain or mixed grain)
It is a whisky made from different cereals: corn, rye, oats, wheat, barley … Grain whiskey is distilled only once, therefore it has very little flavor and was almost only used mainly for mixing for many years. Today, the monograin is gradually recovering its notes of nobility and is returning to the forefront, both thanks to independent bottlers, as well as through brands such as Haig Club (popularized by the star footballer David Beckham) or the Irish Teeling.
Although most are produced in the U.S. state of Kentucky, bourbon can be produced anywhere in the United States. It must contain at least 51% corn and be aged for at least 2 years in new oak barrels; most are distilled in column stills (but this is not a rule). If the final product is not the result of a mixture (mixture of several barrels), then it can carry the mention “pure bourbon”.
As the name suggests, Tennessee Whiskey is produced only in the U.S. state of Tennessee and goes through one more step before being put into barrels: coal filtration.
The individual still
Traditionally Irish, it contains a mixture of malted and unmalted barley. It is only distilled in traditional stills.
This is a whiskey from a single distillery. Almost forgotten since the late nineteenth century and that stopped being marketed in a very small number of distilleries, after the invasion of the blend, it returned strongly in the 60s thanks to Glenfiddich. It is the first distillery to launch the promotion of its single malt.
Today, most distilleries offer a single malt for sale to the general public, as this type of whisky has long been reserved for the commercial market.
The unique malt family includes the name unique barrel. This is a single-barrel whiskey (the barrel number is mentioned on the bottle). Bottled with the initial alcoholic strength of the barrel (between 55 and 65 ° approximately), then take the mention graduation in barrel. Then it is possible to drink it with water.
Note that there are single malts resulting from the assembly of several barrels sold in the initial grade. Then they carry the mention of traditional strength. Here again, it can be consumed with water.
It refers to a pure whisky that must contain a minimum of 51% rye (the other ingredients are mainly corn and barley) and then aged in freshly flamed oak barrels. Rye whiskey is drier and fruitier than bourbon. There is also corn whiskey (which should contain 80% corn).
When we talk about “whiskey”, we should only do it to designate Canadian and Japanese productions. For Scottish, Irish and American products, specific terms are used.
In Scotland, to qualify as Scotch whisky, the product must have an alcohol level equal to or greater than 40° and must be aged in barrels for at least three years in Scotland is a must. Scotch malt whisky is made only from malted barley dried over a peat fire. the Scotch Whisky Association has decided to restrict the appellations to five:
- Pure malt Scotch whisky
- Blended malt Scotch whisky
- Single-grain Scotch whisky
- Blended grain Scotch whisky
- Blended Scotch whisky
The Scotsman has an earthy and smoky taste.
Irish whiskey has a milder taste than other types of whiskey. It is made from a mixture of malt, can only be distilled with water and caramel coloring, and must be distilled in wooden barrels for at least three years. The result is a whiskey that is easy to drink pure or on the rocks, although you can use Irish whiskey from makeup cocktails.
Irish whiskey has a softer finish compared to Scotch.
A little later in the game than Irish and Scotch, Japanese whisky has made its mark on the world of spirits for its high standards. Japanese whisky was created to taste as close as possible to the Scottish style and uses similar distillation methods. It is mainly taken in mixed drinks or with a splash of soda.
Like Scotch whisky, Canadian whisky must be aged in barrels for at least three years. It is lighter and softer than other types of whiskey because it contains a high percentage of corn. You’ll see that most Canadian whiskies are made from corn and rye, but others may include wheat or barley.
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