7 Things You Should Know About Scotch WhiskyWritten by David MasifonPosted on 07 25, 2017
Whisky is a distilled spirit drink made from fermented grain mash and aged in wooden casks.
If you are a whisky lover, then you have probably heard of Scotch Whisky, and while you may be wondering what the big deal is, there is really no reason to fret. It is surely different from Irish Whiskey and America’s Bourbon, but nothing too mysterious.
Scotch Whisky is just one of the many flavours of the distilled spirit drink that should drive your curiousity.
Your curiosity for new flavors and experiences is all that is required. So if you have just switched from other distilled spirits to whisky, or tired of too much red wine, welcome to where the water is warmer.
Here are seven things about Scotch Whisky you should know:
1. Why it is called Scotch?
Simple! Because it comes from Scotland. It is not a style of whisky as many may think, rather it is a whisky that is made in the nation of Scotland. Also, it has to be aged in oak barrels for at least three years to qualify legally as Scotch Whisky.
2. It has varieties too
Scotch Whisky comes in four categories which are the single malt, grain, blended, and blended malt. The blended whisky is much more popular by virtue of volume and sales. They are a blend of grain whiskies and malt whisky. Some of the popular blends include Johnnie Walker, Dewars, and Chivas are popular blends. Blended malts are a blend of two or more single malts.
3. And Single Malt?
No rocket science about this type of scotch whisky. ‘Single’ refers to the fact that it is distilled in a single distillery. ‘Malt’, then is the sole grain used in the production of the the whisky. Thus, a single malt is a whisky produced at one distillery and made with 100% malted barley.
4. Hey! There is no ‘E’
The old question about the ‘E’. Scotch Whisky has traditionally been spelled without an E because the Scots spell it ‘whisky’ and the Irish spell it ‘whiskey’, with an extra ‘e’. The difference in the spelling is traceable to the translations of the word from the Scottish and Irish Gaelic forms.
5. What about the age statements?
Most Scotch whiskies bare an age statement boldly printed on the label, especially Single Malts. If you pick up a scotch bottle and the label says 12 years old (or any other age) it means that 100% of the whisky in that bottle has aged in an oak barrel for at least 12 years and not one day less.
6. Does Scotch age in bottles too?
No. Once the liquid is bottled, aging immediately stops. This is the case for all whiskies, not just scotch.
7. So how does Scotch age?
Scotch whisky is typically aged in oak barrels. Like all spirits, whisky is clear and colourless when it comes off of the still. It gets its colour from the barrel along with many of its aromas and flavours. Significantly, majority of barrels used for aging Scotch Whisky were originally used to age bourbon in the USA. Scotch Whisky is (almost) always aged in used barrels while bourbon is required to be aged in new oak barrels.