Congeners are the chemical compounds that are formed or enhanced in the whisky during fermentation, distillation and maturation.
Forty Creek “John’s Private Cask No.1” Canadian whisky was voted Canadian Whisky of the year in 2011 at the annual Canadian Whisky Awards.
The condensing process of distillation basically turns vapor back into liquid thru a cooling process. This process is generally done by a worm tub or a shell and tube condenser.
Dewar’s blended whisky has soft, sweet tones with notes of honey and Aberfeldy single malt at its core.
The tails or feints are the end part of the running of the still and are combined with the heads and the next batch of low wines to be re-distilled.
"“Of Scotland’s malt whiskies, the nearest I would compare to our McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey is Lagavulin.”"
- Steve McCarthy
BFYB is short for ‘bang-for-your-buck’ - the price/quality ratio of a whisky.
Sheep Dip blended malt scotch whisky is made from 16 malt whiskies aging from 8 to 21 years in age.
Peat grows at an average of 1mm per year in Scotland.
Cereal type, fermentation length, distillation and maturation are the main elements that create flavor in whiskey. Some argue that water is a flavoring element as well.
The three decision points in triple distillation of Irish whiskies are deciding the alcoholic strength at which to cut the spirit first in the wash, second in the intermediate distillation (2nd distillation) and third in the final distillation (3rd distillation).
Nikka “All Malt” Japanese whisky is a blend of pot still whisky from Nikka’s Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries and whisky from a continuous (Coffey) still at Miyagikyo.
Scotch Old-Fashioned: 1 ¼ oz. Scotch, 1 sugar cube, 1 tsp. water, 1 dash bitters. Muddle sugar, water and bitters. Add ice and Scotch. Serve with lemon twist, orange slice and maraschino cherry.
Highland Park 21 won the 2009 World Whiskies Awards for World’s Best Single Malt Whisky.
Johnnie Walker Black Label consists of a blend of about 40 whiskies, each aged at least 12 years. Caol Ila and Talisker are the dominating single malts in this blend.
Whisky matures faster in small casks and the wood has a greater influence on the spirit.
Early cuts in the spirit run create estery, fresh fruits, floral, grassy and citrus characters.
Longrow CV- Campbeltown single malt whisky: Big bold start with vanilla, then citrus and ends with spice and smoke.
Irish pot stilled whiskies generally use a mix of unmalted and malted barley to create dryness, spice and an oily character.
Kavalan single malt whisky is produced in Taiwan.
Salty John: 1 ¼ oz. whisky, 6 oz. grapefruit juice, pour into a salt rimmed glass over ice.
Kilchoman distilleries “from barley to bottle” was achieved in 2011 with its launch of “100% Islay” single malt whisky.
The Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky used to be known as the George T. Stagg Distillery.
Jura Superstition- Isle of Jura whisky: Spicy with honey, nut and peaty tones along side grass and floral notes.
“Quercus robar” is also known as European oak and is used in the production of cognac and sherry casks.
Knob Creek bourbon whiskey gets it name from a small creek or stream about 20 miles from the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Kentucky and ran past Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home.
The reason for the two sight glass windows on the wash still is to make sure the head or froth of the boiling liquid doesn’t flow over into the condenser and receiving tank.
Highland Park’s “5 keystones” are said to be the reason for its whiskies to be considered some of the best in the world. They are traditional floor malting, aromatic peat, cool maturation, sherry oak casks and careful cask rotation.
The Balvenie malts a percentage of the barley on their own malting floors, which is rare these days.
The name “Monkey Shoulder” refers to a condition which affected workers on the malting floor after turning malt by hand.
To be called a “Single Malt Scotch” the whisky must be distilled in Scotland and matured in oak casks for a minimum of 3 years.
The Laphroaig Quarter Cask Islay single malt whisky is Laphroaig’s homage to re-create a style of whisky made more than a hundred years ago when cask sizes were smaller.
Whisky Manhattan: 1 oz. Canadian whisky, ¼ oz. sweet vermouth, 1 dash bitters (optional) stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktails glass.
Hibiki 17- Japanese whisky: Sweet pine resin, vanilla, toffee and salty notes. Opens up nicely with water.
Glenfarclas has 6 of the largest copper pot stills in Speyside which help to create its unique flavors.
The Naked Grouse- blended Scotch whisky (a combination from The Macallan and The Highland Park distilleries): Lots of vanilla, dried fruits and spice with a smooth clean finish.
5 things to look for when considering a whisky: 1- The makers name. 2- Age statement. 3- Alcohol strength. 4- Legal definition (example- “straight corn whiskey”). 5- Style of whisky.
Sour mashing is where the highly acidic, non alcoholic residue know as “back set” left at the end of the first distillation is added to the mash in the fermenter to assist in fermentation. It gets its name due to its sour taste.
Back in the day Mitchell and Son use to offer Blue, Yellow and Red spot whiskey.
Tobermory 15- Isle of Mull single malt whisky: Fruit cake, toffee and chocolate with light oak and spice.
Due to a tax placed on malted barley in the middle of the 19th century in Ireland, distillers started to blend malted and unmalted barley to save money. This gave rise to the traditional Irish potstilled whiskey we know today.
"“Rye whiskey is the world’s great forgotten spirit, distinctive, complex and delicious. It offers a tactile pleasure unlike any other whiskey in the world.”"
- International Herald Tribune
Additive maturation is the process by which the oak barrel influence and add flavors to the spirit.
Jameson Irish whiskey is produced by Midleton Distillery and owned by Pernod Ricard.
Many distillers “rechar/ toast” (the burning of the insides of the barrel) and rebut the ends with new oak to “recharge” a barrel for adding flavor to their spirits after the 2nd or 3rd fill.
Knob Creek straight bourbon whiskey is distilled at the Jim Beam distillery at Clermont, Kentucky.
Dixie whiskey: 1 ¼ oz. of Bourbon, 1/6 oz. of lemon juice, ½ tsp. powdered sugar, 1 dash white crème de menthe, 1 dash Curacao served over ice and garnish with mint sprig.
Hibiki 30 year old Japanese whisky is blended with more than 30 different whiskies, all which originate from the combined Suntory distilleries (Yamazaki and Hakushu).
Dalwhinnie is the second highest distillery in Scotland at 327 meters above sea level. The highest is Braeval distillery.
Woodford Reserve Whiskey- Kentucky straight bourbon: Smooth rich and warm with hints of mint, tobacco, leather and fruit.
Straight whiskey is any whiskey made from a minimum of 51% of any one grain (corn, rye, wheat) distilled to 160 proof, aged no more than 125 proof for a minimum of 2 years in charred oak barrels and bottled at a minimum of 80 proof.
Penderyn is the only whisky distillery in Wales and was founded in 2000.
“Appearance” (the way a whisky looks) can be done by identifying the Legs- which show the weight of the whisky, the Clarity- chill filtered or not and the Color- which can indicate as to the oak used in maturation.
Hakushu West Distillery in Japan has twelve pot stills in operation resulting in a wide variety of flavors.
Bourbon has 4 flavor camps: corn (buttery, roundness), rye (spicy, citrus), wheat (floral, honey) and oak (vanilla, leather).
Whisky comes off the stills at around 72% ABV on average.
Green Spot- Irish whiskey: Waxy, full honey flavor with hints of mint and a clean finish.
A Scotsman, James Crow, introduced in 1825 the “sour mashing” technique still used today in all production of bourbon and Tennessee whiskies.
Kentucky Orange Blossom: 1 oz. Bourbon, ¼ oz. Cointreau, 1 oz. orange juice combine with ice, shake and server in a rocks glass with a lemon twist.
Grain whiskies are generally made in Column stills or Coffey stills.
Diageo are said to sell up to 14 million cases of the Johnnie Walker range each year.
Most whiskies are put thru a process known as “Chill filtration” which filters out fatty acids and oily compounds which can cloud or give a hazy appearance to the whisky when water or ice is added.
Wheat, Rye, Corn and Barley are the main cereals that are use to make whiskies all around the world.
There are only 3 distillers and 4 distillery’s in Ireland that make Irish whisky. They are Cooley, Bushmills and The Irish Distillers Limited.
92% of the Scotch whisky sold in the world is blended.
Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 year old whiskey- Kentucky rye whiskey: Sweet, leather and toffee notes that develops into spice and pepper finish.
Stokes are small stacked pyramids of cut peat that dry the decayed vegetation.
Rumour has it that the construction of the Glenfiddich distillery in 1886-1887 cost a total of 700 Pounds at the time.
In the old days of whisky making you planted your barley in the spring, early summer you would dig and dry your peats, in autumn you would harvest your barley and start making whisky.
Monkey Shoulder blended malt scotch whisky is blended from Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie whiskies. Which are represented with the 3 monkeys on the bottle.
“Marrying” is the bringing together of different components, usually in a blend, for a period of time to allow the favors to meld together.
Mackmyra Swedish single malt whisky distillery offers the whisky lover an option of buying your own cask.
Strathisla is the main single malt whisky used in the making of Chivas Regal blended whisky.
The traditional home of Johnnie Walker for nearly 200 years, the Kilmarnock bottling plant, was closed by Diageo in 2009.
In the 1960’s the Japanese whisky drinkers decided to add ice and water to their whisky to create a cold refreshing drink for hot summer days. It was called “Mizuwari” and typically severed in long glasses and accompanied with food.
Maker’s Mark Kentucky straight bourbon whiskies mash bill recipe doesn’t include rye, but contains yellow corn, red winter wheat and malted barley.
Steeping is the saturation of barley seeds to get an even growth of a Chit/ small green plant rootlets. It generally last around 2 days.
Spicy and Rye whiskies go well with parmesan cheese.
The fore shots can be anywhere from 5 to 30+/- minutes of the spirit run to get a clean good clarity, strength and temperature for the new make spirit or middle cut.
"“We are the only distillery in North America to hand malt our own barley and the only distillery on the planet to use apple and cherry wood smoke to flavor the malted barley.”"
- Rick Wasmund - maker of Wasmund’s Single Malt Whiskey
“Nose” (the aroma or smell of the whisky) can be described in 3 basic ways, Esters- which are floral and fruity, Phenols- which are peated and unpeated and Maltiness- which are nutty and spicy.
The Speyburn distillery was designed by legend Charles Doig in 1897.
Benromach Organic whisky is one of the first whiskies to be certified to Soil Association standards which applies to raw ingredients, distillation, maturing and bottling.
Talisker 10 Isle of Skye single malt whisky goes brilliantly with seafood.
American Distillery’s use unique strains of yeast to create unique flavors in their whiskeys.
European oak barrels (used first mainly by the sherry industry) generally add flavors of dried fruits, clove and tannins.
Scottish blended malts came about in the 1850’s due to the need to create a consistent tasting spirit.
Barry Crockett is Master Distiller at Midleton Distillery near Cork.
Salty John: 1 ¼ oz. whisky, 6 oz. grapefruit juice served over ice with salt-rimmed glass.
Maker’s Mark uses a roller mill rather than a hammer system to mill its grain. They believe the heat from the hammering results in a bitter taste in the grain.
The Society’s Special 14 Year Old Blend- Created and maintained by “The Wine Society”: robust, touch of smoke, with a creamy, fruity mouthfeel.
Wort is the sweet liquid made by combining hot water and grist which is drawn from the bottom of the mash ton.
The name "Ballechin" is used for the peated whisky made at Edradour distillery.
The Woodford Reserve distillery uses a higher than normal amount of rye grain in its whiskey to create spicy and liquorice notes.
Finishing or double maturation is an extension of the maturation process, when the spirit is filled into other empty spirit or wine casks for a desired amount to time to add more flavor.
Teeling "Single Malt" whiskey is finished in 5 different wines casks: Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Kilchoman is the first farmhouse distillery to be opened on Islay, Scotland in over 124 years.
Due to Prohibition, The Great Depression and World War 2, all major whiskey production in Kentucky and Tennessee was shut down from 1919 to 1946.
"“A teetotaller is one who suffers from thirst instead of enjoying it.”"
- Tom Dewar
A ”firkin” cask holds nine gallons or around 41 liters of spirit.
The inside of oak barrels are charred or toasted to create flavor compounds that react with the new make spirit.
Jameson, Powers and Redbreast whiskies are made by The Irish Distillers Limited.
Auchentoshan single malt whisky is sometimes referred to as “the Glasgow malt whisky”.
Unmalted barley adds dryness, spice and an oily characteristic to Irish potstill whiskey.
Crown Royal Canadian whisky original blend was created in 1939 to mark the visit to Canada by King George VI and Queen Elisabeth.
The pot stills which make Woodford Reserve whiskey were manufactured in Rothes, Scotland and shipped to Kentucky.
Drafts are spent grains from the mashing process used to feed cattle and livestock in Scotland.
Irish whiskey uses a lot of first fill casks to enhance its favors unlike most Scotch whiskies.
The Yamazaki 12- Japanese single malt whisky: Medium body with sweet and spicy notes followed by honey, dried fruits with a hint of oak.
A "single malt Scotch whisky" is made in Scotland using a pot still process at a single distillery and using malted barley as the only grain ingredient.
Ardbeg distillery uses a purifier at the top of the line arm in its second distillation to create complexity in its spirit.
The Tryconnell single malt Irish whiskey gets its name from the 100 to 1 winner of the Irish Classic horse race in 1876, which was won by the horse “The Tyrconnell.”
A worm tub is copper tubing submerged in cold water that condenses the alcohol vapor coming from the lyne arm of the still.
During prohibition in America, whiskey distillers made “Medicinal whiskey” to get around the ban on whiskey.
Glenmorangie pioneered the practice of finishing whiskies in alternative casks with the Port Wood finish in 1990.
The 2nd distilling process of low wines creates what is termed a new make spirit.
Spirit Carmel is used to standardize the color of whisky and is the only additive allowed besides cereals, water, yeast and oak in Scotch whisky.
Bushmills is the oldest licensed distillery in the world which was granted a distilling license in 1608.
Dewer’s, Johnny Walker, Chivas, and Jameson were some of the first brands in whisky and in the world.
Fermentation times for potstill whiskies range from 60 to 120 hours resulting in floral, fruity and estery flavors.
Old Pulteney 17- Highland single malt whisky: Complex, malt notes with slight liquorice followed by chocolate and a steady level of salt.
Whisky sidecar: 1 oz. whisky, ¼ oz. triple sec, 2 oz. sweet and sour mix shake with ice and strain into a sugar rimmed cocktail glass.
The heads or fore shots are the very first running of the still and are not suitable for consumption and must be re-distilled.
The complex and refined peat smoke flavor of Highland Park whisky is created by burning three different types of local peat.
"“A great whiskey is a whiskey that tells you a story, teaches you something you didn’t know, and also makes you glad.”"
- Charles K. Cowdery
Water is used twice in the whiskey making process. First during the mashing process and second during the condensing process.
Irish potstilled whiskies generally have rich oily, juicy and fruity characteristics, which separates them from other Irish whiskies.
Scapa 16- Orkney single malt whisky: Caramel with hints of vanilla, honey with grass notes.
Scotch whisky has to be above 40% Alc/ Vol to be called a Scotch.
Ledaig -Tobermory’s heavily peated single malt whisky- generates its unique flavor due to the “S” shaped lyne arms which give heavy reflux.
The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve Highland single malt whisky is said to go brilliantly with a Partagas No.2 or a Romeo y Julieta Churchill cigar.
The spirit run is separated into 3 parts: 1st is fore shots or heads, 2nd is the middle cut or heart, and 3rd is the tails or feints.
In Japan, whisky distilleries must make all their own spirit to produce blends and multiple styles of whisky as they don’t share spirits between distilleries.
Subtractive maturation is the process by which the oak barrel removes aggressive flavours of the spirit.
Four Roses Kentucky straight bourbon is owned by Japanese beer giant Kirin.
Redbreast pot still whiskey was originally produced in 1939 for Gilbey’s by the original Jameson distillery.
Whisky Highball: 1 ¼ oz. whisky, 5 oz. of ginger ale serve in a highball glass over ice.
Reflux refers to the vapour that falls back down into the still and is distilled again until it makes it over the lyne arm for condensing.
Springbank distillery distills Springbank whisky 2.5 times, Longrow whisky 2 times and Hazelburn whisky 3 times.
Lord Elcho 15- Wemyss blended scotch whisky: Creamy with malt notes followed by a hint of chocolate, vanilla and spice.
Alcohol strength in American “Proof” is generally 2 X the “number” percent Alcohol Volume stated on the bottle. So 45 % Alc/Vol is around 90 Proof.
Mortlach was the first distillery built in Dufftown in 1823.
Teeling "Single Grain" Irish whiskey is aged in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon barrels.
The lyne arm or swans neck is the point where the copper still turns or bends to allow distilled alcohol vapor to fall into the condenser.
Heaven Hill distillery in Louisville, Kentucky produces a range of whiskies such as Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Henry McKenna, Mellow Corn and Georgia Moon Corn.
American oak barrels (200 Liters), Hog heads (250 Liters) and Sherry butts (500 Liters) are the 3 main types of oak barrels used to age whisky.
Japanese whisky mashing produces “crystal clear wort” which has no nutty or malty characteristics this, in turn, intensifies the clarity of floral, estery and other flavors.
Glenkinchie single malt whisky is sometimes referred to as “the Edinburgh malt whisky”.
Whisky sour: 1 ¼ oz. of whisky, 1 dash bitters, 1/6 oz. of simple syrup. Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
When choosing water for the whisky making process, a low calcium, low magnesium source is usually preferred.