How to pick the perfect whiskey

How to pick the perfect whiskey

5 minute

There are many reasons why people enjoy drinking whiskey neat or in a cocktail. For some, it is the smooth, rich flavor that is so pleasurable to sip. For others, it's the history and tradition behind the drink that is most appealing. Whiskey has been around for centuries, with its origins tracing back to the 15th century. In that time, it has been enjoyed by kings and presidents, movie stars and musicians. It has been a drink of choice for celebrating special occasions, or simply for unwinding at the end of a long day. There are now many different types of whiskey available, from the traditional Scotch and Irish whiskeys, to the more modern American and Japanese varieties. No matter what your preference, there is sure to be a whiskey out there that you will enjoy.

Bourbon

Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey Bottle

American bourbon is a unique and iconic American spirit. Unlike other whiskies, bourbon is made with at least 51% corn, and is aged in new, charred oak barrels. This gives bourbon its distinctive flavor: sweet, with a hint of vanilla and oak. Bourbon has a long and storied history in the United States. It was first produced in the 18th century, in the area that is now Kentucky. Bourbon quickly became popular, and by the 19th century it was the most popular type of whiskey in the country. During the American Civil War, bourbon production declined as distilleries were destroyed and corn became scarce. However, after the war, bourbon production quickly rebounded. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bourbon was commonly used as a currency, and many distilleries began selling their whiskey in barrels (thus the origin of the term "barrel-aged"). Today, bourbon is produced all over the United States, but most of it still comes from Kentucky. There are many different brands of bourbon, each with its own unique flavor. Some of the most popular brands include Maker's Mark, Jim Beam, and Kentucky Straight Bourbon.

Scotch

Jonnie Walker Scotch Whisky

Scotch is a type of whiskey that originates in Scotland. It is made from malted barley and is typically aged in oak barrels for at least three years. Scotch is known for its smoky, peaty flavor, which is a result of the barrels it is aged in. There are many different types of scotch, depending on the region it is from and the distilling process. Scotch is distilled in one of five areas in Scotland, including Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Campeltown, and Islay. There are also five different types of Scotch - single malt, blended malt, single grain, blended grain and blended. Single malt scotch is made from 100% malted barley and is typically the most expensive. It is also the most flavorful, with a complex taste that can include notes of fruits, flowers, and smoke. Blended scotch is made from a mixture of malted and unmalted barley. It is less expensive than single malt scotch and has a more neutral flavor. Blended malt scotch is made from a mixture of different single malt scotches.

Irish Whiskey

Jameson Irish Whiskey Bottle

Irish whiskey is a type of whiskey that is produced in, you guessed it, Ireland. It is made from a mash of cereal grains and is typically distilled three times. Irish whiskey has a distinct taste and is often smoother than other types of whiskey. There are many different brands of Irish whiskey, some of which are very well-known. Jameson is one of the most popular Irish whiskey brands and is enjoyed by many people around the world. Other popular brands include Bushmills, Tullamore Dew, and Redbreast. Irish whiskey is often enjoyed neat or on the rocks. However, it can also be used in cocktails. One of FICKS favorite Irish whiskey cocktails is the Irish Coffee, made expertly at our hometown bar the Buena Vista Cafe.

Japanese Whisky

Suntori Japanese Whisky

No, we didn't spell whisky wrong! The first thing to know about Japanese whisky is that it's spelled without an 'e' - Japanese whisky. Japanese whisky is however modeled after the scotch tradition—double distilling malted and/or peated barley—before it's aged in wood barrels. As opposed to the sweeter American bourbons and ryes, they tend to be drier, smokier, and peatier, and come as single malts or blendsSome distilleries in Japan use barrels made of wood unique to Japan, giving Japanese whisky an aged-flavor you won't see in American or European whiskeys. There are a number of different Japanese whisky brands, including Suntory, Nikka, and Yamazaki. Japanese whisky has a reputation for being high quality, and it is often served neat.

Canadian Whisky

Canadian Whiskey

There goes that 'e' again! Most Canadian whiskies are blended multi-grain liquors containing a large percentage of corn spirits, and are typically lighter and smoother than other whiskey styles. When Canadian distillers began adding small amounts of rye grain to their mashes 200 years ago, this created the classification of "rye whisky". Rye Whisky and Canadian Whisky are now used interchangeably and refer to the same product.
The Canadian government has strictly regulated the production of rye whisky since then. Canadian rye whisky must be aged in wooden barrels for a minimum of three years. The barrels must be made of new, charred oak and must be filled with at least 51% rye grain. Canadian rye whisky is a versatile spirit that can be enjoyed on its own or in cocktails. It is commonly used in mixed drinks such as the Manhattan or the Old Fashioned.

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