Whiskey Glossary
BlueKitchen.net
BlueKitchen.net
Here's a breakdown of some helpful terms that pertain to the lovely siren we call whiskey:

· American Blended Whiskey : A blend of which at least 20% is 100-proof straight whiskey.  The rest of the blend may include other whiskies and/or neutral grain spirits.  (examples:  Seagram's 7, Kessler, Beam's 8 Star)
· Bourbon Whiskey : A distinctive product of the U.S. made from a fermented mash containing at least 51% corn.  It must be produced at no more than 160 proof and aged in new, charred oak barrels for at least 2 years.  (examples:  Maker's Mark, Jim Beam, Old Grandad)
· Canadian Whisky :  The distinctive national whisky of Canada.  All Canadian whisky sold in the U.S. is a blend of several different whiskies.  Traditionally, blended Canadian whisky contains a high percentage of rye, as well as barley, corn, and wheat.  (examples:  Crown Royal, Black Velvet, Canadian Club)
· Irish Whiskey  :  The distinctive national whiskey of Ireland.  Most Irish whiskey is a blend of several whiskies of different ages.  Malted barley, unmalted barley, and other grains (rye, corn) are used.  (examples:  Bushmills, Jameson, John Power & Sons, Tullamore Dew)
· Proof :  A statement of alcohol content.  Proof is two times the percentage of alcohol by volume.  (For example, 80 proof means it is 40% alcohol.)
· Rye Whiskey :  Made from a fermented mash containing at least 51% rye.  It must be produced at no more than 160 proof and aged in new, charred oak barrels for at least 2 years to be designated as "straight."  (examples:  Old Overholt, Rittenhouse Rye, Wild Turkey Rye)
· Scotch Whisky  :  The distinctive national whisky of Scotland.  Single Malt Scotches are made entirely from malted barley and are the product of a single distillery.  Blended scotch whiskies are a mixture of several different malt whiskies, plus grain alcohol.  (examples:  Johnnie Walker, Cutty Sark, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Macallan)
· Sour Mash  :  A process developed by Dr. James C. Crow around 1835 to provide uniformity in bourbon production.  A portion of the previous day's mash is added to the new mash to ensure consistent quality and character.
· Tennessee Whiskey  :  Straight whiskey distilled in Tennessee from a fermented mash containing at least 51% corn, then leeched through charcoal before aging.  (examples:  Jack Daniel's, Dickel)
The question I'm often asked is:  What is the difference between bourbon and whiskey?  ...or.. What is the difference between Scotch and whiskey?  It's a common misconception that the term "whiskey" refers to one certain taste or brand and that Bourbon and Scotch are a liquor all their own.  Not so.  Whiskey is a common type of liquor.  It is produced and bottled all over the world, each country in its own way.  Bourbon is America's version of whiskey...Scotch is Scotland's...and Candadian is...well...you get the idea.  But, make no mistake...they are all whiskies.  There are five major categories of whiskey for sale:  Bourbon, American Blended, Scotch, Irish, and Canadian.

There are taste differences between the major whiskies, of course.  The main distinction in the taste of Scotch is its smoky peat flavor.  It can easily be called an acquired taste, but those that acquire it...crave it.  Irish, similarly, has a barley-malt whiskey taste without the smokiness.  Scotch and Irish are, mostly, lighter whiskies than the American bourbons and blends.  They are usually aged in old, previously used barrels and require a bit more time to reach maturation.  Single malt scotches, typically, range from 10 to 30 years aging. 

Bourbon, on the other hand, owes much of its taste to the rye and corn grains used.  Bourbon is also considered a "fuller bodied" whiskey than Scotch or Irish and some say it does have a bit more of a "sweet" taste on the palate (and by that I do not mean sugary).  In the production of bourbon, only new, charred oak barrels are used in the aging process, which enables bourbon to reach maturity quicker than Scotch.  Regardless, when dealing with whiskies, age is a fair gauge on how smooth the whiskey will be.  The longer in the barrel, the more "complete" that whiskey will be.
The question I'm often asked is:  What is the difference between bourbon and whiskey?  ...or.. What is the difference between Scotch and whiskey?  It's a common misconception that the term "whiskey" refers to one certain taste or brand and that Bourbon and Scotch are a liquor all their own.  Not so.  Whiskey is a common type of liquor.  It is produced and bottled all over the world, each country in its own way.  Bourbon is America's version of whiskey...Scotch is Scotland's...and Candadian is...well...you get the idea.  But, make no mistake...they are all whiskies.  There are five major categories of whiskey for sale:  , American Blended, Scotch, , and

There are taste differences between the major whiskies, of course.  The main distinction in the taste of Scotch is its smoky peat flavor.  It can easily be called an acquired taste, but those that acquire it...crave it.  Irish, similarly, has a barley-malt whiskey taste without the smokiness.  Scotch and Irish are, mostly, lighter whiskies than the American bourbons and blends.  They are usually aged in old, previously used barrels and require a bit more time to reach maturation.  Single malt scotches, typically, range from 10 to 30 years aging. 

Bourbon, on the other hand, owes much of its taste to the rye and corn grains used.  Bourbon is also considered a "fuller bodied" whiskey than Scotch or Irish and some say it does have a bit more of a "sweet" taste on the palate (and by that I do not mean sugary).  In the production of bourbon, only new, charred oak barrels are used in the aging process, which enables bourbon to reach maturity quicker than Scotch.  Regardless, when dealing with whiskies, age is a fair gauge on how smooth the whiskey will be.  The longer in the barrel, the more "complete" that whiskey will be.
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