Showing posts with label Whiskey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Whiskey. Show all posts

Feb 2, 2018

Scotch, Bourbon, Rye

For those sipping during the big game, this should provide a conversation starter. "If you are a cognac, you have to be made in the Cognac region. If you are a champagne, you have to be made in the Champagne region. It is the same for scotch. Single-malt scotch whisky is made at a single distillery, exclusively from malted barley, and must be aged for at least three years in oak casks.
Bourbon and rye are native American spirits. Aside from the point of origin, what differentiates variants of whiskey (Irish and Americans), or whisky (Scots) is the 'mash bill', or list of ingredients used to make it.

Bourbon in the US must have 51% or more corn, and the rest of the mash bill is traditionally rye and malted barley.
All bourbon is whiskey but not all whiskey is bourbon.

Rye whiskey must have 51% or more rye, and the rest is usually corn and malted barley.

In addition, both must be aged in brand new American oak barrels.

Jan 8, 2016

Decanting Wine and Whiskey

According to the Scotch Whisky Association, whiskey, once bottled, is a finished product, “If you keep a 12 year old bottle for 100 years, it will always remain a 12 year old whisky.”

The reasons whiskey remains basically the same while wine changes have to do with a couple factors: tannins and alcohol content. Wine has much more tannin content than whiskey. Whiskey has no innate tannins, and only gets a small amount from the barrel in which it ages. Tannins can cause change in a bottle of wine over time, for better or worse.  Whiskey has less tannins, it does not have much chance for major evolutions in flavor.

More important than tannins: alcohol content. Wines may have between 11 and 15%, or higher but almost all whiskeys are bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV. With such high alcohol content, the possibility for a dramatic chemical reaction from oxidation is much lower.

Whiskey can change at all over time, especially if it has been exposed to sunlight or temperature fluctuations.

Wine decanters are specifically designed to encourage interaction between liquid and air, always without a cap.  Whiskey decanters tend to be built for stability, have glass tops, and usually have a wide bottom. Air is not a factor in whiskey decanters, because it does make much difference.

So, wine is decanted for flavor and whiskey is decanted for looks. Incidentally, do not use a lead crystal decanter, because over a long period of time it could leach into the whiskey.

Jun 12, 2015

Whiskey Name Origins

Four Roses Co-founder Paul Jones Jr. trademarked the Four Roses name in 1888. The story is that Paul Jones Jr. and his father, Paul Jones Sr., had opened a grocery and warehouse in Atlanta and the younger Paul became interested in distilling. At the time, he was also courting a local lady, and asked for her hand in marriage. They agreed that, at a grand ball they were to attend, if she were to accept his proposal of marriage, she would wear a corsage of four red roses. She wore the corsage and the two were married.

Knob Creek is produced at the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Kentucky, US. It is named for the creek that ran behind Abraham Lincoln’s childhood Kentucky home. The late Booker Noe, Jim Beam’s sixth generation master distiller, chose the name because he thought it reflected his values in making whiskey.

The rye whiskey brand name Whistlepig comes from the 'single oddest piece of social interaction' that founder Raj Bhakta had ever experienced. Bhakta was hiking outside of Denver, Colorado, US. “Out of the blue popped a guy with a thick French accent and a big shock of white hair,” says Raj. “He got very close into my personal space and asked ‘Could it be? A whistlepig?' I had no idea what he was talking about or what he was looking at. When I didn’t understand, he snapped in my face and repeated himself. When I still didn’t understand, he flicked his wrist and took off.”

The Wild Turkey name dates back to the 1940s, “Thomas McCarthy, an executive from Austin, Nichols the company that made the whiskey at the time, took all the New York business folks on a big turkey hunt every year.” The trip’s festivities would include hunting and whiskey. That year, he pulled 101 proof bourbon for the guests. The next year, they asked him to bring the same bourbon. He pulled a sample, and the brand’s name was born.

Apr 3, 2015

What's in a Name, Cutty Sark

"Cutty Sark" is a brand of whisky, and before that it was the name of a legendary sailing ship. Originally, it referred to ladies' underwear. Cutty sark comes from the now outdated words cutty (short) and sark (shirt). The term first appeared in an 18th century Scottish poem where it described a skimpy nightgown worn by a seductive, but dangerous witch.

Incidentally, since the 1960s, American writers have increasingly used whiskey as the accepted spelling for aged grain spirits made in the US and whisky for aged grain spirits made outside the US. However, some prominent American brands, such as George Dickel, Maker's Mark, and Old Forester use the 'whisky' spelling on their labels, and the Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits, the legal regulations for spirit in the US, also use the 'whisky' spelling throughout.

Whisky/ey is an umbrella term for a type of spirit distilled from a mash of fermented grains. Within the broad category of whisky/ey are sub-categories, including bourbon, rye, Tennessee, Scotch, Irish, and Canadian style whiskies. Whisky usually denotes Scotch whisky and Scotch-inspired liquors, and whiskey denotes the Irish and American liquors.

A way to remember - Countries that have E’s in their names (UnitEd StatEs and IrEland) tend to spell it whiskEy (plural whiskeys). Countries without E’s in their names (Canada, Scotland, and Japan) spell it whisky (plural whiskies)