Whiskey is not just a drink. It’s something more. The drink is so beloved that music artists from Country to Rock sing about them. Not only that but they name the title after it. “Whiskey On The Rocks” by AC/DC, “Whiskey In The Jar” by Metallica, “Whiskey Lullaby” by Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss, and “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton are just a few of the more popular songs. There are hundreds of songs with Whiskey in the title and even more that reference whiskey in the lyrics. So as you can see, it’s a pretty popular drink.
A Little History On Whiskey
Whisky, or sometimes spelled whiskey, is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Various grains are used for different varieties including barley, corn, rye, and wheat. Whisky is typically aged in wooden casks, generally made of charred white oak. Whiskey is highly regulated across the world as it is produced in many different countries. The common factors between them all is the use of grains, distilling, and aging in casks.
The first record of whisky production comes from Scotland in 1494. In its first stages, whiskey was not aged in casks like it is now so it was a very raw drink. Over time the process was refined and the drink was not as potent.
In 1725 most of Scotland’s distilling was shut down by the English Malt Tax. Scottish distillers were still determined to get their product and so they hid the distillers anywhere they would not be found by the tax collectors. They would then come out at night and do their work to hide the smoke from the still. Because they did this at night the drink became known as moonshine.
America has also become a large producer of whiskey. Some types of whiskey listed in the United States federal regulations are:
- Bourbon whiskey: made from mash that consists of at least 51% corn (maize) and aged in new charred oak barrels.
- Corn whiskey: made from mash that consists of at least 80% corn and is not aged, or, if aged, is aged in uncharred or used barrels.
- Malt whiskey: made from mash that consists of at least 51% malted barley
- Rye whiskey: made from mash that consists of at least 51% rye
- Rye malt whiskey: made from mash that consists of at least 51% malted rye
- Wheat whiskey: made from mash that consists of at least 51% wheat
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The Different Styles Of Whiskey
Malt whisky is made primarily from malted barley. Grain whisky is made from any type of grain. Malts and grains are combined in various ways according to wikipedia:
Single Malt Whisky is whisky from a single distillery made from a mash that uses only one particular malted grain. Unless the whisky is described as single-cask, it contains whisky from many casks, and different years, so the blender can achieve a taste recognisable as typical of the distillery. In most cases, single malts bear the name of the distillery, with an age statement and perhaps some indication of some special treatments, such as maturation in a port wine cask.
Blended Malt Whiskey is a different distilleries. If a whisky is labelled “pure malt” or just “malt” it is almost certainly a blended malt whisky. This was formerly called a “vatted malt” whisky.
Blended Whisky is made from a mixture of different types of whisky. A blend may contain whisky from many distilleries so that the blender can produce a flavour consistent with the brand. The brand name may, therefore, omit the name of a distillery. Most Scotch, Irish and Canadian whisky is sold as part of a blend, even when the spirits are the product of one distillery, as is common in Canada. American blended whisky may contain neutral spirits.
Cask Strength (also known as barrel proof) whiskies are rare, and usually only the very best whiskies are bottled in this way. They are bottled from the cask undiluted or only lightly diluted.
Single Cask (also known as single barrel) whiskies are bottled from an individual cask, and often the bottles are labelled with specific barrel and bottle numbers. The taste of these whiskies may vary substantially from cask to cask within a brand.
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The Most Expensive Whiskies In The World
Dalmore 62 Single Highland Malt Scotch Matheson 1942
Dalmore 62 is part of a limited edition series as the company has released only twelve bottles. This particular bottle was named after the owner of the estate Alexander Matheson and is the most expensive whiskey. The most expensive whiskey Dalmore 62 Single Highland Malt Scotch Matheson 1942 was released in the year 1942 as the label suggests.
Springbank 1919 is a popular single malt Scotch whiskey that has a popular following. This distillery bottled beverage is part of 1919 vintage and was bottled in the year 1970. The whiskey was created by traditional methods of production and hence is very valuable. It is also a limited edition unit as the brand released only twenty-four bottles.
The Macallan 64 in Lalique Cire Perdue Expensive Whiskey
Macallan 64 in Lalique Cire Perdue is a 64-year-old single malt whiskey from the Speyside distillery. The premium quality and aged whiskey were created by blending the beverage from three Spanish oak casks of years 1946, 1945 and 1942.
The Macallan 1926 60-year-old
The ultra-rare beverage was distilled in the year 1926 and after sixty years bottled in the year 1986. It was aged for six decades in ex-sherry casks in the Macallan distillery in Scotland.
Isabella’s Islay is one of the finest whiskeys you will ever taste. It is made of quality and rare ingredients. The single malt Islay Scotch Whiskey is 30-years-old. The decanter was made in the year 2010 and is studded with three hundred rubies and eight thousand five hundred diamonds. The stopper is made from expensive white gold and the peak with the finest English crystal.
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Whiskey Drinks And Recipes
Gramps would say “Just drink it already”, but the times? They are a’ changin. Check out the spruceeats.com for some great recipes like these.
- Gather the ingredients.
- Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes.
- Stir well.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with the cherry.
An Old Fashioned
- Gather the ingredients.
- Place the sugar cube at the bottom of an old-fashioned glass.
- Saturate the cube with bitters, add an orange slice if you like, and muddle.
- Fill the glass with ice.
- Add the whiskey and stir well. Finish it off with a splash of club soda if you prefer.
- Garnish with an orange peel and cherry.