Discussion about Whiskey and the Industry
Presented by John Thomas
American whiskey is distilled from a fermented mash of cereal grain. It must have the taste, aroma, and other characteristics commonly attributed to whiskey. These types of American whiskey must be distilled to no more than 80% alcohol by volume, and barrelled at no more than 125 proof. Only water may be added to the final product; the addition of colouring or flavouring is prohibited. These whiskeys must be aged in new charred-oak containers, except for corn whiskey which does not have to be aged.
Some types of whiskey listed in the United State are:
- Bourbon whiskey—made from mash that consists of at least 51% corn (maize)
- Corn whiskey—made from mash that consists of at least 80% corn
- 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
Scotch whiskies are generally distilled twice, although some are distilled a third time and others even up to twenty times. Scotch Whisky Regulations require anything bearing the label “Scotch” to be distilled in Scotland and matured for a minimum of three years in oak casks, among other, more specific criteria. An age statement on the bottle, in the form of a number, must reflect the age of the youngest Scotch whisky used to produce that product. A whisky with an age statement is known as guaranteed age whisky. Scotch whisky without an age statement may, by law, be as young as three years old. The basic types of Scotch are malt and grain, which are combined to create blends. The distinctive smoky flavour that can often be found in Scotch is due to the use of peat smoke to treat their malt. Scotch malt whiskies are divided into five main regions: Highland, Lowland, Islay, Speyside and Campbeltown.