You’ll notice we’ve dropped the “e” in whisky this section of the different styles of whiskey. That’s because Scotch whisky (aka Scotch) is labelled without it. In order to be called Scotch whisky, it must be distilled and bottled in Scotland.
Scotch is split into five separate categories – single malt Scotch whisky, single grain Scotch whisky, blended malt Scotch whisky, blended grain Scotch whisky, and blended Scotch whisky.
The most popular and traditional version of Scotch is single malt, which means that it is distilled from water and malted barley, without any other cereals such as wheat.
Some single malt scotches, such as Laphroaig, dry their malt over a peat fire from anywhere between 18-30 hours, which gives it a deep smokey taste.
Good Scotch has a tendency to be pretty pricey, and if you’re trying the different styles of whiskey some of the most famous brands include Macallan, Glenfiddich, and Johnnie Walker. There are over 130 malt and grain distilleries within Scotland, so there are lots of different options to choose from.
How to Enjoy
How you enjoy your scotch depends greatly on the price you paid for it. If you are drinking a single malt scotch in the price category of $150+, you probably want to drink it neat so that you can enjoy the flavors you are paying for. There are some classic scotch cocktails to be enjoyed though, including a Scotch Sour or Penicillin.
American whiskey is split into three camps – Bourbon, Tennessee, and Rye. These different styles of whiskey all have very different flavor profiles.
We’ve covered bourbon and rye pretty extensively, from their composition to their aging process. Simply put, bourbon contains at least 51% corn. Rye contains at least 51% rye. But Tennessee whiskey is a slightly different story.
Tennessee whiskey is very much like bourbon, except they use a filtering technique called ‘the Lincoln County Process” prior to aging the whiskey. This process filters the whiskey through charcoal chips before it heads to the casks. This step supposedly mellows the flavors of the whisky, giving it a smooth finish.
There are about 2,000 whiskey distilleries in the United States, and so many are recognized brands. You should aim to try a few of the different styles of whiskey available in the United States.
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The most famous of the Tennessee whiskey producers is Jack Daniels, which prides itself as being distinctly different (and better) than bourbon.
How to Enjoy
Rye, bourbon, and Tennessee whiskeys can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail. Try a classic whiskey cocktail such as whiskey smash, an adventurous cinnamon maple whiskey sour, or a simple rye and coke.