Whisky 101 – an introduction to whisky. The basics explained.

Whisky (or Whiskey if we’re talking about the US or Irish version), is one of the best ways I know to savour an incredibly interesting spirit and enter a beautiful state of relaxation. Whether it’s an evening by the fireplace or a social gathering with friends, this is one sure way to enhance your evening.

Here’s what you need to know about the different types of whisky and how to enjoy them.


Scotch is usually made from barley and then aged in oak barrels for at least 3 years in Scotland. Its flavours vary significantly from one part of Scotland to another. For example, Island Scotch has more peat and smoke on the palate than Highland or Speyside scotch.


These are Scotch whiskies that are distilled in one distillery from a single malted grain (malt) and are distilled in copper pot stills. This is where you can discover a wide range of individual personality and character. By comparison, blended whiskies are not subject to these limitations, and the blends wind up smoother and more approachable to the average palate, yet lacking in the personality, enthusiasts might argue.


This fine beverage doesn’t have the distinctive peat or smoke. But it has a smoothness that is enticing. Irish whiskey is distilled three times, while Scotch is distilled only twice. You may also notice a sweeter character with notes of vanilla.


This American Whiskey will impart notes of vanilla and caramel within a fairly robust presentation compared to Irish Whiskey. It is made from a minimum of 51% corn, usually a lot more because corn is cheaper than other grains. There’s a rich Kentucky tradition to Bourbon.


Rye has spicy and edgy flavours. To qualify, it has to be distilled from a minimum of 51% rye.


Canadian, English, German, Austrian, and Indian whiskies also have storied histories.


Why not start experimenting. It’s a worthy enterprise!
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Published by Paul Singer

Personal: wine, travel, people. Professional: writer/blogger, mentor, marketer. One side of my life is as "The Wine Baron." The other sides include a broad range of business endeavours, including marketing of cool and innovative products.

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