Difference Between Irish And Scotch Whiskey

Final Say On The Difference Between Irish Whiskey And Scotch

Scotch Vs Irish Whiskey | Whiskey With Wes

So, since whisky needs to be created in a specific place to receive the full title, there is no such thing as Irish Scotch whiskey. Better yet two regions that have crafted their product and refined their processes to bring you the very best that malted barley can create.

The difference between Irish Whiskey and Scotch Whisky is evident through a range of factors. Whether youre looking at the use of malted barley or purely grain, warmer temperatures, or around two decades of aging, there are tons of factors that influence the taste of your favorite whiskey.

Key Difference Between Scotch And Whiskey

The most obvious answer and key distinction is that they come from two separate countries.

Whiskey is Irish and Scotch is Scottish.

Keen-eyed observers will notice that Scotch Whisky and Irish Whiskey are also spelt differently .

So is Scotch whiskey? Nope, its whisky.

But in addition to these differences, Scotch and Whiskey are manufactured using different ingredients and with different production methods, resulting in two spirits that are alike, yet with significant distinctions.

Alcohol By Volume Level

The alcohol content of Whiskeys can smack you down if you are not aware of the quantity. Most Scotch Whiskeys like Johnnie Walker have 40% alcohol by volume . It is aged from ten to twelve years or more that it makes the taste smooth, smoky, and malty, good for straight-up shots.

An Irish Whiskey usually comes with a 40% ABV of 120 proof. One of the famous Irish Whiskey worldwide is Jameson. But, how many calories are in scotch whiskey?

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Scotch May Have Strict Rules But Irish Whiskey Regulations Focus On Quality And Variety

Irish whiskey was formalised by The Irish Whiskey Act of 1980, explains Ronan Collins, brand ambassador for Jameson. Put simply, it needs to be distilled to no higher than 94.8% ABV, aged in wood for a minimum of three years and bottled at no less than 40% ABV.

It sounds strict. Sure, it may not have the countless controls and caveats imposed by the Scotch Whisky Association, but not any old distiller can create the Irish spirit. However, where Scotch is creatively suppressed by the rules Irish whiskeys dictums stand to enforce quality and encourage experimentation.

Which Scotch Whiskey Is The Best

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Single malt Scotch whiskey is the most popular one these days. This is a whiskey that is made by one single distillery that uses only malted barley. There are no other cereals in this whiskey, and it has to be produced and bottled in Scotland.

Another type of Scotch whiskey is single grain, which is not as common in the rest of the world. The production starts only with malted barley, but then whole grains or cereals are added. This is usually the Scotch that is used in blended whiskey as well.

The next type of Scotch is a blended whiskey, which is made from at least one or more single malt whiskey blended with a single grain whiskey.

Blended Scotch whiskey constitutes about 90% of all Scotch produced in Scotland. You may be familiar with some brands, such as Johnnie Walker and Chivas Regal.

One type of Scotch whiskey that is far less common across the world is blended malt Scotch. It was called a vatted malt or pure malt, and it is made using two or more malt Scotch whiskeys from different distilleries. This whiskey should not contain any grain whiskey at all.

A final type of Scotch whiskey is double malt Scotch. However, this Scotch is no different except that it was aged in two or more types of casks. This whiskey remains in the single malt category, but it is often called double or triple malt instead.

As with Irish whiskey, choosing the best Scotch whiskey depends mostly on taste and cost. For most, single malt Scotch is the purest, but it is also often the priciest.

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The Difference In Taste Between Irish Whiskey Vs Scotch

The final key difference between Scotch and Irish whiskey is the taste. Scotch Whisky is made from malted barley and often features a fuller, heavier taste than most other whiskies.

Irish whiskey, on the other hand, is renowned for its smooth flavour and hints of vanilla, thanks to its triple distillation and use of unmalted barley . It tends to show up in blends a lot more frequently due to this easy taste.

The materials used in the process of making whiskeys are also integral to their final flavour profiles.

Both Scotland and Ireland use oak casks. These have a pronounced effect on a whiskeys flavour, which can vary based on the conditions and type of the cask used. Ex-Bourbon casks, for example, contribute to a sweeter flavour, while Sherry casks often mean a fruitier or spicier taste.

Best Value: Slane Irish Whiskey

Region: Ireland | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Caramel, vanilla, dried fruit

Slane hails from the Boyne River Valley, which was once home to many other distilleries, and is one of the few that has revitalized the tradition. Distilled on the grounds housing the old Slane Castle, this Irish whiskey is aged in a selection of three different casks: virgin oak, seasoned whiskey, and Oloroso sherry. Its bold and layered with flavors of caramel, vanilla, and dried fruit. With its rich history, complex flavor, and pedigreed musical ties , this affordable bottling is a steal.

It works in a variety of ways, says Alicia Yamachika, lead bartender at Nobu Honolulu. The three different casks it ages in all add a little something different to be enjoyed. Tame the spice with an ice cube or use its heft to your advantage in a cocktail like an old fashioned or a New York sour.

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“I’m a big fan of Slane Whiskey. It’s really lovely on its own, but because of its soft and approachable profile, it works well in lighter whiskey cocktails. And you can’t beat the price point.” Prairie Rose, Editor

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Why Is Scotch More Expensive Than Bourbon

All liquor is priced keeping the demand, supply, and production factors in consideration. Therefore, Scotch is an expensive deal if you are from the United States. Despite the fact that the United States is the largest consumer of Scotch, the product is still imported, so it is quite expensive as you must pay for shipping and respective levies, tariffs, and other charges. Then theres the demand factor Scotch is in high demand and has a limited supply, which increases prices.

Moreover, different types of grain are used to make alcohol. Corn is the most common and least expensive of these grains because it is easily converted into alcohol, such as Bourbon, and thus less expensive. On the other hand, a single malt Scotch is made with barley, which is a more expensive item to grow. Plus Scotch takes a longer and more detailed methodology for production.


Scotch Vs Whiskey Different Distillation Process

Bourbon, Irish Whiskey and Scotch

The two spirits are distilled in slightly different ways too.

The stills used vary, with Scotch distilleries commonly using larger stills in a wide variety of shapes. Although the Scots produce all single malts in copper pot stills.

In Ireland much of the whiskey is distilled in pot stills, which are short, squat round stills that give a broader flavour.

The use of these stills in conjunction with a mixture of malted and unmalted barley resulted in one of Irelands most distinctive blends, pot still whiskey.

In addition, most whisky in Scotland is distilled twice whereas with Irish Whiskey the process is usually undertaken three times. There are exceptions to this for eaxample Lowland Scotch malts use triple distillation just like the Irish do. Also, the Spingbank distillery in Campbeltown, distills Spingbank 2-1/2.

This extra step in the distillation process results in a lighter drink which typically has a smoother flavour.

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History Of Irish Whiskey And Scotch

Irelands Bushmills distillery in the picturesque northern county of Antrim is said to be the worlds oldest / ©Shutterstock

Although the jury might still be out on who gave birth to the strong stuff, what can be agreed is that both countries have a long and distinguished pedigree of producing world-class whiskey. Ireland is home to Bushmills, the worlds oldest licensed whiskey distillery, with the Antrim producers official records stretching back to 1609 a whole 165 years before Scotlands disputed first distillery, The Glenturret.

But official openings dont give us the full picture, and in actual fact, the first official record of Irish whiskey is from 1405, much to the upset of the Scots, whose earliest written evidence is nearly 90 years later in 1494. Truth be told, whiskey production was widespread in both countries hundreds of years prior to this.

Although Ireland was once the worlds dominant producer, all that changed with a string of 20th century events that would nearly wipe out the Irish industry namely the Irish War of Independence and the hefty export tariffs and restrictions that followed, not to mention two world wars as well as US prohibition. By 1980, there were just two functioning distilleries left on the entire island of Ireland. The 20th century was a very different story for Scotch, and by 1994 Scottish whisky exports were worth a record $2.8 billion.


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Bar Catering In Dallas: Irish Whiskey

The Irish are known for their easy-going, unhurried attitudes. Unsurprisingly, the rules for Irish Whiskey are just as relaxed, stating that any type of cereal grains are acceptable ingredients and if more than one grain is used, it must be labeled as blended. The only other requirement is that it must be aged for three years using wooden casks. All whiskey produced in Ireland is considered Irish Whiskey. These loose rules encourage many different flavors and nuances in wonderful Irish Whiskeys. Irish Whiskey, though less sweet than Bourbon, is quite smooth. It can also be complex, with deep flavors.

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Is Scotch Smoother Than Whiskey

This is the reason American whiskies tend to be dark and heavy in vanilla flavor, while scotch is a softer, smoother drink. The different types of whiskies are identified based on the combination of three factors: the grain used, barrel maturation, and the country of origins legal definition of whiskey.

Is Jameson a Scotch?

Jameson is produced from a blend of grain whiskey and single pot still whiskey, which uses a mixture of malted and unmalted or green Irish barley, all sourced from within a fifty-mile radius around the distillery in Cork.

Fermentation Process: Scotch Whisky Vs Irish Whiskey > > Malted Vs Un

Difference Between Rye Whiskey, Irish Whiskey and Scotch Whisky

The biggest difference between the fermentation processes for malt scotch and Irish whiskeys is the exclusive use of malted barley for single malt scotch versus a blend of malted and unmalted barley in the production of Irish pot still whiskey.

Both Irish and Scots distillers each have centuries-long histories of evading the kings tax collectors. In Ireland, the use of unmalted barley came about due to a loophole in whiskey tax law.

Traditionally, a portion of malted barley was used in every whiskey mash due to the enzymatic properties of the grain. To malt barley, a brewmaster or whiskey maker first soaks the grain to induce fermentation, then quickly exposes the germinating seed to heat to halt the process. This small barley shoot contains enough enzymes to help convert the starches in the entire mash whether it be combined with wheat, corn, rye or another grain into sugars the yeast can then turn into alcohol.

Scotch single malt, by contrast, must contain 100 percent malted barley in the grain bill.

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Scotch And Irish Whiskeys Both Use Oak Casks

Although there are differences in parts of the processes associated with making scotch whisky and Irish whiskey, there are some similarities. One such similarity is that both types of whiskey are left to age using oak casks.

These can have a profound effect on the flavor of the whiskey in question. Many of these casks will have been used previously for holding and aging other drinks.

For instance, a whiskey aged in a barrel previously used for Sherry may have a fruity or spicier taste.

In contrast, a whiskey aged in a cask previously used for bourbon may have a sweeter flavor.

Both types of whiskey are left to age in their barrels for at least three years.

How Are They Similar

One of the similarities of the whiskies is their use of oak casks, where the maturation and the aging process happen. Scotch Whiskey and Irish Whiskey may use Bourbon casks that produce a sweeter flavor or Sherry casks that gives fruity and spice notes to enhance the taste and mix the blends well.

The two Whiskeys can be in the same style. Depending on your taste buds, you can buy and drink Irish and Scotch Whiskey as single malted or blended. But, whats the difference between Bourbon and Irish Whiskey?

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Which Irish Whiskey Is The Best

As you can see, Irish whiskey is regarded as one of the best spirits in the world. However, not all Irish whiskey is the same anymore. When you search for an Irish whiskey, you should be aware of which one is best for you.

Irish blend is the most popular kind of Irish whiskey, and the most famous brand is Jameson. This blend contains single grain and single malt whiskeys, but also single pot still Irish whiskey. The latter one contains malted and unmalted barley.

Single malt Irish whiskey is made from 100% malted barley, from a distillery in Ireland, and aged at least three years. This whiskey has a minimum of 40% ABV, but can be much higher. This whiskey is double-distilled as opposed to the triple-distilled regular Irish whiskey.

Single grain Irish whiskey contains whole grains or cereals that are not malted barley. In this case, these can be maize or wheat and have to be distilled in a single distillery. This type of Irish whiskey is not as popular as other ones.

Another type of Irish whiskey is called single pot still whiskey. This Irish whiskey by one distillery contains a mixed mash of malted and unmalted barley that is distilled in a pot still. Because of the mixture of ingredients, single pot still whiskey is a bit spicy.

There is not one whiskey better than the others, but it is highly dependent on taste and price range. For some, the Irish blend is familiar, and thus superior, but for others, single malt is unique and better tasting.

Cozy Up To Canadian Whisky


Canadian whisky has a reputation for being lighter and smoother than most other whiskies.

Many producers triple-distill and then blend their whiskies with rye, corn, or other grains to cultivate flavor giving it the light, smooth taste sippers love. Youll taste notes of vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, and rye or corn qualities showcased.

Another flavor profile youll catch in Canadian whisky is maple. Are you surprised? Maple is a common theme in Canadian favors, whisky included with the help of maple wood barrels! Some go as far as adding a splash of maple syrup to intensify the taste. Sounds delicious, eh?

Give one of these of Canadian whiskies a taste: Crown Royal, Canadian Club, or Forty Creek

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Scotch Vs Whiskey Different Manufacturing Process

The two products can be distinguished right from the start of the manufacturing process as they are made using different grains.

Whisky in Scotland is made solely using malted barley, whereas Irish whiskey is made using other grains too.

It is quite normal for distilleries in Ireland to utilise a mixture of unmalted and malted barley, usually in proportions of 60:40.

This is partly because, historically, malted barley was very expensive in Ireland so distillers sought cheaper options, but also because it results in a lighter flavour.

Distilleries in Scotland also process the raw grains slightly differently.

Here the barley is soaked to encourage germination, before using peat fires to dry it out.

This gives Scotch the peaty smoky flavour that is stronger than that of Irish Whiskey, where wood is more commonly used.

Hence, Irish whiskey has a smoother finish as opposed to the smoky, earthy overtones common to Scotch whisky, which is in part due to this peating process.

Main Differences Between Irish Whiskey And Scotch Whiskey

  • Irish Whiskey follows triple distillation. Scotch Whiskey uses a double distillation process.
  • Irish Whiskey is commonly aged for 3 years. Scotch Whiskey can be aged for 3 years or less.
  • Irish Whiskey was originated first in history in Ireland. Scotch Whiskey later came into the picture in Scotland.
  • Irish Whiskey uses unmalted and raw barley in the preparation. Scotch Whiskey uses malted barley.
  • Irish Whiskey does not make use of extensive copper pot apparatus for distilling. Scotch Whiskey uses an extensive variety of copper pot stills for the distillation process.
  • Irish Whiskey has a smooth taste with loads of vanilla flavor. Scotch Whiskey has a strong and heavy taste.
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    What Is Scotch Whisky

    Scotch whisky is a type of whisky that is produced in Scotland. Scotch whisky is made from malted barley, yeast, water, and sometimes other grains. Scotch whisky must be distilled in Scotland and aged in oak barrels for at least three years. There are four main types of Scotch whisky: single malt Scotch whisky, blended malt Scotch whisky, blended grain Scotch whisky, and single grain Scotch whisky. Scotch whisky is a popular drink all over the world, and it has a distinct taste that many people enjoy. Scotch whisky can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with other drinks.


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