What Grain Is Scotch Made From

Whiskey Grains : Barley

How Scotch Whisky is Made From Grain to Glass

The best place to start is with traditional single malts. Historically speaking, Scotland and Ireland produce them but so do Japan and Australia. Regardless of where they are made, the common thread here is that they are all made entirely from barley . Comparing a light, unpeated single malt from Scotland, such as Glenfiddich, a Japanese single malt such as Nikka Miyagikyo, and Knappogue Castle and youll see that they all share a roasty, toffee-flavored cereal quality. Of course, other flavors and textures come through as their methodologies and environmental factors come into play. They do, however, share that benchmark flavor characteristic.

Knappogue Castle 12 Year / Photo Credit: Knappogue

What Grains Are Whiskey Made From

Master blenders do not make whiskey they craft it to perfection with meticulous care and attention. In the words of Rudyard Kipling: whisky is not a drink its a philosophy of life. Whiskeys flavor comes from three main components: grains, yeast, and water. Barrel wood, barrel aging, and peat also contribute to whiskeys flavor.

Over the past two centuries, the distillation process has changed little. It still follows the same five stepsmalting, mashing, fermentation, distillation, and maturation. But its all about the ingredients. Its interesting knowing what goes into your bottle of whiskey, whether you are a whiskey connoisseur or a novice. Knowing what youre drinking increases your ability to identify, appreciate, and savor it.

How do you know what whiskey grain your palate prefers? Find out below.

Popular Scotch And Whiskey Cocktails

Lets get to some examples of cocktails! Of course, you can drink Scotch or whiskey straight up. But we prefer it mixed into drinks! Keep in mind, Scotch cocktails are considered whiskey cocktails because its a type of whiskey, but not all whiskey cocktails are Scotch cocktails. In fact, if a cocktail calls for whiskey, we dont recommend using a Scotch unless the recipe specifically calls for it. Scotch has a very distinct flavor and its usually called for specifically in a cocktail recipe.

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New Traditions In Scotland

Scotland has distilleries like Loch Lomond and Girvan that are paving the way for a new category of Scotch Grain Whisky.These distilleries are bottling Grain Whisky that is of high quality and well matured and is a definite threat to Single Malt.

Loch Lomond is producing Grain Whisky that has won awards and is well known for its smoothness and distinct light-bodied qualities. This being the first distillery in Scotland to produce both Grain and Malt at the same time, it is only fitting that its Grain Whisky is a challenge to the Malt throne.

How Does Japanese Whisky Taste:

Loch Lomond Single Grain Scotch Whisky made from malted barley

Sort of like Scotch, which isnt too surprising since that is the initial inspiration, although they have now evolved to take on their own character. They are bold and complex, but are also very well balanced. There are some, such as Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky, which share more flavor notes with bourbon than with Scotch.

Things to Consider: In 2015 Jim Murrays Whisky Bible, a prominent guide to the worlds whisky rankings, named a Japanese whisky the best whisky in the world. Continuous refinement can sum up Japanese whisky making. Always tweaking and trying to perfect the process, it is no wonder they are not staying static and are now producing some of the best whiskies in the world.

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Best Grain Scotch: Compass Box Hedonism

Region: Scotland | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Coconut, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla

A century ago, many Scottish whiskies were made with grains, including corn and wheat, but declined in popularity as big producers started focusing on single malt whiskies. Maverick whisky maker John Glaser rehabilitated it, searching out old grain barrels and blending them together in making Compass Box Hedonism.

H. Joseph Ehrmann, owner of San Franciscos Elixir Saloon and co-founder of Fresh Victor, calls it a head-turner that can open your eyes to the pleasures of grain whisky. With its coconut and caramel notes, it tastes fun, says Tardie. Glasers doing a wonderful service for blended scotch.

Region: Highlands | ABV: 46% | Tasting Notes: Coffee, Espresso, Raisins, Cinnamon

did something innovative, says Tardie. They toasted the barley so much that they call it a chocolate malt.

Just as in beer making, where a chocolate malt adds mocha flavor to a porter or stout, this Highland scotch is rich in cocoa and espresso notes that only deepen over time. Its made from the distillerys oldest whisky35- to 40-year-old scotch, aged in American white oakwhich gives it a gravitas that Tardie appreciates. As you sip it, and as the alcohol burns off, he says, theres a strong characteristic of dark chocolate and coffee grinds.

How To Enjoy Whiskey

Whiskey is a versatile beverage that can be enjoyed in many ways.

Most people drink whiskey straight or neat, which means by itself. Its typically recommended to drink whiskey this way at first to get a better idea of its flavor and aroma.

That said, adding a splash of water can help bring out its more subtle flavours. Additionally, you can drink whiskey with ice, commonly known as on the rocks.

If you dont like whiskeys taste by itself, you can try it in a cocktail.

Here are some popular whiskey cocktails:

  • Old Fashioned. This cocktail is made from a combination of whiskey, bitters, sugar, and water.
  • Manhattan. Made from a combination of rye or bourbon whiskey, bitters, and sweet vermouth , a Manhattan is typically served with cherries.
  • Classic highball. This drink is made from any style of whiskey, ice cubes, and ginger ale.
  • Mint julep. Typically served at derbies, a mint julep is made from a combination of bourbon whiskey, sugar , mint leaves, and crushed ice.
  • Whiskey sour. This cocktail is made from a combination of bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Its commonly served with ice and cherries.
  • John Collins. Made similarly to a whiskey sour, this drink also contains club soda.

Keep in mind that many of these drinks contain added sugars and can pack a lot of calories. Like any alcoholic or sweetened beverage, its best to enjoy these drinks sparingly.

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Various Whiskey And Their Manufacturing Items

Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage made from malt, fermentation, and grain. Different whiskeys making uses various ingredients, which are barley, corn, rye, and wheat. These ingredients went through the process of malting.

Wooden barrels are where you can store the whiskey for an extended period, but you have to make sure that it should be made of charred white oak. Not everyone can drink whiskey as it is an alcohol brand, so there are restrictions worldwide to drink a different whiskey. Age limit is one of the main factors in this.

The second thing is class. There are types of people belonging to different categories, and not all are allowed to drink every kind of whiskey. One of the main factors in this is the pricing. Some whiskeys which are well aged and well fermented with genuine grains will cost you so high that an average person will not be able to buy it.

There are various brands to make low price whiskeys so that everyone can drink them. There are whiskeys which are made in different countries, and from other ingredients, some of them are Scotch whiskey, Irish whiskey, wheat grain whiskey, malt whiskey, and rye whiskey.

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Other Fun Whisky Facts:

How Scotch Whisky is Made – Part 2 Grain Whisky
  • What is malted barley?
  • Raw barley that has been soaked, germinated, and then dried to halt the germination process. In Scotch, the drying process often happens using burning peat, imparting in varying degrees Scotchs classic smoky, peaty flavor.
  • Brand new oak barrels are required in making Bourbon. Scotch and Irish whiskey commonly age in the used bourbon barrels. Occasionally Scotch will age in used wine barrels, but is fairly rare due to the scarcity of the wine barrels and the availability of the bourbon barrels. The barrel age and type will impart significant flavor profiles to the whisky.
  • Irish pot stills are much larger than those used for Scotch, yielding a slightly milder flavor.
  • There are over 20 countries producing their own whiskey. India, Australia, South Africa, Taiwan, and New Zealand are just a few of the many.
  • Heres a cool interactive visual guide to whiskey.
  • We hope this helps unlock a few of the mysteries between the different types of whiskeys. Of course the only thing to really do that is to go out there and taste them. Find what you like and enjoy it!

    Favorite Barware

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    The Distillation Process Of Scotch Whisky

    The distillation process is one of the factors that gives scotch whisky its distinct flavour profile. After distillation, Scotch whisky includes not just ethyl alcohol and water but also several secondary components.

    The specific composition of these is unknown, although it is thought that they comprise essential oils from malted barley and other grains and compounds derived from peat.

    The amount of these secondary elements kept in the spirit is determined by the stills design, operation, and vigour with which the spirit is extracted. Grain Whisky has fewer secondary ingredients than Malt Whisky due to the manufacturing process and has a milder flavour and fragrance.

    Whats The Difference Between Scotch Whiskey And Bourbon

    This might be common knowledge for some, but itâs worth a refresher before you go out and buy a bottle. Letâs start with a burning question we answered back in 2008: what makes a whiskey bourbon?

    The law. While knocking back a dram of bourbon is a decidedly carefree exercise, making it is exceedingly technical and requires that the whiskey meet a rigid set of criteria. The Federal Standards of Identity for Bourbon stipulate what is and what isnt bourbon. For a whiskey to call itself bourbon, its mash, the mixture of grains from which the product is distilled, must contain at least 51% corn. The mash must be distilled at 160 proof or less, put into the barrel at 125 proof or less, and it must not contain any additives. The distillate must be aged in a new charred oak barrel. If you distill a whiskey in your kitchen that meets all of these standards, congrats, youve made bourbon. Also, youve broken the law the ATF is probably outside your house right now.

    The main difference between scotch and whiskey is geographic, but also ingredients and spellings. Scotch is whisky made in Scotland, while bourbon is whiskey made in the U.S.A, generally Kentucky. Scotch is made mostly from malted barley, while bourbon is distilled from corn. If youre in England and ask for a whisky, youll get Scotch. But in Ireland, youll get Irish whiskey .

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    What Does Canadian Whisky Taste Like

    Generally Canadian whiskies are lighter and sweeter in character but still full of flavor. Considered easy to drink. When the maker mentions that rye is used generously in the finishing of the whisky, it will usually have a nice spicier bite.

    Things to Consider: Different from US rye whiskies in Canada rye doesnt have to be the dominant grain used and is often mostly used in the flavoring whisky portion of the bottling. Because of their ease in drinking, they often blend well in cocktail mixes. Tradition drives the process a Canadian whisky from 15 or 30 years ago will most likely taste nearly identical as same one produced today.

    Best Single Estate: Glenmorangie The Cadboll Estate

    Loch Lomond Single Grain Scotch Whisky made from malted barley

    Courtesy of Reserve Bar

    Region: Highlands | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Wild herbs, Honey, Roasted nuts, Floral

    The whiskies from Glenmorangie pair so well with food, Tardie remarks, “I’m convinced that the distiller is more of a fan of wine than whisky.

    Produced using estate-grown malted barley and matured 15 years in American oak ex-bourbon barrels, this lithe, floral scotch complements a variety of summertime meals. Open the whisky up with some water and try it with marinated grilled chicken, barbecued spare ribs, mint-laced salads or fresh berries for dessert. Its honey-blossom nose leads to vanilla and roasted nuts, a delightful herbaceousness, and a hint of orange.

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    They Have Different Abv Requirements

    Bourbon must be distilled to no more than 80 percent alcohol and be no more than 62.5 percent when put into casks for aging in new charred oak barrels. Scotch, however, must have an ABV of less than 94.8 percent and is aged in used oak barrels, including those that previously stored Sherry, beer and, yes, bourbon.

    Whats The Difference Between Whiskey And Whisky What About Scotch Bourbon And Rye

    Have you ever heard the traditional folk song Whiskey in the Jar? Or is that Whisky in the Jar? Just what is the difference between whiskey and whisky? And while we are at it, how do Scotch, bourbon, and rye figure in all of this? First of all, they are all types of whiskey .

    Generally speaking, whiskey can be any of a variety of distilled liquors that are made from a fermented mash of cereal grains and aged in wooden containers, which are usually constructed of oak. Commonly used grains are corn, barley malt, rye, and wheat. So what is it that sets these liquors apart? In a nutshell, the name is based on factors such as the type of cereal grain used in the distilling process as well as how and where it was produced.

    So why do you see the name of the liquor spelled both as whiskey and as whisky? No, its not due to a spelling error or typo. It is generally spelled whiskeywith an ein the United States and Ireland. It is spelled whiskywithout the ein Scotland and Canada, which are both well known for their whisky, and in several other countries.

    And rye whiskey? Its a whiskey that uses a rye mash or a rye and malt mash. In the United States, regulations stipulate that the mash must be at least 51% rye in order for it to be called rye whiskey. In Canada, regulations do not specify a minimum percentage of rye.

    So, what IS in the jar? Given that the song in question is a traditional Irish folk song, its probably whiskey. With an e.

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    What Grains Are Used To Make Whiskey

    You might think that theres not much to making whiskey: its just grain, right? Like beer, but distilled? But theres actually more to it than that, and like gin, what goes into the whiskey can wildly change the taste of what you get in the bottle. Its true that, at its simplest, whiskey is just distilled grain, but the word grain is an umbrella term and can mean several very different kinds of seeds, many of which are used in varying amounts to make whiskey of different quality and taste. So join us once again as we explore each of the major grains used to make whiskey, and well see where each comes from, and what it does to whats inside the bottle.


    The most important of all grains used in the production of whiskey worldwide is barley, and most whiskies have at least some barley in them. Barley was one of the first grains to be domesticated, in the Fertile Crescent of what is now Iraq and the Levant, sometime around 8500 BCE. These days it is grown all over the world. Malted barley is most famously used to make Scotch whiskies as the name says, a single malt Scotch like Singleton is 100% malted barley, and blended Scotch like Johnnie Walker typically has a high barley content in it as well. Barley imparts a warm, roasted toffee taste to a spirit, and these whiskies are surprisingly versatile and can be enjoyed on their own, finished in specialty casks, or blended with other grains to make endless varieties of flavor.



    Other Grains

    They Come From Different Places

    How Whisky is Made

    Contrary to popular belief, bourbon can be made outside of Kentucky. However, to legally qualify as bourbon, it must be made in the United States. Simlarly, in order for a whisky to be called Scotch, it must be made in Scotland. Japanese whisky, for example, is similar to Scotch in many ways. But it’s not Scotch, because it’s made in Japan.

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    Sweet Flavours Of Single Grain

    Generally speaking, single grain whiskies are light and sweet a great introduction to the whisky category as a whole. The ones I have tried in the past always seemed to have a lovely, soft mouthfeel to them.

    These are whiskies that you could spend hours nosing due their delicious aromas of butterscotch, whipped cream, vanilla custard, marshmallows, salted butter, caramel and icing-coated pastries. Sometimes these notes also transfer onto the palate with some spices such as ginger, black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. The finish is often shorter than in single malt.

    The colour is usually pretty light due to the refill casks used. Most single grain whiskies have been matured in refill ex-bourbon casks, although there are some exceptions, from new oak to refill sherry butts.

    Theyre Made With Different Ingredients

    The U.S. government has very strict regulations for bourbon, one of which is that bourbon whiskey must be made from a grain mixture of at least 51 percent corn. The rest is usually a mix of malted barley, rye and wheat. Scotch whisky, on the other hand, must be made from malted barley, which is Scotchs primary ingredient, along with water and yeast. Scotch producers are permitted to include other whole cereal grains for coloring.

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