Whisky Lexicon

The history of whisky
Laws, taxes and fighting

Whisky - a term used for many products
Production method
Raw materials and manufactoring
Manufacturing process
    - Malting
    - Grind coarsely
    - Mashing and Fermenting
    - Distillation
Distillation process
    - Continious firing
    - Patent Still process
    - Discontinuous burning
    - Pot Still method
    - Lomond Still process

Storage and barrel aging
Legal regulations
Quality features
Taste classification
Alcohol content
Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Irish Whiskey
American Whiskey
Japanese Whisky

The history of whisky
Already in the 5th century Christian monks began, led by the Irish patron saint St. Patrick, to evangelize the land of the Celts and brought technical equipment and the knowledge of the production of medicines and perfume to Ireland and Scotland. Undoubtedly Whisky is immediately associated with Scotland, but so far it is not clear whether Scotland or Ireland is the country of origin of the whiskey. According to legend, the Celts were the first, a water-clear liquid distilled - the aqua vitae or uisge beatha. The necessary for this knowledge spread in the following centuries, probably by the emergence of the monasteries that the center of many settlements were then and operated their own pubs.
1494 Aquavite first documented in the Scottish tax documents (Exchequer Rolls) has been mentioned as the Benedictine monk John Cor of the Monastery Lindores (Fife) in the then Scottish capital Dunfermline eight Bollen malt purchases. 1 boll (Bolle) is an old Scottish grain measure of capacity and corresponds to 210.1 liters or 62 kg malt. So eight Bollen corresponded about 500 kilograms, enough whiskey to produce about 400 bottles. And by payment to brother John Cors on instructions from the tax auditor, he assures, on the orders of the king (James IV.) To produce water of life within this assessment period, 8 Bollen (~ 32 bushels) malt.) Originated in the course of time a large number of private distilleries. Each Scottish clan produced his own whisky for his own use.
In the year 1822 the law on illegal distilling (Illicit Distillation Act) was passed in Scotland. This simplified the tax system and at the same time strengthened the rights of landowners. It came to riots and in 1823 a new Act of Excise was decided. This Act of Excise, allowed the burning of whisky at a cost of 10 pounds plus a fixed tax per gallon of whisky. At the same time established a minimum size of 40 gallons for the internal bladder. George Smith was the first, who built his distillery Glenlivet by the new legislation. The new law finally worth the legal production of whisky and disappeared within ten years, thousands of illegal distilleries in Scotland and Ireland.
After the settlement of America by British and Irish people in the 17th century were they trying to make whisky from grain. Since barley very poorly grew, the farmers began in North America, the place well, growing grains rye and wheat to ferment. Since peat was not available, the known and traditional recipes for whiskey production could not be applied and the distillate had little taste. By burning off or charring the barrels they tried to bring more of the usual smoke flavor in whiskey. Only at the end of the 18th century emerged pure whiskey distilleries. The oldest distilleries emerged in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Laws, taxes and fighting
Since 1643 whisky was officially taxed in Ireland, in Scotland, the tax was introduced in 1644. But since no one thought in mind, whisky in 1661 banned in Scotland only in Ireland and 1707 - unless you acquired a state license. In the following years, because of the tax it comes to bloody clashes between the tax collectors (gaugers) and smugglers (smugglers). Almost 200 years held the opposition to high taxation of whisky, until in 1822 in Scotland the Illicit Distillation Act (Act on the illegal distilling) was adopted, the simplified the tax code, but the rights of landowners strengthened and it came back unrest. 1823 a new Act of Excise was decided that allowed the burning of whisky at a cost of 10 pounds plus a fixed tax per gallon of whisky. At the same time established a minimum size of 40 gallons for the internal bladder. George Smith was the first to his distillery Glenlivet built according to the new legislation. The new law finally worth the legal production of whisky, within ten years disappeared thousands of illegal distilleries in Scotland and Ireland. This resulted in a far greater spread of whisky in the British Isles. The oldest existing licensed distilleries in Ireland Kilbeggan (1757), in Scotland Glenturret (1775) and Bowmore (1779).
In America, whiskey was also taxed and already in 1791 adopted George Washington, who ran himself a distillery to pay a tax on whiskey to the large debts of the then still very young state after the end of the Revolutionary War. But the settlers took the tax does not go and it came in Pennsylvania into a nationwide uprising, known as the Whisky Rebellion, where several thousand armed settlers moved into the vicinity of Pittsburgh. The uprising was fought by a 13.000-strong army under Henry Lee. The Whiskey burner then went through further west into Kentucky and Tennessee, where today still comes most of the whiskey production of America.

In 1826, Robert Stein reported a new method for the continuous distillation for a patent (patent quietly distilling) - hereby could unmalted cereals (grains) are fired. 1832, this process has been improved by the Irish Aeneas Coffey. With the Coffey still (Column, also, Coffey-patent or Continuous Still called distillation unit) was a purer product to be manufactured, the grain whisky. However, the Irish did not like the whiskey produced novel, and so Coffey went to Scotland.
In 1856 the Scot Andrew Usher junior first blended (German: wastage) Whisky ago. His father had in 1844 the Old Vatted Glenlivet offered. The first blend called Usher's Green Stripe exists yet on the market. Other traders blended malt and grain whiskys, which could be due to the Coffey made silently to Blended Scotch. This new kind of whisky found only in England and then following the worldwide sales - also due to a phylloxera- and mildew plague that a large part of the French vines destroyed from about 1850, which is why wine, cognac and brandy were scarce and very expensive.
Through the American Prohibition (1920-1933) had to close most small distilleries in America. Also in Scotland, this led to the closure of many distilleries (for example in Campbeltown on the Kintyre Peninsula). Whisky from the distillery Laphroaig was however at times of Prohibition in America as a medicine and was available the only whisky in pharmacies. Following the end of alcohol prohibition now controlled large corporations the newly incipient legal production. In the countries of origin took place in the following decades an ever increasing concentration of distilleries and bottlers in larger corporations that operate now worldwide. Only occasionally there are smaller companies that operate individual distilleries.

Whisky - a term used for many products

  • Malt Whisky: made exclusively from malted barley
  • Grain Whisky: designates whiskey, which is made from wheat, corn, unmalted barley and oats (Europe). In the US, rye or corn is used instead of unmalted barley. The distillates are used almost exclusively for blended whiskys
  • Rye Whiskey: is produced mostly from rye. The participation of at least 51%, it is the most original and flavorful whiskey in the United States.
  • Bourbon: must be burned in the US and is produced mostly from maize, the percentage is at least 51%. He burned with max. 80% alcohol and is subsequently filled with at least 62.5% alcohol in new charred oak casks for maturation. As long as the Bourbon is not identified as straight, it must exist in the United States under certain circumstances up to 2.5% of the volume of additives.
  • Kentucky Straight Bourbon: has burned and at least one year are matured there in Kentucky.
  • Bonded Bourbon: a whiskey from a single distillery and from a single vintage, matured for at least four years in special warehouses. These are monitored by the US government and are called in America Bonded warehouses.
  • Corn Whiskey: made with at least 80% of maize.
  • Single Malt Whisky: is a whisky that comes from a single distillery.
  • Single Cask: the whisky comes from a single barrel; the term is particularly common for Scotch whisky. Often the bottles are numbered consecutively. What is true for the vintage whisky is even stronger in single cask bottlings. The quality may be different for each different filling.
  • Single Barrel: the whiskey comes from a single barrel; the term is particularly common for American whiskey. The term is not defined by law.
  • Straight Bourbon: a whiskey from a single distillery, heading straight is needed for American whiskey and must be stored in American oak in new casks at least two years. The storage period must be specified on the label up to a storage period of four years. Straight Bourbon must not contain any additives.
  • Small Batch: a small amount of whiskey from a selected small quantity especially well to maturity suitable drums in a warehouse at larger companies or the entire production with smaller distilleries. The term is used mainly for American whiskey and is not legally defined.
  • Blend or blended whisky: blend of grain and malt whisky. It may contain whisky from up to 50 different distilleries in a blended whisky. Approximately 90% of global production of whisky is used for blends.
  • Pure Pot Still: whisky, which is distilled only from malted and unmalted barley in classic pot still stills. Is was almost only found in Irish whiskey.
  • Blended Malt - formerly Vatted: mixture of malt whisky from different distilleries (only malted barley)
  • Vintage: The whisky used comes from the designated Year. The information is sometimes even without a precise indication of age.
  • Cask Strength: whisky was bottled in cask strength. After storage, no more water to reduce the alcohol content has been added. The alcohol content can vary greatly, as this varies depending on environmental conditions, the storage place and the storage period, the quality of the cask used and the alcohol content of the original distillate. Specifying Cask Strength has nothing directly to do with the alcohol content. A blend of various barrels of a distillery has cask strength, as long as no water was added.
  • Finish: indication of some distilleries to sort the barrel in which the whisky was finished. So means, for example Port Wood Finish that whisky was stored in used port wine casks. It is customary that finish in used sherry, Madeira or rum casks.
  • Pure Malt: non-uniform designation for blended or vatted whisky.
  • Tennessee Whiskey: must meet all the requirements of a Bourbon whiskey. In addition, he must have been manufactured in the US state of Tennessee and the Lincoln County Process have undergone. This technique was developed in 1820 in Lincoln County, Tennessee. Presumably, the technology dates back to Alfred Eaton from Cave Springs Distillery (now Jack Daniels). The filtration with charcoal itself has been used previously to clean drinking water from contamination.
  • White Dog / Legal Moonshine / Mash Whiskey / New Make: burned clear whiskey which has been aged a few weeks or months. Particularly in micro-distilleries popular in Europe may not be sold as whiskey.

Production method
Not just any whiskey tastes different, but the contents of each cask tastes different from the contents of other barrels. For the variety of aromas three factors are responsible: the raw materials, manufacturing process and aging in the cask. These factors have a huge impact on the bottom. Which they are, however, in detail, has not yet been fully explored.

Raw materials and manufacturing
An important raw material in the production of whiskey is water. Each distillery uses water which usually comes from a nearby spring. The mineral content of the peat content, the hardness of the water or microorganisms determine the particular quality of the water. This was mostly the decisive factor for the siting of the distillery. The main raw material for the production process is corn. Depending on the chosen manufacturing process and to the cereal used is malted or unmalted grain. For many whiskys malted barley is the principal condiments. The quality of the barley is divided from one to nine. Only the steps one through three, which account for about 20% of a crop suitable for malting. For the quality grading crucial are an high starch content, low protein content, a low nitrogen content, a high germination probability uniformity of grains, as well as maturity and dryness of barley.
Another ingredient is yeast, more certain strains of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Individual strains are produced industrially as yeast. Yeast converts the sugars by enzymes in alcohol and carbon dioxide. The yeast also produces other substances that give the whisky more flavours during fermentation.

Peat is formed from decayed plants such as moss, heather or sedges and depends on the local natural world. A peat from the Lowlands is soft, loose and burns strong smoke emission. Peat from a bog by the seashore are subject to the influence of the sea and have flavours of salt, iodine and seaweed. In Orkney, with the northernmost distillery Highland Park, has the peat a high proportion of roots from abundant heather.
Many whiskeys, mostly Scottish, the malt is dried over a peat fire. Scotland has a low forest cover and thus the use of wood or charcoal to fire is too expensive, peat, however, is sufficiently available. Today, the peat is an important flavour carrier, the only way the special smoky peaty-phenolic flavour of some whiskys can be achieved. The formation of peat is very slow. As for the average peat deposit in a bog, an average of 1-10 mm per year is to be set. Was once peat the fuel for drying the malt, is now the peat fire to flavor of the malt with smoke and peat notes. The malt is peated at a moisture content of about 25-50%, it reduces the film of water on the malt to a high view of smoke as well as too dry surface of barley grain.
less than 1 ppm: not peated
1 - 10 ppm: slightly peated
10 - 20 ppm: medium peated
about 20 ppm: strong peaty
Clynelish or Lagavulin: 30 ppm
Laphroaig: 40 ppm
Ardbeg: 50 ppm
Port Charlotte: 60 ppm
Ardbeg Supernova: about 100 ppm
Octomore II The Beast: approximately 167 ppm

Manufacturing process
The production of whisky takes place in several steps that can be modified depending on the distillery or the country of origin.

Malting barley (or other cereals) provides much whisky’s a key operation during the manufacturing process. It is propagated for this purpose in dishes, moistened and thereby germinated. This gives the green malt. The activated during germination enzymes convert the existing in grain starch (amylose) into malt sugar (maltose). The cereal grains develop heat and therefore need to be constantly reallocated to achieve a uniform climate within the grain layer. The resulting green malt is then kilned. This means that the germination by heat (Darren) is stopped; the malt is dried and thus made storable, which both can be done with hot, dry air as a result of hot smoke. In the peat-fired Darren (kiln) of smoke permeates the green malt. Peat consists of rotting moss, heather and sedges, which emit over the smoke flavourings to the fresh malt. The process takes place in buildings with the typical pagoda roof. Can be controlled Based on the phenol content in the flue, how strong the malt was peated at kiln. The span of completely non-peat drying fire extends to heavily peated fire, which is reflected in the mildness or smokiness of the whisky.

Grind coarsely
The (or) shot is coarsely crushed grain, which is produced by crushing on a roll mill or by squeezing or milling the grist mill. Through settings in crushing and / or screening in Plan sifter granulation of the shot can be controlled. Crushing calls the mechanical processing of grain to reduce their size.

Mashing and Fermenting
Immediately before mashing the grain is ground into meal (grist) and then (do mash) the mash tun with hot water mixed. During mashing, the starch by enzymes in malt sugar (maltose) is converted. This results in more sugars. The aim of the process is to extract all the fermentable sugars. The perforated bottom, the sugar-rich liquid is separated and collected from the remaining solids, cellulosic husks. After cooling, the resulting wort to the fermenter (washback) is pumped, where they (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is mixed with yeast, ferments the sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The process of fermentation (fermentation) is similar to that of brewing, but he is not germ-free in whisky production. The resulting after fermentation mash - called wash or beer - now has an alcohol content of five to eight percent by volume.

In the fermentation in the fermentation tank, the distillation follows. When firing, the wash the first copper pot still, the wash is then passed through still. Here arises from the thin "Beer" of raw spirit. The resulting raw spirit is called in the whiskey production low wine and has an alcohol content of about 20 volume percent. The distillation process is now in the second copper pot still that spirit still repeated. Distillation separates the alcohol and most of the odors and flavours from water and concentrating them. The fine distillates is the master distiller in spirit safe in the middle reaches (middle cut or heart) (heart; about 30 percent of the distillate) separately, pre- (fore shots) and trailing (feints). The heart flows through a counter, by means of which the later to be paid tax on spirits is determined. The alcohol content of the middle reaches amounts to about 60 to 75 percent by volume. The new make is offset partly with water and filled to final storage in wooden barrels.
If an internal bladder to be replaced for reasons of wear, care is taken to mimic the exact shape of the old pot still. Only in this way can be achieved with a new pot still the familiar taste of the whisky. The production of Scotch malt whisky and Irish pot still whiskey the pot-still method is used. Other Whisky types are usually distilled in distilling columns in patent-still-process. Could not enforce the 1955 by Alistair Cunningham and Arthur Warren developed Lomond-still-process.

Distillation process
There are two main forms of distillation. The continuous and discontinuous distillation, they have a different focal technique on.

Continuous firing
The alcohol is evaporated in the continuous firing by extreme heat from the mash quickly in the pot still. The burning process is carried out without interruption by constantly replenishing the skins, is particularly suitable for the production of large quantities of such as agricultural alcohol. As cooler a column having bubble trays is mostly used, which allows good separation performance with a high concentration of alcohol with simultaneous removal of many flavours in the distillate. The process is particularly suitable when the aromas of the distillate either not needed or not desired are (z. B. with unflavoured vodka) or after the distillation by the maturing in barrels like cognac or whiskey arise. The inventor of the distillation column is the Belgian engineer Jean Baptiste Cellier-Blumenthal (1768-1840), he applied for and the patent.

Patent Still process
The patent combustion processes (Patent quietly distilling, continuous distilling (continuous firing) column, still distilling (columns combustion processes) or Coffey shut distilling (Coffey firing method)) is a continuous burning after Aeneas Coffey who comes in the production of grain whisky used. Here malted and unmalted grains are mixed and produced it in a relatively inexpensive and rapid method whisky. The distillation takes place in a patent or Coffey distillation unit (because of the copper pillars and column apparatus called), and the distillate is withdrawn with a higher alcohol content. The process was invented by Scotsman Robert Stone and 1826 tested, improved in the following years by the Irish Aeneas Coffey. With the internal column, a distillate with a maximum alcohol content of 94.8 percent by volume is produced, the yield by continuously burning a huge cost advantage.

Discontinuous burning
In the discontinuous firing the slurry is filled in portions into the still and the alcohol and the aromas distilled therefrom.

Pot still method
The production of Scotch malt whisky, Irish pot still whiskey and bourbon whiskey distilleries smaller the mash is distilled twice or three times in pot stills made of copper, which expire at the top with a gooseneck (swan neck). The first firing takes place in the so-called Wash or Wine Still, after the liquid has alcohol content 20-26 percent by volume. After the second firing process in the Spirit Still, the distillate reaches an alcohol content of 60 to 75 percent by volume. Attempts to replace the copper with cheaper, easier to process and less corrosion prone metals are, so far all failed at the insufficient taste of the whisky produced therein. However, not only the material used, but also the shape of the stills adversely affects the taste of the whiskey. The burning in stills is discontinuous, because only one batch to be processed.
Since the pot still must be cleaned between each residue burning process, it is very complicated and is not normally used for mass production.

Lomond Still process
The Lomond still process developed in 1955 by Alistair Cunningham and Arthur Warren could not enforce their peace, which is a kind of hybrid of pot still and column resting in a cylindrical shape and movable copper plates inside. By the copper plates of reflux could be regulated, but this had to be cleaned regularly, which was very expensive. It was used in several distilleries and is today only at Bruichladdich and Scapa, but without the copper plates used.

To supply the stills for distillation with the necessary heat, various methods are used.

  • Direct lighting: The pot still is directly heated by the burner.
  • Indirect lighting: Heat is supplied via a water or steam. So the heat is distributed more evenly, which prevents burning of the mash.

As fuel there is mostly used natural gas or oil. Electric heaters are cost reasons rarely used. Wood heaters are poorly regulated and therefore can be found only in old distilleries. To minimize heat losses, the alembic is usually walled or otherwise isolated.

Storage and barrel aging
The years of maturation in barrel may be responsible for 60 to 80 percent of taste. Here, the type of wood, the former use of the barrel, the geographical location of the warehouse, the design of the warehouse, the microclimate and the duration of maturity are important factors. The distillate of the American whiskeys matured almost exclusively in new barrels of American white oak, the inside was charred for a short time. In addition, the European oak is the raw material for whisky barrels in Europe. A barrel costs about 300 euros. Mostly originate the barrels where previously sherry or port was stored, from Spain or Portugal, they are intended for dark whisky. For bright whisky are American barrels used. Hemicellulose, lignin, tannins and wood extracts enrich the distillate during storage.
Former sherry casks from Spain are more suitable for the sweet, complex whiskys of Speyside, while the island whiskeys of Scotland because of the smoky taste come mostly bourbon American oak barrels used. For many years declining consumption of sherry and port, however, it becomes increasingly difficult for distilleries to obtain such barrels. Therefore, the Speyside Cooperage in Craigellachie is now around 100.000 oak casks each year together, toasts and repaired barrels for the surrounding distilleries. In 2004 outsourced approximately 18 million barrels of whisky in Scotland.
Increasingly popular are bottlings, which are additionally enhanced by storage in different barrels. This so-called "Finish" will take place in barrels, where previously sherry, port, rum, Bordeaux wine, Madeira, cognac or white wine was stored. Each year evaporates through the pores of the closed barrels about 0.5 to 1.0 percent of the content, the so-called share of Angels (Angels 'share or Angels' dram). The maturation process of the whisky depends on the required product and the resulting quality.

The following barrel types and sizes, refer to the storage of their application:

  • Gorda (also called Bodega Butt) (content 600 litres)
  • Puncheon, shorter and thicker than a butt (capacity approx. 545 litres)
  • Sherry Butt, used sherry cask (capacity approx. 500 litres)
  • Port Pipe, used port wine cask (capacity approx. 500 litres)
  • Dump Pancheon, smaller version (capacity approx. 460 litres)
  • Hogshead, mostly used barrel type (content 250 litres)
  • Barrel, also American barrels (capacity approx. 200 litres)
  • Quarter (also called Firkin) (content about 45-80 litres)
  • Kilderkin (content about 82 litres)
  • anchor, the original whisky barrel (content about 40 litres)
  • octave, one-eighth barrels (also called Blood Tub) (content about 22.5 litres)
Many types of malt reach their peak at the age of 10 to 15 years. Others, however, achieve this only later. For bottling the whisky water is added to bring about a common drinking strength. The usual and customary drinking strength is nowadays 40-43 volume percent (vol .-%), partially to 46 Vol .-%. Increasing popularity and great demand enjoying undiluted bottlings are bottled at cask strength and thus are more intense and complex in flavour.

When filling, most of the contents of several barrels are mixed. This is done in order to achieve a constant quality as possible and to compensate for differences between the individual drums. Often a chill filtering is still performed to remove turbidity from the whisky. Given the whiskey is cooled to below 10 ° C, whereby the turbidity and precipitate are filtered off. However, by going even flavour carrier lost (fats), which is why many bottlings today waived this filtration (Unchill filtered). Optionally, the whisky still with caramel (E 150) is coloured, then diluted with water to drinking strength 40-46 volume percent and finally bottled.
As a result of increasing demand are now increasingly offered products that enhance the unique character of a Single Malt yet. So single malts as Single Cask is packed. Here, the whisky comes only from a single barrel; the filled bottles are often numbered. Taste and quality of such individual drums can vary widely even in the same distillery.
If whisky is not diluted with water to the drinking strength 40-46 volume percent, so it is designated Cask Strength, sometimes Natural Strength. Whisky called Cask Strength seems to originate from several barrels, which are emptied together in a so-called Vat, only to be filled. A Cask Strength is either not diluted or only added a small amount of water to achieve a uniform level of alcohol content on the labelling.

Since the maturation period of a whisky is an important quality, single malt whiskies are often sold with an indication of age. If several vintages combined with a filling, it is stipulated that the age indication of the final product must be in the age of the youngest whisky contained. Ages on bottles are therefore minimum, and a distillery can even use consistently older whisky to maintain an established brand although certain vintages are missing in the store (which is not rare, since malt distilleries undergo recurrent periods of closure, it is cyclical or in the course a change of ownership).
If he chooses a producer for its malt whisky for sale no age given, there may be several reasons. On the one hand it can be a relatively young whisky - especially an age under 10 years will not be happy proven marketing reasons. But bottlings no age given may also be relatively high-quality products, for example, Barrels very different ages were collected. However, the proper distinction would with the age of the youngest component is then difficult to make the producer or supplier to achieve its price expectations in the market.

Legal regulations
Each region or country has its own rules by which whiskey must be made so that fire may be called Whisky or Whiskey. European regulation and the regional regulation shall apply to the main regions Scotland and Ireland. Other countries have deviating regulations.

Within the European Union Whisk(e)y has in Regulation No 110/2008 meet specified criteria of 15 January 2008:
  • be obtained by distilling grain mash malt
  • be distilled to an alcohol content of less than 94.8% vol.
  • at least three years of aging in wooden barrels with a capacity of 700 litres or less
  • a minimum alcohol content of 40 percent by volume

In Uruguay, for example, the prescribed minimum storage period is only two years. If the products do not meet the above minimum requirements, they may not be sold as whisky within the EU.

According to the Scotch whisky regulation of 2009, Scotch whisky must meet the following characteristics:

  • Production in a Scottish distillery from water and malted barley (other cereals can be used in addition)
  • Raw spirit with maximum 94.8% pure alcohol
  • Storage in bonded areas in Scotland exclusively in oak barrels with a maximum size of 700 litres for at least three years
  • Before bottling may be water and food colouring (caramel) added
Scotch whisky is subdivided by law in the following ways:
  • Single Malt Scotch whisky, exclusively from water and malted barley and exclusively in a single distillery in the so-called pot stills (stills, unlike Coffey stills) prepared
  • Single Grain Scotch Whisky, in contrast to single malt, the addition of other grains to barley malt is permitted, as may be used Coffey stills
  • Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, a blend of at least two single malt Scotch whiskies from more than one distillery
  • Blended grain Scotch whisky, a blend of at least two single grain Scotch whiskies from more than one distillery
  • Blended Scotch Whisky, a blend of at least a single malt and one or more single grain Scotch whiskies
Quality characteristics of whisky
In addition to the subjective judgment of taste can be considered in the processing objective, only the quality of raw materials and the care. Various questions can be sought on the qualitative assessment of a whisky:
  • If it is a blend or an unblended whisky (single malt)?
  • How long the whisky was stored in barrels?
  • If it is a vintage- or even a single cask bottling? Such are usually offered only by exceptional whiskies.
  • The addition of caramel (E 150a) is common to give pale whisky a darker colour and care in the production of a uniform colour over several batches. The taste is not affected by the food colouring slightly to do.
  • Have the Whisky a special chill filtration? It is the separation of long-chain fatty acids, which result in low temperatures to clouding. But they are responsible for flavours that are then not in the final product.
  • The quality, purity and the origin of the source water used also play a role.
Taste classification
In the year 2007, the "Friends of the Classic Malts" published in Glasgow a classification of malt whiskys. Then has the as an independent whisky expert presented David Broom them on two axes "Easy - content full" with support from Diageo - divided and "smoky soft". The picture malt flavor map shows the results for selected varieties. Here, the characteristics are described as follow:
  • Smoky - (Rauchig): The aroma is stirred mainly by the smoke from the peat fire, on which the barley was dried.
  • Delicate - (Weich): Barley was not or hardly dried on smoke.
  • Light - (Leicht): The whisky has a light, fruity, seemingly by green grass flavors.
  • Rich - (Gehaltvoll): The aroma plays toward vanilla, tasty dried fruits.

  Ⓒ  Von Grap - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7073085

Alcohol content
The alcohol content of the fresh distillate is initially - depending on the production method - 60 to 94.8 percent by volume. Even at the ripe storage in casks, the crude distillate is partially diluted with water, but no later than when bottling the whisky is brought to a drinking strength of usually 40 to 46 percent by volume. Special bottlings at cask strength often have alcohol content between 50 and 65 percent by volume. The minimum alcoholic content is in the European Union and in Switzerland 40 percent by volume.
The alcohol content is - as is customary - indicated in whisky by volume. On older bottles, there is still the outdated unit Proof. In the US, equivalent to 1 proofing an alcohol content of 0.5% vol., The British 0.57% vol. Scotch whisky is often with 70 Brit. Proof (40% vol.) Or 100 Brit. Proof (57,15% Vol.) offered. 100 British proof mark the alcohol burns off the soaked with whisky gunpowder with a blue flame.

Single Malt Scotch whisky
The single malt Scotch whiskey is divided into the blended malt whisky whose distillates are from several distilleries and Straight Malt Whisky whose distillates are from only one distillery.
The Straight Malt Whisky is divided into:
  • Single Malt (exclusively from the products of one distillery)
  • Single Single Malt (from one distilling procedure)
  • Pure Single Malt (a distillate, several barrels)
  • Single Cask Malt (out of one barrel, which is a very limited bottling) - the bottles are often individually numbered.
Distillates from malt (malted barley) are the foundation of Scottish malt whiskies. The germinated barley (Green malt) is dried in a special oven (kiln). For smoky whiskies is in malting the subsequent smoke content of the malts by using more or less peat content in the drying (kilning) set. The strength of the smokiness is hereby phenolic content expressed in parts per million (ppm). High amounts of phenol have example whiskies like Lagavulin or Laphroaig (about 30 ppm). The most peated whiskies even achieve ppm content of 100 and more (like the Ardbeg Supernova with 100 ppm or originating from the Bruichladdich distillery "Octomore II The Beast" with 167 ppm). The smoke intense whiskies are mostly coming from the island of Islay. The majority of Scotch whisky, especially from the region Speyside, also made non-peat malt.
The maturation period of malt whiskies is strongly dependent on the ambient conditions (Region and Air). The maturation process starts with a preponderance of subtractive maturity, in the distillate the aggressive play will be lost from the combustion process. Towards the end of the ripening period outweighs the additive maturity, in the whisky barrel withdraws the flavors. The subtractive ripening sounds after about 7 - from 8 years. In older bottlings increasingly outweigh the cask character.
Depending distillery whisky reaches the optimum balance between distillery character and influence the maturation by different many years. With the majority of fires this time is between 12 and 15 years. Although very old whiskies are often particularly round, soft and full, however, this is often because the barrel Note increasingly dominated at the expense of individuality.  The assumption that whisky gets better with more age, so the taste only with restrictions.

Irish whiskey
Irish whiskey is divided into:
  • Grain Whiskey: is used almost exclusively for mixing
  • Blended Whiskey: is mixed to a branded product with unvarying taste
  • Malt Whiskey: unmixed product
  • the malt is kilned not peat, characterized milder taste
  • there is no maize is used for oats
  • Aging time in oak barrels at least three years
  • it is distilled three times (patent-still-process)
  • is offered as a blended or Malt Irish Whiskey
  • Production of blended and malt whiskeys like Scotch Whisky
Various influences have led in the past to a very strong concentration of whiskey production on the island of Ireland. Currently, there is a significant production of nearly one hundred different varieties only at five locations. The Irish Distillers Group, which belongs to the French Pernod Ricard Group since 1987, produced in a modern industrial facility in Midleton, County Cork in the south of the republic. Here the various John Jameson whiskeys are produced since 1843, the Paddy brand and several smaller brands for the Irish market, as well as John Power, for William Grant & Sons, the well-known, especially in Germany and Denmark Tullamore Dew. County Antrim in Northern Ireland is the site of the famous Old Bushmills Distillery, which was founded in 1784 and belongs to the group Diageo. A special role took founded, innovative and until December 2011 only until 1987 independent Cooley Distillery in Riverstown near Northern Ireland one, in Kilbeggan, Locke, Connemara and Tyrconnell be prepared. The status of the oldest whiskey distillery in Ireland has recently lost to the Kilbeggan Distillery Bushmills. The distillery was founded in 1757, has resumed operation on 19 March 2007, 250 years after the opening. In December 2011, Cooley Distillery Jim Beam bought for US $ 95 million. Since December 2012 Distillery is distilled again in the West of Ireland in the Dingle. The first Dingle Whiskey will give 2016 maturity after 4 years. Dublin has since 2015 after 125 years of abstinence also the first time an own whiskey distillery. In the Teeling Whiskey Distillery of the "Spirit of Old Dublin" is brought back to life.

Since the malt does not come into contact with smoke, taste Irish whiskey mild (almost sweet) than most Scotch whiskey. Pot still stills are in Ireland (Irish pot still whiskey) is many times greater than that in Scotland (Scottish malt whiskey). Comparable large stills in Scotland are only used for the production of the Scottish Grain whiskeys.

Most Irish whiskeys are blends, but lately also increasingly single malts are offered. Further quality descriptions can be found Single Pot Still (until 2010/2011 Pure Pot Still), which means that in the preparation of a mixture of malted and unmalted barley is used, the proportion of unmalted barley is higher. However, the method of preparation is identical to that of Irish malt whiskeys.

The Irish whiskey differs from Scotch whisky aperture in that the taste is influenced mainly by the combination of different ripening processes in various types of barrels (sherry, bourbon, port wine barrels). Wherefore they say in Ireland also from Vatting (mixing barrel).
American Whiskey (USA)
All whiskeys from the United States are summarized under the collective term "American Whiskey". This can be made from corn, rye, barley or more rarely wheat. The assortment of cereals differs regionally in accordance with the Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits, Title 27 Code of Federal Regulations, Pt. 5:22 (1) (iii)

The current whiskey production in the United States dominated by a dozen or so large distilleries, so that almost every sold whiskey comes from each one distillery, blended whiskey as a mixture of whiskey distilleries more does not happen almost. Legally not defined - designations for Single Barrel whiskey from a single barrel and small batch naturalized for whiskey from a relatively small amount of barrels as differentiators to. In the years since 2010 several hundred developed alongside major distilleries, sitting almost exclusively in Kentucky and Tennessee, again micro distilleries throughout the country.

In the United States also various drinks to be sold as whiskey, are not covered by the European regulations: White Dog / Legal Moonshine / Mash Whiskey is clear, which is stored after the distilling a few weeks or months. Blended Whiskey may invest up to 80% other alcohol included (in practice usually vodka or neutral alcohol), Spirit whiskey can contain up to 95% other alcohol.

American Straight Whiskey
Straight whiskey must be stored in fresh oak casks at least two years. Depending on the raw material used, it is divided into:

Rye Whiskey
Rye whiskey or just Rye is a whiskey whose mash must contain at least 51% rye. He was the original whiskey across North America. Only at the end of Prohibition, he was overtaken by Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey popularity. Popular he is as an ingredient for cocktails because of the harsher and spicy taste.

Bourbon Whiskey
Bourbon is a whiskey which must be made from at least 51% and at most 80% of corn, preferably a proportion of maize in the mash of about 65 to 75%. To be sold as Straight Bourbon, there is a statutory storage period of two years, which must be completed in new, charred white oak barrels inside. Bourbon Whiskey achieved due to the fresh wood of the barrels and the climatic conditions of its production region its maturity after a few years. Is supplemented corn in the grain mixture with rye or more rarely wheat.

Tennessee Whiskey
This Bourbon comes from Tennessee, which was produced in the US Federal State of Tennessee and filtered prior to barrel aging over charcoal, which makes it very mildly. This process is charcoal mellowing, leaching or called Lincoln County Process.

Corn Whiskey
Corn Whiskey is corn whiskey with at least 79% proportion of maize. The whiskey must be distilled maximum to 80%. This must not be stored in barrels. e.g. White Dog
Japanese Whisky
Since the mid-1920s is also in Japan - especially in the cooler north of the country, where no rice cultivation is possible - single malt produced. As a model of measurement is the Scottish Malt Whisky. The Japanese interest in the Scottish national drink went so far that they were shopping in some Scottish distilleries. The two largest producers are Suntory and Nikka.

Known distilleries:
  • Chichibu: opened in 2008 near Chichibu on Honshu
  • Fuji Gotemba: built in 1973 at the foot of Mount Fuji, one of Kirin / Mitsubishi
  • Hakushu: built in 1973 in Yamanashi on Honshu (24 stills), since the mid-1990s decommissioned, belongs to Suntory
  • Hakushu Higashi: 1981 built in Yamanashi on Honshu (twelve stills), now marketed as Hakushu, belongs to Suntory
  • Hanyu: 1941 built in Hanyu, from 1980 until its closure in 2000 whiskey was produced, 2004, the two stills were removed
  • Kagoshima: in Kagoshima Prefecture on Kyushu produced until 1984 Whisky, one of Hombo Spirits
  • Karuizawa: 1955 built in Nagano on Honshu, the distillery is closed since 2001 and in 2007 was finally demolished
  • Sendai / Miyagikyo: Built in 1969 near Sendai on Honshu, has eight stills, one of Nikka
  • Shinshu: Built in 1985 in about 800 m altitude in Kamiinagun on Honshu, one of Hombo Spirits
  • Yamazaki: 1923 built between Osaka and Kyoto on Honshu (12 stills), since here Whisky November 11, 1924 is produced, it is available since 1929, is one of Suntory
  • Yoichi 1934 built on Hokkaido, since 1936 is whisky produced, it is available since 1940, is one of Nikka
Literature/Sources: Wikipedia