how to choose a whisky

How to choose a whisky? Three steps

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Here’s a summary of three steps to consider on how to choose a whisky. You need to take into account multiple factors.

In general, whiskey can be one of many distilled liquors made from a fermented mash of grains and aged in wooden vessels, usually oak. Commonly used grains are corn, barley malt, rye and wheat.


How to choose a whisky?

Beginner or not, we show you how to choose it.


Different types of whisky according to the region

Not all whiskies are the same. They come from different regions of the world.

  • Scotch whisky*: made from malted barley and barley. Most have a peaty aroma and a smoky taste.

*There are UK laws that regulate the definitions of the different categories and the marketing of Scotch whisky; they establish production standards and specify that a whisky cannot be called Scotch unless it is wholly produced and bottled in Scotland.

  • Irish Whiskey: Irish whiskey uses rye, barley and malted barley. It has a medium, well-balanced taste and a persistent multi-faceted aroma.
  • American Whiskey: made from rye, corn and wheat. The composition of a drink is approximately 51% corn alcohol. A sweet taste characterizes it.
  • Canadian Whiskey: all Canadian whiskey selects rye for production, and the bottles clearly express the rye whisky mention.
  • Japanese Whiskey: resembles Scotch whisky in flavor, color and texture, but is an excellent choice as a gourmet solution. They make up for great Highball cocktails, especially when made with blended whiskeys.

Photo by montatip lilitsanong on Unsplash


Knowing varieties, will also help you on how to choose a whisky

-Grain: in this type of whisky, cereals are predominant as a base.

-Malt: malt whiskey use pure barley. Important fact, malt whisky divide into different groups:

  • Single Malt: the classic and most common choice made from malted barley. It is often a mixture of alcohols from different aging periods, blended in different barrels.
  • Single Cask Malt: based on alcohol made in a single oak barrel. Persistent aroma and flavor.
  • Pure Malt: the purest blend of single malt whisky, combined in a unique blend. An example is Ballantine’s whisky.

-Blended: blended whisky is a mixture of grain and malt, one of the most popular, but not the least of which is its quality.

-Bourbon: a type of American whiskey made with corn grains, but with differences in production technology.

Photo by Charl Folscher on Unsplash


Whisky ages and barrels

How to choose a whisky will also depende on the age. The age of a whisky depends on the maturation of the youngest alcohol in the blend. For example, any whisky that says “18 years” on its label means that the youngest alcohol in the blend spent at least 18 years in the barrel. The period after bottling does not count.

-Whisky ages in oak barrels for 3 years.

-The bourbon, on the other hand, has a minimum aging period of 2 years.

-Most producers prefer drinks of 5 to 12 years to be perfect according to their characteristics of flavor and aroma.

-Must be careful with the younger varieties as the short period of aging can negatively affect the quality of the product.

-The bottles of whisky over 20 years old have a unique character and are considered a collector’s item.


What are your tips on how to choose a whisky? Let us know!


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