defination of Whisky

Whisky

Despite consuming as much whisky as the rest of the planet, India is relatively new to good whisky. And when you find out that most Indian whisky is made from molasses and mixed with rectified spirit – you might say a large section of India's drinkers are new to whisky in general. This is where we at AllAboutDaru feel a sense of responsibility – so here is all the info you'll need about the classiest daru out there – Whisky!

Manufacturing

Whisky is usually derived from grain, like barley, corn, or rye. This grain is collected and mixed with steaming hot water to create a 'mash'. The mash is then fermented in a large tank, so that yeast can go to work, turning the sugars released from mashing into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Up until this point, the process is quite similar to how beer is made, and the substance is now actually called 'distiller's beer'. The 'distiller's beer' (which can be as strong as 10% ABV) is then boiled in large copper stills, and the steam is collected in a process called distillation, which is sometimes repeated one or even twice over! What's produced is now a stronger liquid that is much closer to recognizable whisky. However, at this stage it still doesn't have the color, taste, nor aroma associated with the drink. All of that comes from the last and arguably most crucial stage in whisky production – aging. Whisky is aged in wooden barrels called 'casks', usually for a period of 3 to 10 years. The age of the whisky is determined by how long it was left to mature in the cask, and doesn't include the time it spends in a bottle. This is because whisky does not mature in the bottle. A lot of effort goes into procuring and preparing the cask. If the cask is made using new white oak wood, the whisky produced is called 'straight' whisky (like Jack Daniel's). The inside of a cask is charred (or toasted) to open up the pores in the caramelized layer of the wood, allowing the whisky to enter it and take in the flavor, color, and aroma that the wood imparts. The whisky penetrates so deep, that anywhere between 5-10% evaporates right through the barrel, a percentage known as the 'angel's share'. Used casks are considered 'seasoned' and are reused, sometimes to create whisky in an entirely different country! So what exactly do casks do during the maturation period? Well, they effect the whisky in three ways (called mechanisms). Firstly they remove unwanted flavors (for example, the charred inner surface removes sulphury compounds). They add flavor and color (for example, American White Oak casks impart a bright golden color and notes of vanilla, while casks made of pish Oak will give the whisky a much darker color, and the flavors will include fruity notes). And thirdly, the aforementioned 'angel's share', in which the whisky breathes its way out of the cask, and loses both volume and alcohol content, and thus becomes more mellow. Once whisky has aged enough, it is bottled, sold, and consumed around the world.

Types of Whisky

There are broadly three different ways to classify whisky – what grain they're made from, whether they're combined with other whiskys or not, and where they come from.

Types by Grain

Malt Whisky: Malt whisky is derived exclusively from malted barley, and produces some of the best whisky in the world.

Grain Whisky: When grain other than malted barley is used, the whisky will fall under this type. The grains used are usually combinations of corn (maize), wheat, or rye. Some va riations use malt as well, and can be just as popular as malt whiskys.

Types by combination

Single Malt: The 'single' here points out that it is the product of a single distillery. That said, it would be a mix of different casks to maintain a particular flavor.

Blended Malt: There the same malt grain is used in multiple distilleries and blended together.

Blended Whisky: When you combine different kinds of grain, and entire whiskys together, you get a blended whisky. Additives are often added, like neutral spirits, coloring, and flavoring. A vast majority of the world's whisky is produced this way, and is available in any country that produces whisky.

Single Cask: Also called single barrel whisky, is exactly what the name suggests. When they're bottled, they will have information about the cask they were aged in. Sinc e each barrel imparts its own unique characteristics, they are considered premium and, in a way, unique. These are sometimes sold at 'cask strength', which means they are undiluted and very strong (around 60% ABV).

Types by Origin

American Whisky: Known commonly as bourbon, it is prepared mainly from corn and aged in oak barrels. Tennessee straight whisky, like Jack Daniels', is one of America 's most famous indigenous whiskys.

Scottish Whisky: Also called Scotch, it is a matter of national pride for Scotland, and as such, it is heavily regulated. It is defined as whisky distilled and aged in Scotland (f or at least 3 years) in oak barrels. The strength is required to be at least 40% ABV, and substances like coloring and flavoring agents are prohibited.

Canadian Whisky: Canadian whisky is known to have a softer body and flavor, and is often not as strong as other whiskys. They're commonly made from a mix of barley, wheat, rye, and corn.

Irish Whisky: The etymology of the word 'whisky' reveals it's origin in the Irish phrase 'uisce beatha', which means 'water of life'. It is typically triple distilled, and uses barley, wheat, and corn.

Indian Whisky: Made primarily from molasses and strengthened with rectified spirit, Indian whisky is sometimes considered rum. There are, however, grain and malt based Indian whiskys that are growing in popularity.

 

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