Know Your Whiskey

maurice amonWhat is whiskey? Where does it come from? How is it made? What are the differences between each type? Here is where you find out:

Whiskey is what you drink when you ferment grain mash, similar to the beer making process. instead of continuing the beer process though you distill it, similar to vodka. For a drink to be considered whisked it needs to be at least 40% alcohol by volume (ABV), and cannot exceed 94.8% ABV. DIfferences between the major types of whiskey come from the types of grain used in the mash, and the location of the process.


The scotch variety of whiskey comes from the place it was made, and similar to what it sounds like, Scotland. It cannot be considered scotch unless it was made in Scotland. To qualify it must also be made from a malted barley mash, not using much more than barley water and yeast. Scotch and most whiskeys get their color from aging in charred barrels. Scotch must be aged in oak barrels for at least three years.


This varieties mash-grain mixture has to be at least 51% corn to be considered bourbon. The other 49% can be filled in by the distillers discretion. Contrary to scotch, bourbon must be made in the United States and contain no more than 80% ABV. While bourbon has no aging limits within charred casks, straight bourbon has a minimum of two years.

Tennessee Whiskey

This type of whiskey is the same as bourbon in every way except the fact that it must be produced in Tennessee, USA.


With loose definitive rules associated to the variation, rye whiskey In Canada, its origin country must have some rye in it (can be as high as a rye to corn ration of 9:1) and have the aroma and taste of rye whiskey.

American Rye has qualifacations of 51% rye mash with a finishing ABV of 80%

Irish Whiskey

You guessed it, Irish whiskey is whiskey that is produced only in Ireland. Other than that it follows the same rules as scotch. It must have an ABV lower than 94.8, aged for at least three years.

(Real Men Drink Whiskey)