With World Whisky Day coming up on 20 May, Black Bottle whisky has put together a cheat sheet of whisky facts to help you sound like a pro next time you’re sipping on a good dram.
1. Is it whisky or whiskey?
American and Irish producers like to end the word with an ‘ey’, while Canadian, Japanese and Scottish producers favour the simple ‘y’. In South Africa, we agree with the Scots and predominantly spell it ‘whisky’. When WhatsApping your friend to see if she wants to join you at Whisky Live, be sure to spell whisky without an ‘e’.
2. All whisky starts off as beer
Casually drop in this fact next time you’re sipping on your favourite Scotch with your foodie friends. While you may think that whisky and beer couldn’t be more different, the truth is that for the first two days of processing, beer and whisky are identical. While beer is fermented and whisky is distilled, they use the same basic ingredients.
3. No two whiskies taste the same
As a spirit with one of the most varied flavour profiles, you can enjoy a variety of sweet, fruity, floral, spicy, herbal, oaky, nutty, dry and smoky tastes depending on the whisky you are sipping. This wide variety of tastes is influenced by region, grain, distilling method and the type of oak barrels it’s matured in to name a few.
4. Blended whiskies are on par with single malts
You get good single malts and bad single malts, and it’s the same with blended whisky. They’re two different styles of whisky, with different profiles, but there are exceptional blended whiskies that combine the very best that’s available.
5. Not all whisky is called Scotch
As the name suggests, the term ‘Scotch Whisky’ or ‘Scotch’ is reserved for whiskies that come from Scotland. If you’ve just bought a Japanese whisky, it’s best not to describe it as a ‘Scotch’.
6. Older is not necessarily better
While an 18-year-old whisky is going to be more expensive than a 10-year-old whisky due to its extended time in the casket, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to enjoy it more. Don’t just go with the oldest Scotch you can find, do some research and taste a few varieties and make your choice based on your own preference.
7. Price is not always an indication of great quality
A well-recognised brand name and hefty price tag doesn’t always equate to a drink that you’ll love. What’s exciting, is that there are so many fantastic whiskies on the market – both single malt and blended – that can appeal to both your palate and wallet.
8. Whisky is very mixable
Whisky cocktails have been enjoyed for decades, and good quality whisky is used within the cocktails so that the flavour of the ingredients and whisky complement each other to perfection. Blended whisky, like Black Bottle, which contains lighter grain whiskies as well as single malt, has a wide spectrum of tastes that is ideal for making cocktails with.
WIN! To celebrate World Whisky Day, we’re giving three lucky readers the chance to win a bottle of Black Bottle Whisky each. To enter, simply complete the entry form below. Competition ends 31 May 2017. Terms and conditions apply.