What is the strongest whiskey

Whiskeys in comparison

© Pixabay / Whiskey barrels

Whiskey is a traditional drink that many associate with countries such as Scotland, Ireland and the USA. The golden-yellow culinary delight is celebrated by connoisseurs and drunk in style. The choice between bourbon, single malt or blended whiskey is enormous. In the following, we will show you in detail what properties whiskey has, where it comes from, show special features and differences and illuminate the myth in more detail.

Whiskey

Water plays a major role in the home of whiskey. In Gaelic, the word means something like water of life. But what exactly is whiskey? The drink consists of grains such as rye, corn, wheat or barley. In addition, whiskey matures for years in special oak barrels that were originally used for sherry or bourbon.

Even the production is special. In the distilleries, the experts work with great attention to detail and spend several years on storage and perfect maturity. Whiskey may consist exclusively of grain and must have matured for at least three years in oak barrels and have an alcohol content of at least 40% vol. When bottled. Bourbon and Scotch whiskey are best known.

What do the different names mean?

There are some differences in whiskey and different types. The differences relate primarily to the manufacturing process, storage and the processed grain. In the trade, whiskey can be found under different names, for example the differentiation according to the grain helps.

Single malt

Single malt whiskey is made from water and malted barley in a single distillery in the so-called pot stilles, the stills.

Grain

Grain whiskey is a product made from wheat, unmalted barley and oats. That goes for Europe. Rye can also be added in the USA and Canada, and corn is also processed in the USA. Grain distillates are used exclusively for blended whiskeys.

Blended

Blended whiskey is a mixture of different distillates and whiskeys. This results in a certain branded product that always tastes the same.

Rye

Rye whiskey is mainly made from rye. The product must have a share of at least 51 percent rye.

bourbon

Bourbon is best known in the USA and mostly comes from Kentucky. This whiskey contains at least 51 percent corn.

Corn

Corn is whiskey that is mostly made from corn. The proportion of maize is over 80 percent.

Paint

Malt whiskey is whiskey made from malted barley.

How do you recognize quality features in whiskey?

Whiskey is not just whiskey, but there are some important quality features that connoisseurs should know. Of course, it also depends on personal, subjective taste. The objective quality is primarily determined by the quality of the raw materials and the careful processing. If you want to get an idea, you can orientate yourself here.

One point is the difference between a blended whiskey, i.e. a mixture, or a pure whiskey, the single malt. Another important question is how long the whiskey was stored in the barrel. As a result, it can be a vintage whiskey or a limited single barrel bottling. These individual bottlings are particularly popular with collectors.

Caramel is often added to whiskey. This is customary to give the whiskey the amber color. However, this has little effect on the taste. In addition, the whiskey may have been cold-filtered during production. This releases fatty acids that can cloud the whiskey. However, these fatty acids also contain aromatic substances that the whiskey ultimately lacks.

Which spring water was used for the production also plays a role for the quality and purity.

In which countries is whiskey made?

Scotland

Scotch whiskey is now produced in around 100 distilleries. The distilleries and the beverages produced there are classified according to regions that have a typical characteristic note.

Scottish whiskey has to meet a number of criteria. For example, it must contain water and malted barley. In addition, the whiskey must be stored in oak lockers with a capacity of up to 700 liters in Scotland under bonded locks for at least three years. Before the whiskey is bottled, water and caramel can be added.

The most important regions of Scotland are the Highlands, Speyside, Lowlands, Islay and the islands. Depending on the region, the whiskey tastes aromatic, tart, fruity, salty or earthy and peaty.

Whiskey is an important economic factor for Scotland, with almost 350 million liters of whiskey exported worldwide every year. The main destinations are the USA, France and Spain as well as Japan. The products are referred to as single malt scotch whiskey, single grain scotch whiskey, blended malt scotch whiskey, blended grain scotch whiskey or blended scotch whiskey. The best-known varieties include Glenlivet, Dalwhinnie, Bowmore or Scapa.

Ireland

The production of Irish whiskey is no different from its counterpart from Scotland. The peculiarities of the Irish whiskey are the processing of oats, the storage in oak compartments and the triple distillation. In addition, the mash is not dried over peat fire, so the whiskey has a milder taste.

Blended or malt Irish whiskey can be found on the market. The best-known varieties include John-Jameson, Bushmills and Tullamore. There are still mainly five production sites in Ireland.

United States

American whiskey is mainly made from rye, corn, barley or wheat. Regional differences exist in the respective composition of the grain mixture. This also influences the taste in each case.

American whiskey is divided into American straight whiskey and American blended whiskey. The first group includes rye whiskey made from rye, bourbon whiskey with a major proportion of corn, Tennessee whiskey, which is filtered through charcoal before storage, and corn whiskey, which contains at least 80 percent corn and is not distilled out.

Japan

There is a fairly young tradition of whiskey production in Japan. Whiskey has been produced mainly in the north of the country since the 1920s. The single malt is produced here based on the Scottish model. The Japanese have a great fondness for whiskey and also bought into Scottish companies. Well-known Japanese producers are Suntory and Nikka.

Which producers are popular?

Jameson

Jameson is a traditional distillery from Ireland. It was founded in 1780 by John Jameson in the capital Dublin. Production took place in Dublin until 1971; today there is a show distillery here. Production is now located in Midleton, County Cork.

Jameson mainly produces blended whiskey. In the 1960s, Jameson merged with other distilleries, today it belongs to the French group Pernod-Ricard. Jameson became known worldwide with the products Jameson Original, Jameson Gold and Jameson Triple Distilled.

Laphroaig

Laphroaig is one of the most famous Scottish whiskeys and comes from the Hebridean island of Islay. The old distillery buildings are listed and can be visited. The distillery was founded in 1815 by the brothers Alex and Donald Johnston in the coastal town of the same name. Previously it was a farm distillery for personal use.

Laphroaig is purveyor to the court for the Prince of Wales and is now part of the American-Japanese company Beam Santory. Well-known products are the Laphroaig 10, 15 or 18 years old and the Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

Glenlivet

Glenlivet is a Scottish distillery from the Speyside region. George Smith founded the distillery in 1823 as the first legal distillery. Before that, illegal distilling had a long tradition. In the 1970s, the distillery went to the US company Seagram, later to Pernod Ricard.

Glenlivet offers guests a visitor center and tours. The product range includes the Glenlivet 12, 15 or 18 years as well as Glenlivet Nàdurra and The Glenlivet Archive 21 Years.

Glenfiddich

Glenfiddich is a whiskey from the Scottish Highlands and comes from the town of Dufftown. The distillery in the Speyside region was founded in the 1860s by the Grant family. The specialty of the company is that it is Scotland's distillery that is still owned by the original founding family.

Glenfiddich is also one of the most popular brands in Germany and is known for the striking triangular shape of the bottles. The product range includes Glenfiddich 12, 18 and 30 years, Rich Oak 14 years or Solera Reserve 15 years.

Talisker

Talisker is also a Scottish whiskey and comes from the famous Hebridean island of Skye. In 1831 the distillery was founded by the brothers Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill. Today the company is part of the Diageo Group. Tourists can tour the distillery and take part in whiskey tastings.

Chivas

Chivas or Chivas Regal is a Scottish whiskey from the Aberdeenshire region and is now a subsidiary of the Pernod Ricard Group. Queen Victoria made Chivas purveyor to the court for Balmoral Castle. James and John Chivas founded the distillery in 1801.

Today, Chivas is particularly popular in Asia, especially Japan and China. Products include Chivas Regal 12, Chivas Regal 25, Chivas Regal The Brothers Blend or Chivas Regal Gold Signature 18 year old.

How is whiskey drunk?

You don't drink whiskey from just any glass. Connoisseurs argue about the right way to drink whiskey. While some prefer whiskey with ice, this is a gross faux pas for others. In any case, you should allow enough time for bourbon, Irish whiskey or scotch. Experts do not recommend tumblers, but rather nosing glasses. These have a small diameter, a thicker belly and maintain the aroma a little longer.

What are popular whiskey cocktails and mixed drinks?

Irish Coffee

The Irish coffee is a real classic and consists of Irish whiskey, coffee, sugar and whipped cream. The coffee and whiskey are poured into a tall glass. The sugar is dissolved in the hot coffee. Shortly before serving, the garnish with the whipped cream follows. Connoisseurs appreciate the mix of tart notes of coffee and whiskey as well as the sweetness of the cream and sugar. The drink is especially popular in cold winter.

Manhattan

The Manhattan is also a classic cocktail, especially popular as an aperitif. This requires American or Canadian whiskey, vermouth and a shot of Angustura bitters.

At the bar you can choose from sweet or sweet, perfect or half and half, and dry or dry. The drink is served in a martini glass with ice and cocktail cherry.

Whiskey sour

Whiskey Sour is a classic among cocktails and is especially popular because of its fruity note. The cocktail consists of whiskey, sugar syrup and lemon juice. Ice cubes, a cocktail cherry and a slice of orange are added for decoration. Connoisseurs particularly appreciate the contrast between the fruity citrus note and the sweet, woody whiskey as well as the refreshing effect.

In addition, whiskey can be used in many ways for cooking and baking, for example for sauces, cakes and pastries such as muffins or in desserts.

Is whiskey suitable as an investment?

In addition to classics such as stocks or real estate, whiskey is also suitable as an alternative investment. The Scottish whiskey in particular has turned out to be an insider tip for investors. Collectors should find out more about the possibilities. Particularly interesting are strictly limited special bottlings or, for example, years of the post-war years in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when barley was rare.

When collecting, it makes sense to focus on specific distilleries. In addition, experts advise using a certain budget. Recommendations include Bowmore Claret, Black Bowmore, Macallan 25 J. 1974 or Glenmorangie Tain L’Herimitage. When making a selection, it is important to trust only proven experts and specialist dealers or specialized auctions.

Final questions on the subject

Correct spelling - whiskey or whiskey?

Both spellings are correct. While the spelling of whiskey is preferred in Scotland and Great Britain as well as on mainland Europe, the spelling of whiskey is common in Ireland and the USA.

What do you eat for whiskey tasting?

During a whiskey tasting, water is typically served, but also white bread, pretzels, high-quality olive oil or dark chocolate.

What is the most expensive whiskey in the world?

The most expensive whiskey in the world comes from Scotland. In 2014, one of four Macallan M bottles, exactly a six-liter crystal decanter, was auctioned at Sotheby’s auction house for a proud $ 628,000.

How many calories does a whiskey have?

Like other alcoholic beverages, whiskey is also rich in calories. A 100 ml glass of whiskey has 227 kcal or 951 KJ, which is equivalent to 100 grams of chocolate ice cream or six chicken nuggets.

What's the difference between whiskey and rum?

The starting point for whiskey is grain, for rum it is sugar cane or molasses. White rum is not stored in the barrel, but brown rum and whiskey are. Rum is usually sweet in taste, whiskey can also be fruity and sweet, but also smoky, tart and more diverse.

Can whiskey go bad?

Actually, whiskey can't go bad. Unopened whiskey is stored upright. This is due to the cork, which is not as tight and therefore not as tight as it is with wine. Whiskey evaporates over time, but can be stored for up to ten years. Opened whiskey evaporates faster and changes the taste. The whiskey keeps open for about six months.

Maik Rowinski, Editor-in-chief

Maik is one of the founders of this project and part of this team as editor-in-chief. As a trained system mechanic, technology nerd and passionate do-it-yourselfer, Maik is our expert for electronics, hardware stores and leisure.