A corn-based whiskey will be sweeter than a rye-based whiskey, while wheat produces a softer style. A straight whiskey is one that is made from at least 51% of a single grain and aged for a minimum of two years in new, charred oak barrels. Whiskey can be served neat or on the rocks.
Kentucky is the birthplace of bourbon, and bourbon can be made only in the United States. At least 51% of the grain must be corn (but not more than 79%), which makes bourbon sweeter than rye-based whiskey. A master distiller may create a single-barrel bourbon from a single superior barrel, or a small-batch bourbon by blending a few of the best barrels.
At least 80% of the grain must be corn. It is usually not aged, but if labeled as straight corn whiskey it must remain in used or uncharred new oak for two or more years.
At least 51% of the grain must be rye.
Similar to bourbon, except that the whiskey goes through a charcoal filtration after distillation.
Irish whiskey is made from a mash of barley (malted and unmalted), corn and rye. It is distilled three times and typically aged at least seven years. It tastes somewhat similar to scotch but is more delicate and lacks the iodine character of the peat.
Scotch is made with malted barley, meaning that the grain has sprouted, creating a chemical change that allows it to ferment. The sprouted barley, known as “green malt,” is then roasted in kilns fueled by peat, which gives scotch its distinctive flavor, often described as having notes of peat, heather, malt, smoke and iodine. Regional names in Scotland often appear on the label, including Lowland, Speyside, Highland and Islay.
A blend of single malts from multiple distilleries with different ages.