Whisky or Whiskey?


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With this presentation, I try to give an introduction to the world of whisk(e)y for those who love one of the best spirits in the world. Is important to understand the differences among all types of whiskey or whisky and its characteristics. I provide as well a taste map to differentiate whisky brands depending on their flavours or tastes.

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Whisky or Whiskey?

  1. 1. INDEX 1. Introduction 2. History 3. Production 4. Types 5. Types: countries 6. Volumes 7. Ways of doing 1. Recipes 8. Kinds of... 9. Taste map 10. Main Brands 11. Cocktails recipes
  2. 2.   Type of alcoholic distilled beverage made from fermented grain mash («mezcla de granos fermentados»), as:  Barley («cebada»)  Malted barley  Rye («centeno»)  Malted rye  Wheat («trigo»)  Buckwheat («alforfòn»)  Corn («maìz»)  Whisky is tipically aged in wooden casks («barriles de madera»), made generally of charred white oak («madera de roble carbonizado») Introduction
  3. 3. Etymology Whisky/Whiskey is the anglicisation of the Gaelic word «uisceluisge», which means water. In Latin, distilled alcohol was known as «aqua vitae», so water of life. Spellings The spelling difference between «whiskey» and «whisky» is, mainly, focused on regional language convention: WHISKEY WHISKY Rest of the World
  4. 4.  The art of alcohol distillation begun in Italy in the 13th century, coming up from wine, and its use was spread by medieval monasteries, largely for medicinal purposes, such as the treatment of colic and smallpox («viruela»).  The first written record of whisky distillation comes from 1405 in Ireland.  During 1536-1541, King Henry VIII of England dissolved the monasteries, then the monks were sent out into the general public. Thus, whisky production moved to homes and farms as newly independent monks needed to find a way to earn money for themselves.  At the beginning, the whisky distillation was not allowed to age, and the result was raw and hard compared to today’s whisky.  Once in Scotland, after de merge with England in 1707 («Acts of Union»), rose up elevated taxes on it, therefore scottish distillers start to distill homemade whisky by night, raising the name of «Moonshine» and hiding all the output, forecasting an overall of over the half whisky’s production as illegal.  In the USA, during the prohibition era, lasting from 1920 to 1933, all the whisky sales were banned by the government, being approved just by a doctor prescription and sold through licensed pharmacies. History
  5. 5.   Distillation  A still («destilador») for making whisky is usually made of copper («cobre») as it removes the sulfur-based compounds from the alcohol that would make it unpleasant to drink. The simplest standard distillation apparatus is the pot still, but column stills are more common to produce american bourbon or whiskeys. These behave like a series of single pot stills, formed in a long vertical tube, getting a higher vapour alcohol content (= more pure alcohol, less flavoured).  Aging  Whiskies age only in the casks, not in the bottle, being this the period between the distillation and the bottling, which gives the idea how important is the interaction of the cask with the liquid, changing its taste and chemical makeup. Furthermore, after a decade or two, the aging process could not necessarily improve the liquid.  Packaging  Most whiskies are sold at or near to 40% percentage, which is the minimum statutory in some countries. Production
  6. 6.   Whisky is made, generally of:  Malted barley («cebada malteada»)  Malt whisky  Any type of grains  Grain whisky  Malts and grains are combined in different ways:  Single Malt Whisky  Single distillery uses only one particular malted grain. It contains whisky from different casks, and different years, giving a unique taste recognisable as typical of the distillery, bearing («usar/mostrar») usually the name of the distillery.  Blended Malt Whisky  Mixture of different single malt whiskies from different distilleries. They’re usually labelled «pure malt» or just «malt».  Blended Whisky  Mixture of different types of whisky. The blend («mezcla») may contain whisky from different distilleries, creating a flavour consistent with the brand. In this case, the name of the distillery is normally omit, being sold as a part of a blend (most Scotch, Irish and Canadian whiskies).  Cask strength (or «Barrel proof»)  Are rare cause just the really best whiskies are bottled in this way. They’re bottled from the cask diluted or lightly diluted.  Single cask («Single Barrel»)  Are botteld from an individual cask, and these bottles are usually labelled with specific barrel and bottle numbers. Types
  7. 7.  American Whiskey  Fermented mash of cereal grain; types:  Bourbon whiskey (Tennessee whiskey): mash of, at least, 51% corn  Corn whiskey: mash of, at least, 80% corn  Malt whiskey: at least 51% of malted barley  Rye whiskey: at least 51% rye («centeno»)  Rye malt whiskey: at least 51% malted rye  Wheat whiskey: at least 51% wheat («trigo»)  These types cannot be distilled to no more than 80% of alcohol by volume, and barrelled at no more than 125 proof («grados de prueba/gradaciòn alcohòlica»)  Only water can be added to the final product, being colouring and flavouring prohibited.  These whiskeys must be aged in new charred-oak barrels, except the Corn whiskey, while it’s sold as a legal version of «Moonshine» (does not have to be aged).  American blended whiskeys combine straight whiskey with Neutral Grain Spirits (NGS), flavourings and colourings. Types: Countries
  8. 8.  Canadian Whisky  Canadian whiskies must be produced and aged in Canada by law.  Is distilled from a fermented mash of cereal grain, aged in wood barrels for not less than 3 years.  They may contain caramel and flavouring in addition to the distilled mash spirits, and there is no maximum limit on the alcohol level of the distillation. Types: Countries
  9. 9.  Irish Whiskey  Normally distilled three times.  Traditionally used the distillation in pot stills, the column still is now used to produce grain whiskey for blends.  By law, must be produced in Ireland and aged in wooden barrels for no less than 3 years, although in practice it’s usually three or four times that period.  Main types are:  Single malt  Single grain  Blended whiskey  Pure pot still whiskey Types: Countries
  10. 10.  Scotch  Usually distilled twice, although some are distilled three times, and other even up to 20 times.  By law, must bear the label «Scotch», be distilled in Scotland and matured for a minimum of 3 years in oak casks.  An age statement in the bottle must reflect the age of the youngest Scotch whisky used to produce that product, being as three years old if not statement included.  The distinctive smoky flavour of the Scotch whisky comes up due to the use of peat («turba») smoke to treat their malt.  The main five regions of Scotch malt whiskies are Highland, Lowland, Islay, Speyside e Campbeltown. Types: Countries
  11. 11. Volumes  Currently, the direct exports of scotch is well performing in US, Mexico and India, falling near to 30% in China.  The US is the largest market by value, while India in terms of volume.  Good performance but with difficulties due to the tax hike since 2012 in the Spirits.
  12. 12.   There’s not a single right way to taste the Classic Malts, eventhough there are surely ways of tasting it better.  The main ways are: Ways of doing 1) With water It changes the compounds of the whisky, raising tastes and aromas. The best would be filling it with scotch water (water coming from the same place of the distillery), unless with natural/still water. 2) With ice «On the rocks» Refreshing the whisky but it may take aromas and tastes off the drink. 3) With soda It may not be the best way to taste a single malt, but there could be different brands appropriate for this way of doing (JW Red Label)
  13. 13.   Before a meal («Aperitivo»)  They could be a perfect «aperitivo» if drinking the lighter whisky in aroma, close to recently cut grass and fresh fruit, to prepare the palate before eating.  During the meal  Desserts, (salty) cakes, cheese, and other kind of meals that could perfectly match a single malt-  Examples in the next slide Ways of doing
  14. 14.   The salmon gets the control over the strong aroma coming from the single malt, increasing the other tastes.  Good with herbs and vegetables.  Cut the salmon in different parts  Roll/Wrap each piece to basilicum, parsley, and add a little lemon squeeze. Ways of doing: Recipes  Strong flavours that match each other and offers a magnific duet of delicacy in the palate.  Toast a piece of bread spiced (with honey e.g.) making it crunchy  Put a slice of Roquerfort in the piece of toasted bread  Add some ficus fruit or grapes
  15. 15.  Kinds of...
  16. 16.  Taste map
  17. 17.  Main Brands
  18. 18.  Cocktails recipes
  19. 19.   Wikipedia  www.malts.com Bibliography