Whisky’s, Whiskey’s and Bourbons.
There are many different whiskeys that you can purchase, but in general there are 4 main categories of whiskey: Scottish, Irish, American, and Canadian.
Scottish whiskeys are made from a process that uses peat in the malting of the barley. Malting is the process of drying the barley and then soaking it to make it sprout before drying the barley again. Since peat is used during this process, Scottish whiskey comes out with a mossy or peaty flavor that can be very strong at times. Scottish whiskeys may be single malt or blended; single malt simply means that the whiskey comes from a single distillery where as a blended Scottish whiskey is made from several distilleries.
Irish whiskey, like Scottish whiskey, is primarily made from barley. However, when the malting process takes place, no peat is used which takes away the earthy, mossy flavor that is found in the Scottish whiskey and produces a smoother tasting whiskey. Also, like Scottish whiskey, Irish whiskey can be single malted or blended, made at one distillery or blended from several.
American whiskeys can also be made of barley, but the majority of American whiskeys are made from other ingredients. The American whiskey, Bourbon, is mainly derived from corn, which gives it a sweeter taste than other whiskeys. The American whiskey known as Tennessee whiskey is actually bourbon that has been filtered through maple charcoal before it is put into casks, giving it a distinctive smokey flavor that differs from regular Bourbon. American Rye Whiskey uses the rye grain as its main ingredient, which gives it a fruity and sometimes spicy flavor.
Like American Bourbon, Canadian whiskeys usually feature corn as the main ingredient and like whiskeys from all other countries, Canadian whiskeys may be casked differently to alter the final product. Oak barrels are usually used in all countries, but the barrels may be new, used, or even charred to give the final product distinct flavours.
The name for Whiskey is said to mean “the water of life”, so maybe experiment with different whiskeys at your next cocktail party.