A Short Summary of Whisky
Though Whisky is now distilled in many countries, the standard or benchmark that is most use will certainly be that of the SWA (Scotch Whisky Association), the custodians of the image, quality and provenance of this noble beverage that is synonymous with Scotland.
Having earned the respect and reputation the world over, the SWA stipulates regulations and procedures on production, aging and classification for Scotch Whisky distilleries and independent bottlers that endeavour to have their whiskies labelled as Scotch Whisky. These strict rules were instituted to ensure quality standards and to protect the Scottish branding of their Whiskies. We hope that the following explains the processes and various classifications of Scotch Whisky that can sometimes be confusing even to veteran consumers of Whisky.
Whisky or Whiskey?
Whisky : Scotland, Japan, Canada & Australia
Whiskey : Ireland & USA
Whole Grains used in Whisky
Rye – Spice, Dried Fruit
Wheat – Mellow, Honey
Corn – Sweet, Spicy, Oily
Barley – Cerial, Biscuity
Scientific Definition of Malt: Germinated Whole Grain
Hence in Science, malt could be germinated Rye, Wheat, Corn or Barley
BUT, in the world of Whisky it only refers to Germinated Barley.
3 main Classifications of Whisky:
Single Cask Malt
A truly unblended Malt Whisky
Whisky from one Malt Whisky Cask
2. Single Malt
A Blend of various Malt Whiskies from One Distillery
Whisky from more than one Malt Cask
3. Blended Malt
The legal term for Malt Whiskies put together from more than one Distillery
Also classified as:
Distilled from any Mash combination of:
Wheat - Unmalted or Malted
Rye - Unmalted or Malted
Corn - Unmalted or Malted
Barley - Unmalted
Plus must have Malted Barley for conversion of complexed sugars in the Mash Bill to simple sugars as well as to give richness and structure.
Single Cask Grain
A truly unblended Grain Whisky
Whisky from one Grain Whisky Cask
2. Single Grain
A Blend of various Grain Whiskies from One Distillery
Whisky from more than one Grain Cask
A Blend of one or more:
Simply it is the mixing of the 2 categories above ie Malt and Grain Whiskies from as many distilleries as needed, hence sometimes termed “Scotland in a Bottle”.