Whiskey (or "whisky") is a liquor made from many different grains, including malted barley, rye, corn, grain, and wheat. There are a variety of styles of whiskey that depend on where it is produced. However, the most important aspect of its quality comes from the aging process, and what the whiskey is stored in. Whiskey is generally stored in wooden casks for many years. During this time, it absorbs the flavors and color of the barrel, and the type of barrel, grain and length of aging can help determine its characteristics.

Varieties of Whiskey

Whiskey is made in many different competing countries and well-aged whiskeys can be very expensive. Buying whiskey online can be confusing if you do not know much about what the differences between the different types of whiskey are. Before you buy whiskey online, understand the crucial differences between whiskey produced in Ireland, Scotland, America and Canada.

Single Malt Scotch is distilled twice. The barley is dried with smoke and heat, which adds a smoky flavor to the whiskey. Scotland is well-known for its single malts. However, blended Scotch Whiskey — which combines grain whiskey with malt whiskey — is also common.

By comparison, Irish Whiskey is distilled three times instead of twice. It is also smoother, because the malt is dried away from smoke and flame, and the distillation process uses larger pot stills than are most common in the production of Scotch.

Bourbon Whiskey is distilled from corn and made in America. Bourbon whiskey must be made from at least 51% corn. All whiskeys sold under the name "bourbon" are always American, and these drinks are largely produced in Tennessee and Kentucky. The unique flavor of bourbon probably comes from the limestone dissolved in the water in this region of the American South, and some major American manufacturers have recently begun taking advantage of their unique flavor profiles to produce specially flavored whiskey.

Canadian Whiskey is considered lighter and smoother than Scotch or Irish Whiskeys because it almost always is a rye whiskey. Some Canadian whiskeys are labelled as "rye," even though it is not a requirement for production. Any bottle labelled "Canadian Whiskey" has been aged at least three years.