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EmmaWillson´s article

Whisky Making: 3 Things To Know

Category: Regional
Submitted by EmmaWillson
38 day(s) ago (Server time: 18.01.2021 15:19:01)

 

The enticing gleam of golden-brown hue emitting from a glass of premium whiskey is a sight to behold. Every drop of this bold spirit introduces a fresh new note that is quite fun to relish. 

 

So, what is whiskey, and how is this liquid gold crafted to such perfection? Well, whiskey is a product of the distillation of base beer prepared from fermented grain mash. Depending on the composition, the drink can be briefly categorized into three major types: single cask, blends, and single malt originating from six main geographic categories, Bourbon, Scotch, Irish Whiskey, Japanese Whiskey, Canadian Whiskey, and American Rye. 

 

Based on the variety, whiskey might be pale gold or a dark ruby red, with hints of salty coastal or heather moorland aroma and a touch of smokiness or sweetness. Creating a fine whiskey requires intensive processes followed by years of preservation to bring out the many constituents’ intricate flavors. Here we will explore three fun and important facts about the whiskey-making that you might enjoy knowing. 

1. It All Begins With The Same Grain Mash

Whiskey is the product of the distillation of grain mash. The process of preparing both whisky and beer begins from grain mash. The mixture goes through steeping in hot water that enables the release of sugars. It eventually converts it into a sugary liquid referred to as the “wort.” The wort then goes through fermentation in yeast that covers the sugars in the liquid to alcohol. 

 

The key difference between beer and whiskey production is hop’s use in the wort to prepare beer. It helps to create the unique flavor of beer and balance the sweetness in the mixture as well. Whiskey, on the other hand, does not require hops. The spirit is stored in wooden barrels made of oak or others to let it age. It is the aging that brings out the impeccable flavors of the drink. 

 

In whiskey production, following the fermentation, the liquid is moved to a column or pot still. Here the liquid heats up, and the vapor goes through a pipe located on the top to reach the other end. This is known as the distillation process, and it increases the overall alcoholic content of the spirit significantly. After a few rounds of distillation, the spirit is transferred to casks or barrels for aging. Over time, it might go through blending with other whiskeys to create a signature spirit. 

 

2. Single Malts Vs. Blends 

Each whiskey variety involves variations in intricate details of the process and raw materials that make them unique and delicious. One of the vital distinctions is between single malt and blended whiskeys

 

The factor that categorizes whiskey as a single malt or blend is the variety of grains used in preparing the mash. Single malt whiskeys typically involve mash prepared from only one kind of malted grain, whereas blended whiskeys originate from mixing whiskeys from various distilleries. A subcategory of blended whiskeys is the blended malt that is a mixture of single malt whiskeys. 

 

For example, the traditional process of preparing Scottish Single Malt whiskey has passed down several generations. The process and base materials are unique compared to preparing any other variety of whiskey. 

 

Scottish single malts use only malted barley. It means that the grain is partially germinated to help open the kernel that exposes the starchy interiors for fermentation. During germination, there is a rapid release of enzymes that can break down the starch into sugars. The sugars then go through fermentation in the presence of yeast to convert to alcohol. The distillation process also carries some restrictions, as copper pot stills only instead of column stills. Thus, the combination of a particular base mash and a restricted distillation process crafts the distinct flavors and aroma of every single malt. 

 

Blended whiskies or grain whiskies, on the other hand, utilize a more commercial method for production. They constitute over 90% of scotch whiskey available on the market worldwide. They are prepared from a wide variety of grain mash, including corn, wheat, rye, and unmalted barley, and also involve the use of column stills to elevate the production.  

 

3. The Art Of Blending The Finest Whiskey

Blended whiskey offers cheaper choices to enter the world of experiencing Scotch whiskey, but it is in no way inferior to single malts. They carry a wide range of flavors to please your palate, creating a complex flavor profile. 

 

Blending whiskeys is a complex and intricate process. Master blenders leverage their sense of smell to prepare an aromatic blueprint around the central theme. The theme could be floral, fruity, or dry fruits, depending on the whiskeys in hand. 

 

They move on to carefully determine the right proportion of peated single malts, delicate single malts, and a small portion of grain whiskies to bring together an intricate symphony of flavors that work in harmony. Distilleries will then begin the blending process, followed by adding demineralized water to achieve the perfect alcohol content. While some companies choose to bottle the spirit just after few days of blending, some might let it rest for some days before packaging and shipping them off. 

 

Conclusion

Good whiskey takes great effort to create and a long time to mature. But every sip of such a finely crafted malt is undoubtedly impeccable. So next time you enjoy a glass of fine scotch whiskey, cherish it with a blend of centuries-old history, the elaborate chemistry, and the fine crafting skills that go behind, making it perfect for your evening. 

 

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