Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Whisky aint it a sunshine in a Glass...."

An attempt to educate the sponges who take pleasure in knowing what they like... who believe in relishing rather than gulping who agree on "Kill all who Crawl..."

I will try to decode a Whiskey/Whisky Bottle Label here… m sure to add taste to your next drink to know the elixir inside them.

Whisky vs Whiskey … Spelling a question?

I will not babble a lot on this issue as both are just right.

If distilled in Scotland, Wales, Canada, Japan you call it whisky and if in Ireland or US it is whiskey. Most US distilleries still use the whiskey though a 1968 BATF directive specifies "whisky" as the official U.S. spelling. They allow labeling as "whiskey".

My idea to remember it, if the country name has an “e” then you call it whiskey (with an “e”) like in America/Ireland else its whisky (missing an “e”) Scotland/Japan/Canada plzz ignore Wales :) . Therefore you spell it Canadian Whisky and Irish Whiskey.

Anyways back to the Label lesson -----:

Single Malt Scotch: What you see is what you drink… I mean for single malts usually the name gives you the name of the distillery like Glenlivet makes Glenlivet and Glenfiddich makes Glenfiddich. Its rare to have a distillery which distills single Malts and the name is different. Single malt whisky is a 100% malted barley whisky from one distillery.

Blended Scotch: Blended Scotch whisky is a mixture of single malt whisky and grain whisky, usually from multiple distilleries. Just like Chivas Regal, Dewars, J&B, etc.

Irish Whiskey: This comes from Ireland :) “ofcourse” (May god bless scots n irish). So the label is pretty easy to decipher as there are only 3 distilleries in Ireland and you know from where you got your drink from. Bushmills, Cooley n Midleton.

Bourbon and Rye: Unlike scotch Bourbon doesn’t use any coloring. Secondly the label on these do not give you an idea of the distillery. These are produced only in United States. Because the labeling system for them is so misleading that there seem to be several existing distilleries but there exists only 15 in States. Some exceptions are Jim Beam, Wild Turkey and Maker’s Mark.

Age: If a whiskey does not list an age, you don't know how old it is, but if it is Scotch, it must be at least three years old. If it is Bourbon, it has no minimum age requirement unless it is labeled Straight or Bottled in Bond. I will tell you one more interesting thing about the age. If a bottle says 12 yrs old this means that the youngest whiskey in the bottle is 12 yrs old and it might be mixed with whiskies older than that. “Even I came to know about it today while researching. If it is Bourbon, it has no minimum age requirement unless it is labeled Straight.

Straight: Straight is used only for American whiskies (Bourbon and Rye) that signifies that the whiskey has been aged for at least two years.

Abv/Proof: Not an interesting topic as most of us are aware of it. But still it’s a part of label and needs some introduction. abv : Alcohol by Volume (percentage of alcohol in whiskey). Usually whiskey is 40% to 60% and proof is just the twice of the abv without any unit. 40%abv or 80 Proof.

Bottled in Bond (BIB): Another American term signifying that it was bottled in America, a minimum of 4 yrs aged and 50%proof(100proof)

Single Cask/Single Barrel: Single Cask is used for scotch from a single cask and Single Barrel is used for Bourbon from a single Barrel.

Natural Coloring: By Law American Bourbon cannot be colored. It has to be natural. Scotch usually has an artificial coloring of caramel but if it says natural coloring this means no color was added to it.

Cask Strength/Barrel Strength: Similarly like Single Cask and Single Barrel this refers to the same Cask Strenth for Scotch and Barrel Strength for Bourbon. This means that the whiskey was not diluted with water prior to bottling. Its abv has not dropped and is same as that in cask/barrel before it was bottled.

Finally As W. C Fields said:
"We frequently hear of people dying from too much drinking. That this happens is a matter of record. But the blame is always placed on whisky. Why this should be I never could understand. You can die from drinking too much of anything — coffee, water, milk, soft drinks and all such stuff as that. And so as long as the presence of death lurks with anyone who goes through the simple act of swallowing. I will make mine whisky."


1 comment:

Harshita Kamal Mehta said...

Hmm...Quite an informative piece of writing I must say!! I have a hand-guide ready now when I go shopping for liquor next time...Thanks to you,dad will have no complaints with my choice of stuff I get for him...lol...I can see your experience talking here... :)