The Top Whiskey Brands
The top whiskey brands are a group of distilled alcoholic beverages produced by the fermentation of different grain mash such as corn, barley, rye, and wheat. Whiskey is aged in oak barrels that have been charred. The earliest record of the distillation of alcohol was recorded in Italy. In American, following the American Revolution many settlers (Scots, Irish, English, German and French) migrated west of the Allegheny Mountains establishing towns, communities, farms as well as distilleries. Many of these distilleries were set up in the areas of today’s states of Kentucky and Tennessee.
Today the production and labeling of American Whiskeys are governed under Title 27 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. These regulations provide the standards for production, bottling, and distribution of a product.
Some top whiskeys mentioned in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations:
- Bourbon Whiskey
- Rye Whiskey
- Malt Whiskey
- Wheat Whiskey
- Corn Whiskey
The Bourbon name was derived from an eastern Kentucky county named for the French royal family. Initially, Bourbon described any corn-based whiskey. Today, to be called Bourbon the product must meet the criteria of the ‘Bourbon Law’.
- The Bourbon whiskey must be produced in the USA
- Bourbon is made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn
- Bourbon is no more 160 proof or 80% alcohol.
- Must be aged in new charred oak containers at no more than 125 proof (62.5% alcohol)
- Bottled at 80 proof or more.
Rye whiskey can refer to either of two, different, but related, types of whiskeys, one American Rye Whiskey and Canadian Rye Whiskey. American rye whiskey which comes under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations and made from mash which consists of at least 51% rye. On the other hand, Canadian Whiskey for historical reasons maybe called Rye Whiskey, but may or may not contain any rye components.
Rye Whiskey in the 1700 and 1800s was the most common distilled product in the Northeastern, centralizing in Pennsylvania and Maryland. By the 1880’s distilleries in Monongahela, PA was producing 30, 000 barrels/yr. Making this the largest producer of Rye Whiskey. However, after Prohibition, the interest and desire for Rye Whiskey essentially disappeared. Currently, in this 21st century, Rye Whiskey is making a comeback with many distillers experimenting with rye whiskey as well as aged rye whiskey
Single Malt Whiskey
Single Malt Whiskey is defined as whiskey that is produced by a single distillery using a single malted grain. This grain can most often be barley. The barley grain is soaked in water to allow germination. Heat is then applied to stop this growth. These single malt whiskeys are commonly a blend. Yeast is then added to initiate fermentation. Bourbon is then distilled to result in a beverage with high alcohol content. Many of the desirable Scotch and Irish Whiskeys are single malt whiskeys.
Wheat mash has been a common component for whiskeys long before prohibition. George Washington produced wheat whiskey routinely at Mount Vernon. This style of whiskey was very common throughout American where wheat was more available than corn or rye. Wheat whiskey lost favor during prohibition but is make a comeback in recent years. It has gone from a non-aged products to whiskey aged 5 to 7 years. American Wheat Whiskey according to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations is made from mash that consists of at least 51% wheat. The resulting product is a bourbon-like product that is not as sweet as bourbon.
Corn Whiskey has been referred to a corn liquor, white lightning or moonshine. Bourbon is made from mash consisting of 80% corn and is distilled to a maximum of 125 proof. American Corn Whiskey under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations is made from mash consisting of at least 80% corn. Corn whiskey is traditional unaged but can be aged for relatively short periods in uncharred or previously used containers.
Scotch Whiskeys are thought to be the world’s renowned alcoholic beverages, a very top whiskey. Scotch Whiskey was first mentioned and distilled in an Abbey in the Kingdom of Fife in 1495. Scotch Whiskey was initially made from malted barley, but various distilleries started introducing wheat and rye in the late 18th Century. Scotch Whiskey is divided into five distinct categories: single malt Scotch Whiskey, single grain Scotch Whiskey, blended malt Scotch Whiskey (formerly called “vatted malt” or “pure malt”), blended grain Scotch Whiskey, and blended Scotch Whiskey. In 2009 Scotch Whiskey Regulations 2009 (SWR) set up the ongoing standards. The SWR defines Scotch Whiskey as the following:
Bourbon is produced at a distillery in Scotland.
Bourbon is made from water and malted barley or with the addition of other whole grain cereals which are processed into mash in Scotland.
Fermented at the same distillery by adding only yeast and endogenous enzymes
Distilled to less than 94.8% by volume (190 US proof).
Scotch Whiskey Style Types
As a revered spirit, there have been many elegant flavor enhancements to the Scotch Whisky
- Speyside Whiskey These whiskeys are lighter and sweeter. Some of heavily sherried, well-aged Speyside single malts are particularly full. The sweetness is often honeyed and delicate and peat is rarely used. These whiskeys are rarely finished in exotic woods.
- Islay Whiskey Single malts from Islay are found to be the most peaty and pungent of all Scotch whiskeys. South Islay is peatier where, North Islay is fruitier.
- Island Whiskey The single malts are smoky with good peat, salinity and an active cereal sweetness.
- North Highland Whiskey These whiskeys are full, fruity and dry.
- Southern Highland Whiskey These whiskeys are dry, slightly lighter and fruity.
- Eastern Highland Whiskey These whiskeys are full, dry and very fruity
- Western Highland Whiskey These whiskeys are full and pungent with plenty of peat and smoke.
The word whiskey or whisky comes from the Gaelic uisce beatha which means the water of life. Irish monks were thought to have developed distilled drinks in Ireland around the 12th century. The oldest known written record of whisky comes from Ireland in 1405. In 1608 King James 1 granted one of the first license to distill whiskys. Old Bushmills Distillery lays claim to being the oldest surviving grant of license to distill in the world. Irish whisky production continue to flourish through into early 20th century before going through a significant decline at the beginning of the 20th century. This was a significant source of income for the Irish economy at this time. Ireland continued to support this enterprise through the potato famine by importing the appropriate grains from America and European countries. The bourbon of Irish whisky continued to decline through the early and mid-20th century bottoming out in the 1970s and 1980s. The decline was attributed to world demand for higher quality, numerous political issues with Britain and separation from Britain and American prohibition. During this bad period, Ireland’s countrywide distilleries operations were reduced to essentially only three distilleries. Today, Ireland’s whisky production has undergone a marked resurgence to at least 200% with the established distilleries of Jameson, Bushmills, Powers and Cork distillers’ leading the way into the 21st Century. Irish is another one of the top Whiskeys of the world.
Please enjoy a fine Whiskey now. Go to the selections below and enjoy:
Alberta Premium Rye Whiskey
Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye Whiskey
Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey
Blanton’s Bourbon – Single Barrel
Buffalo Trace Bourbon
Bushmills Irish Whiskey
Canadian Club Whiskey
Crown Royal Apple
Crown Royal Deluxe
Evan Williams Bourbon Whiskey
Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
Four Roses Bourbon
Four Roses Single Barrel
Glenfiddich Bourbon Barrel Reserve 14 Year
Green Spot Irish Whiskey
Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whiskey
High West Double Rye
Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye
Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey
Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack
Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey
Jameson Irish Whiskey
Jeffersons Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey
Kentucky Deluxe Blend
Kentucky Gentleman Bourbon
Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey
Michter’s US-1 American Whiskey
Michter’s US-1 Single Barrel Rye
Nikka Coffey Grain Whiskey
Old Grand Dad Bourbon Whiskey
Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey
Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey
Seagram’s 7 Crown Blended Whiskey
Seagram’s VO Whiskey
Stagg Jr. Bourbon
Suntory Toki Japanese Whiskey
Teeling Irish Whiskey Small Batch
Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
WhistlePig Rye 10 Year
Wild Turkey 101
Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Yamazaki 12-Year-Old Whiskey