Understanding Whiskeys: How and Where They Are Made

whisky or whiskey

In the vast world of whiskeys, it actually has a lot of classifications styles and origins such as Bourbon, Scotch and rye whiskey; and all of these may be difficult to differentiate, especially for those who are new to these terms. What is the difference between whisky and whiskey? What are single malts and blends? Here is a comprehensive guide to the origin and meaning of whisk(e)ys.

First and foremost, let us know what whisky and whiskey are. There is actually no difference between the two. The general rule is that if the liquor is made in Canada, Japan, or Scotland; it is spelled as “whisky”. However, if it is from Ireland and United States, it is spelled as “whiskey”. But still, Maker’s Mark and Old Forester are made in America but they label themselves as “whisky”. Therefore, the spellings don’t matter at all.

whisky or whiskey

American Whiskey

When people hear about American whiskey, they immediately think “bourbon”; however, it is actually more than that.

Bourbon

Bourbon is a type of American whiskey that is made up of approximately 51% of corn; it is aged in new oak barrels that are charred. The rule that bourbon should rest only in new oak barrels is primarily the reason why bourbon barrels are used to age Scotch and other products. There is a popular belief that bourbon is made in Kentucky; in contrast to that, it can actually be produced in any state of the US.

Bonded Whiskey

Bonded whiskey, otherwise known as “bottled in bond”, is a type of American whiskey that is made at a particular distillery during a specific season. It requires to be aged for a minimum of 4 years and to be bottled at 50% ABV.

Moonshine

The moonshine whiskey is not just any other white whiskey. It is said to be produced illegally. It is un-aged and is typically made from corn or mostly corn; sugar and other grains may also be included to the solution.

Rye

The American rye whiskey contains at least 51% rye. The process of aging is just like that of the bourbon’s.

Straight

Straight whiskey is typically just any American whiskey that has been aged for at least 2 years. They do not have any colorings or flavorings. The age of this type of whiskey should be listed on its label especially those less than 4 years. If it is used to make rye or bourbon, it should be able to qualify to its standards in order to be included in its classification.

Tennessee Whiskey

According to the law, Tennessee whiskey should be produced and made in Tennessee and that it should also meet the standards of the bourbon. The difference between bourbon and this type is that before aging Tennessee whiskeys, it undergoes an additional process called the “Lincoln County Process”. The most popular example for this classification is Jack Daniel’s.

Undefined American Whiskey

With a lot of craft distilleries opening in various places in the United States today, they produce different types of whiskeys that don’t actually qualify as being a bourbon or rye. Thus, they fall under the “undefined” category.

Canadian Whisky

Canadian whisky, also called as “rye whisky”, may not contain any rye at all; thus it doesn’t meet the standards of the American rye in which it must contain at least 51% of rye. This liquor is popular for its rye flavoring and profile. In fact, most of the Canadian whisky currently sold in the market contains mostly of corn rather than rye.

The rye whisky is made by mixing a small portion of all-rye or rye heavy whisky which creates a mixture of bourbon-style whiskies and other types of grain whiskies. They are usually aged for at least 3 years using wooden barrels.

Scotland Whisky

Scotland whisky, popularly known as “Scotch”, is aged for at least 3 years using an oak barrel. Currently, most Scotch sold today is aged in used bourbon barrels with sherry and used casks. They are distilled twice and they fall into several categories.

Single Malt

Scotch whiskies that are made up of single malt means that it is merely prepared from malted barley. They are produced alone in one distillery.

Blended Malt

Blended malt whisky is a mixture of 2 or more single malt scotches that are made from various distilleries.

Single Grain

Like single malt, single grain whiskies are made from only one distillery. However, it contains extra grains aside from malted barley. This type of scotch is considered uncommon primarily because most of which are used in blends.

Blended Grain

Blended grain whisky is made up of many single grain whiskies made from various distilleries. This is also considered to be a rare type of scotch.

Blended Scotch

Blended scotch is the most popular type of scotch that is sold throughout the world. It is primarily a blend of one or more single malts mixed with one or more single grains.

Scotch whisky

Scotch whiskies are made not only in a single region of Scotland. It is made in various regions which include:

Speyside Region

The Speyside has the most number of distilleries among the scotch regions; it has approximately 50% of the country’s total distilleries. Some of the popular brands are made in this region including Aberlour and Balvenie, Glenfiddich, and The Glenlivet.

Islay Region

The Islay region is known for its big, smoky, peaty, and salty whisky. It is home to a total of 8 distilleries such as Ardbeg and Laphroaig, Bowmore, Caol Ila, Bruichladdich, Lagavulin, and Kilchoman.

Campbeltown Region

The region of Campbeltown is said to be a past relic as it is once a home to many distilleries. Today, there are only 3 distilleries operating in the area.

Lowlands Region

Lowlands, like the Campbeltown region, is also a past relic as there are only several remaining distilleries that are operating in this region.

Highlands Region

Geographically, Highlands is the largest among the scotch regions. It is home to various distilleries which include Oban, Old Pulteney, Glenmorangie, and The Macallan.

Islands Region

The Islands region is an unofficial region. It represents all the islands of Scotland except for the Islay. Some of the distilleries that are within this region are the Arran, Highland Park, and Talisker.

Irish Whiskey

One of the many reasons why Ireland is among the popular tourist destination is because of its distilleries. Like the scotch whiskeys, Irish whiskeys are aged for at least 3 years. However, there are a lot of differences between the two. Take for example, majority of the Irish whiskeys available on the market today are distilled three times while scotch whiskeys are distilled only twice. Another is that distillers in Ireland pour enzymes to the whiskey in order to turn starches into sugar before the fermentation process begins.

The classifications of whiskeys in Ireland are less complicated compared to that of Scotland. However, Irish distillers also use the term “blended” to those products that have two or more whiskeys that are distilled separately. The Blended Irish whiskey is what is usually found in the market today.

Single pot still whiskey, on the other hand, is a class of Irish whiskey that is made in one distillery using a pot still; mixing barleys that are malted and un-malted.

Today, there are only 10 distilleries operating in Ireland; seven of which were only established in the last decade. The popular old distilleries that can be found in the country is the Old Bushmills that opened in 1784 and is actually the oldest licensed distillery worldwide; the New Midleton Distillery that was established in 1975 and is the maker of Jameson, Midleton, Powers, and Paddy; and the Cooley Distillery that was established in 1987.

Japan & World Whisky

For the past 5 years, whiskies from Japan have been increasingly popular throughout the world. Japanese whisky originated in the early 1920s when Masataka Taketsuru went back to Japan from Scotland after studying distilling. Having learned the art of making whisky, he introduced whiskies to the Japanese market by selling notable Japanese whisky brands such as Yamazaki, Nikka, Hibiki, and Hakushu.

Japanese Whiskies are prepared according to how Scotch is made; therefore, they are also classified into several categories such as single malts and blended whiskies. But, it is entirely wrong to classify scotch and Japanese whisky into one category or that Japanese whiskies aren’t original.

What makes them different is that distilleries in Japan produce a wide variety of styles and make different stills, mash bills, and whisky profiles, thereby creating its own unique blend. Distilleries in Scotland, on the other hand, produce only one variety of single malt.

There are other distilleries that make whiskies anywhere in the world; from South Africa to Sweden; England to Thailand; India to Australia; and basically at any places in between.

Whiskey Terminologies that you Should Know

Age. If you can find an age written in the bottle of whiskey, it typically refers to the age of the youngest whiskey ingredient in the bottle.

Cask Proof Whiskey. Cask proof whiskey, also called “cask strength”, is a bottle that came straight from the barrel itself. Thus, this implies that the distiller didn’t mix any water to bring the whiskey down to a pre-determined level. It doesn’t only have a higher ABV, but it also has a richer and fuller flavor primarily because it is undiluted. Pour a few drops of water into it to self-dilute and you’ll open the flavor profile of the whiskey.

Continuous Still. Continuous still, also referred to as “column still”, “patent still”, or “coffey still”, are generally said to be consistent and efficient. They continuously operate without batches.

Finishing. Finishing is the taking of the whiskey after it has been aged and aging it for the second time — which is usually for a shorter period using a different cask, thereby producing different flavors.

Mash Bill. This primarily refers to the amount of grains that is used in a class of whiskey. Single malt scotch contains 100% malted barley; while the mash bill of bourbon has at least 51% of corn.

NAS. This is an acronym for “No Age Statement Whiskey”.

Pot Still. Pot stills are a traditional way of distilling whiskies. It makes use of a large pot section of the still that is heated which typically sends vapor to a condenser in order to be separated.

Sour Mash. This is a process where the used mash from a previous fermentation process is utilized to aid in starting the fermentation procedure of the next batch. This helps in controlling fermentation and keeping the consistency of the product.

Sourcing. It generally refers to a company that purchased whiskeys that are made from other distilleries and then bottling and labeling it under its name.

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Four Ways to Sound Smart When You Talk About Whiskey

Whiskey Splash

If you want to impress your friends, but you’ve run out of other people’s jokes and have neither an accent nor a cool car, don’t give up hope! Whiskey might be your answer. If you sound smart when you talk about whiskey, you’ll be able to make friends, lovers, and probably get a cool career doing something you love. Whiskey is basically the answer to all your problems. Follow the list below to sound smart when you talk about whiskey.

Do Your Research

Before you start throwing around terms like rocks and straight, you better know what you’re talking about. First, you should study up on the many types of whiskey. First of all, you should know that whiskey and whisky are two different things. Don’t go parading around in your I-love-Whiskey shirt before you know what you’re talking about.

  • Scotch Whisky– Scotch is produced in Scotland and Scotland only. So if you are looking for single-malt or blended-malt Scotch, know that you are going to be buying a product from Scotland. The single-malt Scotches are sometimes considered the best because they are made at one distillery, while blended Scotch is made from a blend of Scotch whisky from various distilleries. Try out a few of these so you can know which you like best. Some brands to look for are Johnnie Walker, Glenlivet, Dewar’s, and William Grant’s.
  • American Whiskey– These are created in, you guessed it, America. But just because these are made in America doesn’t mean you know everything about them. Each different type of whiskey has its own distinct flavors. If, for example, you want something a little spicy, you can drink rye whiskey. Ordering rye whiskey will make you look cool because it’s historical. So when you drink rye, you’re basically conversing with Abe Lincoln or something. Rye whiskey is aged in oak barrels, but what’s more important is that it tastes delicious. Tennessee whiskey is another type of American whiskey but it is filtered through the coals of maple before it gets aged. So whenever you order things like Jack Daniel’s, you are ordering Tennessee whiskey or bourbon whiskey. Bourbon is basically your standard American whiskey. All you need to know is that when you drink whiskey, you’ll look awesome.
Whiskey Splash

Whiskey Splash
Image © Jag_cz – Fotolia.com

Learn Your Terms

Don’t go into a bar depending whiskey mixed with skittles or something. Drink it like a true gentleman: neat.

  • Order it Neat– Whiskey “neat” will be poured at room temperature with no ice. This is pretty serious. Once you order whiskey neat, you’ve graduated. You’ve thrown out your little boy shoes and you’ve stepped into your professional man shoes. Or, if you’re a female, you’ve thrown out your little girl shoes and stepped into your professional woman shoes. Anyone can drink whiskey neat, you just have to be careful. This isn’t like pounding a PBR. This is sophisticated. This involves tie clips and suit jackets and pencil skirts.  This is the top dog of drinking. Once your order your whiskey, don’t look scared. Breathe regularly. It’s going to be okay. Just start by taking tiny baby sips. When you drink whiskey neat, you are able to get the full flavor profile of the whiskey and, like I said, you’ll look really cool.
  • Order it On the Rocks– Whiskey “on the rocks” is whiskey with ice. This is for those whiskey drinkers that want to dilute their whiskey a little bit. Or, if you like really cold things, whiskey on the rocks is for you. No one is going to make fun of you for drinking whiskey on the rocks. At least I hope not. It’s normal! You’re normal. Don’t worry—eventually you’ll be able to sit at the big boy table with the rest of us and drink whiskey straight. Just kidding. Whiskey on the rocks can actually help you taste different flavors, so you can switch between on the rocks and neat to get a different sense of the flavor profiles in each drink.
  • Manhattan– This is one classic cocktail. If you want to drink whiskey, but don’t want to pucker your lips like a fool, you can order this drink. Most Manhattans are made with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters, and a cherry garnish. If you are nervous to ask for it at a bar, find the nearest old man and take him home—he probably knows how to make it better than any one!

It doesn’t really matter how you choose to drink whiskey—it only matters that you’re drinking it. So whether you want it in a mixed drink, neat, or on the rocks, you can still enjoy yourself while looking grown up.

Think About Age

If you want to sound really smart, you’ll start talking about the age of whiskey. According to the Guinness World Records, the oldest whiskey was bottled between 1851 and 1858 by the Glenavon Distillery. But age isn’t the only thing that matters; sometimes, price matters. If you’re rich, you might as well let people know.

Macallan has a bottle of whisky from 1947 that costs around six thousand dollars. If you care about the age of your whisky, you might want to invest in some older bottles. But what if you’re not rich? You can still pretend like you are. If you order some regular American whiskey, say, Jack Daniel’s, you can just tell all your friends that it’s from a really rare bottle of whisky from the 30’s and no, they cannot try it. It’s all yours!

Vintage Whiskey

Vintage Whiskey
Image © Kirill Smirnov – Fotolia.com

Drink Out of The Right Glass

Let’s face it. There are many different types of whiskey glasses to choose from. You better figure out which one’s right for you before you go hopping around the bar.

  • The Glencairn Glass– These glasses are beautiful. Not only will they help you enjoy the aroma of your Scotch, they will look awesome on your counter. This is a great glass to choose if you want to impress your friends.
Glencairn Glass

Glencairn Glass.
Image © glencairn.co.uk

  • The Tumbler Glass– Tumblers are classic. These are great for mixed drinks, but they can also be used to drink whiskey neat. If you want to drink whiskey, but aren’t feeling very adventurous, the tumbler is the way to go.
Drink Out of The Right Glass

Tumbler Glass.
Image © Alexandr Steblovskiy – Fotolia.com

  • The Neat Glass– the Neat glass is pretty fancy. It looks like a bowl. This is like the epitome of all fancy whiskey glasses. It’s on par with your mom’s wine and cheese parties. No, it surpasses those parties. It’s way cooler than those parties. The Neat glass is used for sampling, so if you have a large selection of rare or old whiskeys, this is a great glass to choose because it is designed to help you smell and taste all of the aromas and flavors that are packed into your whiskey.
Neat Glass

Neat Glass.
Image © theneatglass.org

  • Copita Nosing Glass– This glass is similar to the Neat glass because it is designed for smelling. This is for the true whiskey connoisseur. It almost looks like a wine glass, but it comes in a leather gift box, so it’s much cooler than a wine glass.
Copita Nosing Glass

Copita Nosing Glass.
Image © amazon.co.uk

Drinking whiskey can be fun, but don’t let your lack of knowledge get in the way. Experiment with different blends, ages, and bottles so that you can find your favorite whiskey. Or, if you want to have a whiskey party, you can invite a people to bring their own bottles over for a tasting party. That way, you can have all the fun with only a little of the price. The most important thing to remember is to stay cool. If you’re at a bar ordering whiskey and your friend asks you a whiskey-related question that you don’t know, just pretend like you didn’t hear him. Hopefully the bartender can whisper the answer in your ear before your friend notices.

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Five Questions to Ask when Buying Whiskey

Buy good whiskey

Some people have purchased so much whiskey in the past that they don’t have to think twice about what they should and should not be buying. And then there are others who are on the fence, not really sure of what the market has to offer.

When buying whiskey, there are a few questions you should ask and answer before hitting the checkout line.

How much am I willing to spend?

Let’s face it: some people are going to make a decision on which whiskey to buy based on nothing more than price alone. They don’t care about the quality. They don’t care about the taste. All they care about is getting something that fits into their budget.

It does make good sense to set a budget before visiting the liquor store, as this will help you decide how to search.

Buy good whiskey

Buy good whiskey
Image © Dmitry Fisher – Fotolia.com

Which brand is best for me?

Once again, this is a question that experienced whiskey drinkers never have to ask. With so many brands to consider, you should focus on a few in your price range and then make a decision. Here are 10 of the top brands that you may come across:

  • Jack Daniels
  • Jim Beam
  • Crown Royal
  • Jameson
  • Kakubin
  • Seagram’s 7 Crown
  • Black Velvet
  • Canadian Club
  • Black Nikka
  • Canadian Mist

All of these brands bring something special to the market, so you owe it to yourself (and your taste buds) to experiment with each one at some point.

Where can I buy vintage whiskey?

If this is something you care about, you definitely want to answer this question as soon as possible. Believe it or not, an unopened bottle of whiskey stays good for as long as 100 years. Can you imagine cracking into a bottle of whiskey that is 75 to 100 years old? If you are interested in buying vintage whiskey, you may have to search your local area (as well as the internet) to find a seller.

Vintage whiskey

Vintage whiskey
Image © MarcoBagnoli Elflaco – Fotolia.com

Are you going to mix your whiskey with something, such as Coca Cola, or drink it straight?

This is an age-old question that you will not be able to answer until you try both. Along with this, you have to consider the type of mood you are in. There may be times when you want to mix your whiskey, but there may also be times when drinking it on the rocks, for instance, piques your interest.

Where should I purchase my whiskey?

This depends on many factors, including where you can buy in your area, how soon you need the bottle, and your budget.

In some states, you may only be able to purchase whiskey in a state licensed liquor store. In other states, however, you can find what you are looking for in local grocery stores and other establishments.

Note: buying whiskey online has become more and more popular over the past few years, so don’t overlook the benefits of doing so.

When you answer these questions when shopping for whiskey, you know you are going to end up getting exactly what you want.

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Five of the Best Reasons to Drink more Whiskey

Whiskey

Most people don’t need many reasons to drink more whiskey. That being said, there are a few reasons why you should consider adding this alcoholic beverage to your life on a regular basis.

Sure, whiskey tastes great. And yes, it can be a thrill to purchase a high quality bottle at your local liquor store. But are you aware of the many other reasons why you should drink more whiskey?

Here are five to consider:

1. Good for your health, so your body will thank you in the long run. Past studies have shown that drinking whiskey can help fight against the risk of cancer. Along with this, with no fat and low carbohydrates you never have to worry about packing on the pounds as you have your favorite drink.

2. People will think you are “high class.” There is a big difference between drinking whiskey and a cheap beer. Does this mean you should change your style just because you want to look like you are high class? Well, this is up to you. The good thing is this: once you know how to drink whiskey you will know how to fit in with others who are doing the same. Who knows what this could do for your social life!

Drinking Whiskey Is Cool

Drinking Whiskey Is Cool
Image © full_frame – Fotolia.com

3. A closed bottle of whiskey lasts pretty much forever. Did you know a closed bottle of will be good for 100 years? In other words, if you buy a bottle today and don’t decide to open it you don’t have anything to worry about. You are not wasting your money. You can crack it open in 50 years and enjoy at that time – all the while knowing that the flavor is going to be perfect.

4. It will make you feel “more American.” Americans have been drinking whiskey for hundreds of years. Is there any better reason to add this beverage to your daily routine?

5. There are tons of cool sayings about whiskey. Here is one of the best, courtesy of Mark Twain:

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”

There are not too many people who are going to disagree with Mr. Twain.

Five Reasons to Drink more Whiskey

Five Reasons to Drink more Whiskey
Image © Artem Furman – Fotolia.com

At this point, you should be able to see that drinking more whiskey would be in your best interest. Stop thinking and start drinking. You will be glad that you did!

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Drinking Whiskey for the First Time? These Five Steps will Help

Whiskey in the glass

Even though whiskey is one of the most popular drinks in the world, many people have never given it a second thought. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • They believe whiskey is too expensive
  • They think drinking whiskey makes them look silly in front of their friends
  • They don’t know the first thing about how to drink it for the first time

If you are interested in giving this a try, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that you are on the right path.

Here are five steps for anybody who is going to be drinking whiskey for the first time:

1. Buy a high quality bottle so you don’t get sour on this drink before you give it a try. Although you may not want to spend a lot of money, when you buy cheap whiskey you are going to have a less than desirable experience. To truly enjoy your drink, you need to purchase a brand that is well known for its reputation.

Note: this doesn’t mean you should purchase the most expensive bottle on the market. You just want to make sure you get something that has a good reputation for quality.

2. Don’t drink it straight (unless you are absolutely sure that this is what you want to do). The best thing you can do as a beginner is add whiskey to another drink, such as Coca Cola. This will go a long way in ensuring that you are not knocked off your feet by the strong taste. Many people start out drinking whiskey sours, knowing that this will allow them to get used to the taste before moving on to other cocktails.

Whiskey on the Rock

Whiskey on the Rock
Image © Big City Lights – Fotolia.com

3. Whiskey and water is not a bad idea. Rather than use a mixer, dilute the whiskey with water. Again, this goes a long way in keeping the strength of the alcohol manageable. Along with this, more flavor and aroma is released into the drink, which can really help with the overall experience.

Note: experiment with how much water you add, starting with a little and then adding more until you reach your desired whiskey to water ratio.

4. Sip it, don’t chug it. Remember, you are not drinking a cheap beer here. Chugging whiskey is silly. Instead, you should sip your drink to enjoy every last drop. Before you swallow, swirl it around in your mouth. This will allow you to taste a variety of flavors, all of which make this an enjoyable drink.

5. Do you have a whiskey glass? For many years, tumblers have been used among those who are drinking whiskey. There are other options to consider, however, such as those with a tulip-shape.

You don’t need a “special” whiskey glass, but it can go a long way in bettering your experience – especially the first time around.

Whiskey in the glass

Whiskey in the glass
Image © donatas1205 – Fotolia.com

If you are drinking whiskey for the first time, let these five tips guide you. Soon enough, you may find that this is your new favorite drink.

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Fourteen Things That Can Be Improved With Whiskey

Writing and Whiskey

We all know how annoying it can be to spend a few hours with your significant other’s family, play mini golf with your cousin, or sit through a lecture about proper comma use. But what if you could do something in less than five minutes that would significantly improve your experience? What, you ask, might that be? Why, whiskey, of course! Whiskey has proven to improve the following activities.

Writing

For centuries, writers have been using whiskey to produce some of the most thought-provoking work. Dylan Thomas, a poet from Wales, was known to imbibe eighteen whiskeys in a row. Now, I can’t promise that drinking whiskey will help you write your next masterpiece—but let’s just remember that it might help you “rage against the dying of the light,” which is necessary if you are trying to make it as a writer.

Writing and Whiskey

Writing and Whiskey
Image © berc – Fotolia.com

Dinner with Your Significant Other’s Family

Look, just trust me. Dinner with your significant other’s family is always weird. In between an old lady asking you about your heritage and a 13-year-old boy trying to kiss you, you can relax by bringing along the whiskey. There are many benefits to bringing whiskey to your significant other’s family dinner: you can actually laugh at her father’s jokes, you can make friends with the bartender (and maybe get free drinks later on), you can pretend not to absolutely hate your life, you can quietly think of awesome ways to escape without being noticed.

Lectures

I don’t condone drinking and studying, but let’s be serious…I do condone it. If you have to sit through another lecture about how to use your local library, how to plant a community garden, or why you should invest in gold overseas, it might be a good idea to drink whiskey. Once you’ve thoroughly downed enough whiskey to sit still, you might be able to learn something. For example, did you know that 72% of Americans have library cards? Now, if you drank whiskey, you would have known that I made that statistic up.

Movies

The next time someone invites you to the latest Woody Allen or Coen Brothers film, do yourself the biggest favor of your life and drink whiskey before you leave the house. Once you reach the movies, you’ll be warm and toasty and ready for a nap. And, if you drink enough whiskey, you might even be able to sleep through the whole movie like my mom did during “Toy Story.” It’ll be worth it in the end. Plus, your friends will talk about the movie enough that you won’t miss a thing.

Work

Don’t take my word for it. Just try it. But don’t get caught and don’t blame me! You’re on your own, kid. But really, depending on the type of job you have, whiskey might not be able to improve anything. You should still try, though; it’s worth a shot.

First Dates

After scouring Match, Chemistry, or eHarmony, it’s time to go on that first date. Your game plan should be as follows: pick out an outfit, but don’t make it too sexy because you don’t want to give off the wrong impression. Pick out simple jewelry, but don’t overdo it because you don’t want him to think you’re rich. Then put on a pair of flats if you’re tall and heels if you’re short. Once that’s done, throw on some makeup, but, before you leave the house, make sure you take a sip of some whiskey.

Once you get the bar/club/5-star restaurant, you will be drunk enough to look like you’re having a good time. And, if you drink enough, you might actually have a good time, although nothing is a guarantee, especially on a first date. Whiskey, in addition to helping you have fun, can also help you find Mr. or Ms. Right. Once your partner-to-be sees how freaking awesome you are, and once you pull out your fresh bottle of whiskey, the rest will be history.

Last Dates

Sometimes, it’s just over. And if you know it’s over, you might as well bring the whiskey along. Don’t worry about the rest; I’ve got it covered. The first thing you need to do is prepare a little speech. Not the whole “It’s not you” thing because, let’s face it, it probably is their fault. So try something subtler. You might want to start with something like “I’ve been thinking about moving.” From there, you can make up the rest. Depending on where you live, you can either outright lie (i.e. “I’m moving to Alaska! I got a job!), or you can say a less serious lie: (My parent’s are moving and I’m going with them), then, when you get caught, you can be like “Oh, well, they decided not to move. So here I am!”

Your next step is to pull out the whiskey. Immediately, pour yourself a glass and drink it quickly. Pour your soon-to-be-ex-significant-other a glass of whiskey as well. Once they’ve finished their glass, pour them another one. Watch them cry. Check the time. If it’s not too late, you can pour them another glass and sit there while they either yell at you or cry. If they yell at you, you can speed things up by looking at your phone, exclaiming that your grandmother’s ill and you must go, and then leave. But if they’re crying, just be nice. Let them cry. That’s all one option.

The other option is to be honest. Obviously, you’ll definitely need the whiskey. So if you want to be honest, drink at least two whiskey drinks before you begin, and then go ahead, tell them the truth. After, you might just be drunk enough that you don’t really care about the repercussions.

Whiskey at the Last Date

Whiskey at the Last Date
Image © Kesu – Fotolia.com

Meditation

If your friend has been begging you to go with her to a new meditation circle and you’ve been dreading it, you now have a chance to kill two birds with one stone. If you drink whiskey before you meditate, you can be sure that your meditation session will be stellar. While your friend is tripping out about the blue aura that she felt, you can groove on a more physical kind of drunk—the real kind, the manly kind, and the kind that will bring your meditation to a new level. And why stop there? With whiskey, you can improve other spiritual activities like yoga, Rolfing, reiki, and even acupuncture.

College

You know how they say that college is the best time of your life? They only say that because of whiskey. Whiskey has long been known as the elixir of life to the elite college-goers. Don’t waste your time drinking vodka, beer, or jungle juice; do the right thing and impress your peers. All facets of college can be improved with whiskey—from classes and dance parties to school projects and meetings with your advisor, you can make any day extraordinary with whiskey.

Tuesday

No one really talks about how much Tuesdays suck. But, usually, they suck, and the only way to remedy their suckiness is through whiskey. Whiskey can turn a boring sit-at-home-and-watch-movies Tuesday into the best Tuesday of your life. Think about it. You’re sitting at home watching Lifetime. Your mom calls to ask how you’re doing, you say you’re fine and then you hang up. You’re bored. I know it.

Now think about it. You’re sitting there watching Lifetime movies. You pour yourself a shot of whiskey. Just then, a group of ninjas come into your house looking for stolen gold. You fend them off, but end up losing a hand in the process. You open the bottle of whiskey with your still-attached hand and numb the pain of your lost hand. Then you sit back down and the phone rings. It’s your mom calling to ask how you’re doing.

You say you’re fine and you hang up. Right after you hang up, your friend busts down your door and explains that he is running from the cops. You jump up, grab your friend, swing your 300-foot rope to the next apartment, and you pulley yourselves to freedom George-of-the-jungle style. Look at that. Tuesday is no longer a regular Tuesday. When you go to work the next day, just tell everyone that your hand was eaten by a shark; it’ll be more believable.   Just open the bottle of whiskey and see what I mean. Go on, do it!

A Cold

No matter what you’re doing when you have a cold, you can improve it by drinking whiskey. Whether you’re watching your fifth Netflix documentary in a row, typing up a term paper, or trying to fall asleep, whiskey is basically your best friend. A great way to drink whiskey when you have a cold is to mix it with hot water, honey, and lemon. This can help you feel better in no time. Come to think of it, even when you don’t have a cold, you can still tell people that you have a cold so you can sit at home and drink.

Cold and Whiskey

Cold and Whiskey
Image © Vladyslav Bashutskyy – Fotolia.com

The Dentist

Whether you’re going in for your first cavity or your twelfth root canal, you need some help. Sip on some whiskey before you go so that you don’t have to live with all that pain. Whiskey is also great right after the dentist. Don’t even try to eat that burger and fries, stick to the whiskey and numb your mouth.

Your Friend’s Dance Recital/Play/Poetry Reading

If you’re a whiskey drinker, you probably like to support your friends. Well, that’s kind of presumptuous. I hope that you like to support your friends, but I know how boring it can be. After begrudgingly going to your friend’s play and suffering through it, you will win multiple brownie points. But next time you go to a play, bring a flask of whiskey. It’ll be fun—you can play a drinking game: every time someone messes up his or her lines, you have to take a shot. After about five minutes, you’ll be good and drunk.

Your Boring Life

I know you love video games, spending time with your cat, and dreaming about Anna Kournikova, but there are better ways to spend your time. The moment that you purchase whiskey, it will seem as though an angel has come down from the sky and deemed you The Coolest Person On Earth. Within mere seconds, flocks of women and men alike will run to your side—each wanting to audition to become the Best Friend of The Coolest Person On Earth. Alas, you can only pick one best friend, so choose the one who is drinking the best whiskey: they know what they’re doing. Not only will you have more friends, but you will immediately be better dressed, your hair will be sleek and shiny, and you will have some type of accent. From there, everything else in your life will improve. Remember that book by Dr. Seuss The Places You’ll Go? He was talking about you, you sexy whiskey drinker. And trust me, the places you’ll go are paved with luxury.

The moral of the story is that just about anything that you’re doing can be improved by drinking whiskey.

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10 Top Selling Whiskey Brands to Consider

Crown Royal

When buying whiskey, one thing will never change: you are sure to faced with many choices. How you make a decision is up to you, however, you will want to focus on the following details:

  • Price
  • Reputation
  • Reviews among others
  • Taste

Of course, if you don’t have much knowledge of whiskey you may find yourself struggling to focus on the appropriate details. How will you know if one brand tastes better than another? How will you know which brand has the best reputation?

There are a few things you can do if you don’t have much personal experience. First and foremost, search the internet far and wide for as much information as you can dig up. Soon enough, you will find yourself learning more about whiskey than you ever thought possible.

From there, don’t be shy about asking a sales person at your local liquor store for assistance. Once you tell this person how much you are looking to spend, they will be able to point you in the right direction.

At this point, you don’t want to wait any longer. So, here we go. Here are 10 top selling whiskey brands to consider buying:

Canadian Mist

Canadian Mist

Since 1967, this company has been a top name in the industry. Sales have been declining over the past few years, but it is still a favorite among many.

Black Nikka

Black Nikka

“Bearded Black” is a Japanese whiskey, but if you ever have the chance to let this touch your lips you should take full advantage. It may be hard to find in some parts of the world, but if you do you should give it a try.

Canadian Club

Canadian Club

Owned by Beam, this brand is known throughout the world. Since being established in 1893, Canadian Club has brought smiles to the faces of people from one side of the globe to the next.

Black Velvet

Black Velvet

Owned by Constellation Brands, this Canadian Whisky never comes up short. First established in the 1940’s, Black Velvet doesn’t take a backseat to any brand in the world.

Seagram’s 7 Crown

Seagram’s 7 Crown

Seagram’s 7 Crown is one of the top selling American brands, despite the fact that sales were stagnant for the better part of last year. If you want to give honey-infused whiskey a try, this is a brand to keep an eye on.

Kakubin

Kakubin

Yet another Japanese whiskey, Kakubin has experienced a nice increase in sales over the past couple of years. Owned by Suntory, this brand offers many products including a premium version that hit the market earlier this year. Much the same as Black Nikka, finding this whiskey could be a challenge (but if you keep looking you will eventually get your hands on a bottle).

Jameson

Jameson

With Irish whiskey becoming more and more popular in the United States, it is no surprise that Jameson is on this list. Established in 1780, this brand has been producing high quality products longer than most others. This has to count for something, right?

Crown Royal

Crown Royal

Crown Royal has long been one of the top names in the industry, with its branding and marketing strategy among the best of the best. Believe it or not, this whisky was only sold in Canada up until 1964. Fortunately, this changed and it is now one of the top sellers in the world. Regardless of where you live, finding Crown Royal should not be too difficult of a task.

Jim Beam

Jim Beam

Jim Beam continues to grow in popularity, resulting in a nice sales increase for the company over the past two years. With many popular products, including such favorites as Jim Beam Honey, don’t expect this brand to be outshined anytime soon.

Jack Daniels

Jack Daniels

Is it any surprise that Jack Daniels is still one of the most popular whiskey brands in the world? The brand has been an industry leader for years, and its owner, Brown-Forman, expects more of the same in the years to come. If you want to drink the same whiskey as millions of other people, this is the way to go.

If you are looking to buy a bottle of whiskey but don’t know where to start, you cannot go wrong with one of these 10 brands.

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There are Health Benefits of Drinking Whiskey? Count me in

Health Benefits of Whiskey

When many people think about drinking alcohol, any type of alcohol, the first thing that comes to mind is their health. They wonder if they are doing something that is going to harm their body in the long run.

While too much alcohol of any kind can be a bad thing, it is important to remember this: there can be benefits to your health as well. Does it get any better than that?

Believe it or not, there are health benefits associated with drinking whiskey. This doesn’t mean you should drink a bottle every night before going to bed. What it does mean is that whiskey is not as bad for your body as many people believe – and that is most definitely a good thing.

Here are several health benefits of drinking whiskey:

  1. No fat. More people than ever before are worried about how much fat is in their diet. When you drink whiskey, you don’t have to concern yourself with this. Believe it or not, a 1.5 oz shot does not contain any fat.
  2. Fights against the risk of cancer. Many people are unaware of the fact that alcohol contains what is known as ellagic accident. This is an antioxidant that is known to destroy cancer cells. Why is this important, you may ask? Well, whiskey is full of ellagic acid. In fact, it contains more than any other type of alcoholic beverage.
  3. Low carb alcohol. Along with fat, you need to think about how many carbohydrates you are pumping into your body on a daily basis. This is particularly true if you are hoping to lose weight.
    A 1.5 oz shot of whiskey only has approximately .04 grams of carbohydrates. This is much lower than many other types of alcohol.
  4. Helps you avoid many common medical concerns. It may be hard to get others to believe you, but past studies have shown that people who consume one or two alcoholic beverages per day, including whiskey, have a lower chance of dementia or having a stroke. This can also fight against your chance of developing diabetes down the line.
Health Benefits of Whiskey

Health Benefits of Whiskey
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Now that you are aware of the many health benefits associated with drinking whiskey, there is a good chance you will want to work this into your routine more often. It is possible to go overboard, so stay within your limits if you want to achieve the most benefits.

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3 Reasons Why You Should Hate Whiskey

Whiskey - meet the girls

So, you don’t like whiskey? Man, would I hate to be you. But seriously, you probably have some pretty good reasons for feeling this way. You are probably the type that would rather sit around and chug back a 30 pack with the guys as opposed to actually having real fun.

Here are three reasons why you should hate whiskey (you are probably already familiar with all of these):

1. You hate everything. Fast cars. Don’t care for them. Big houses. You’d rather live in a shack. Pretty girls. Who needs them?

If you hate everything in your life, as well as everything going on around you, it is safe to assume that whiskey makes your list. Who needs to enjoy their life when it is so easy to frown upon everything?

2. You have no class. Let’s get back to that case of beer that you are chugging with all the “guy friends” in your life. If you like to sit around, play video games, and slob about in your gym shorts, you are on the right track. Keep it up!

On the other hand, if you want to bring just a little bit of class to your life, put down that Keystone Light and step up to a real man’s drink. With a little bit of whiskey this weekend you may find yourself classing up your life – even if only a little bit.

3. You never want a girlfriend. What good is a girlfriend when you have all those guys in your life who enjoy drinking beer with you on the weekends? If you want to get a girl, show some class. You cannot expect this to happen on its own. You need to clean yourself up, get out of your house, and act like an adult. Who do you think a girl would rather date: a guy who spends all his time at home, drinking beer with his friends? Or a guy who enjoys a night on the town, drinking whiskey and showing her a good time? The answer is pretty easy.

Whiskey - meet the girls

Whiskey – meet the girls
Image © rawstyle-pictures – Fotolia.com

You can continue with your life the way it is, hating everything, including whiskey, but never making any real progress. Or you can make a change, eventually looking back and wondering why you were wasting your time.

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The Origins of Whiskey

Scotland - homeland of Whiskey

Whiskey has a long and varied development history, although nobody’s sure of the precise origin of the drink as we recognize it today.

Alcohol distillation and fermented beverages like beer and wine were developed far earlier than whiskey. Evidence of the earliest fermented beverages was found in jugs dated to the Stone Age – at least 10,000 B.C. It’s interesting to note that whiskey was originally developed in the middle ages as a remedy, and wasn’t consumed as a beverage until about 200 years later.

The first distillation of alcohol began in Western Asian region of Mesopotamia around 2,000 BC. Early distillation was associated with perfume-making, so the development of whiskey and other distilled alcohol may have been an outgrowth of scent manufacturing.

The earliest description of alcohol distillation was composed by Majorcan writer and philosopher Ramon Llull in the 13th century. After Llull, alcohol distillation technology passed through many civilizations until it became widely adopted. Alcohol distillation was imported to Ireland and Scotland around 1100 and 1300 by monks, making them early fans of “A wee bit of the creature” (the Irish nickname for whiskey). However, spirit alcohol up to the early 1400’s was still being used primarily for rituals and religious purposes and distilled by monks.

Ancient alcohol distillation

Ancient alcohol distillation apparatus

The word “whiskey” comes from the Gaelic term uisge beatha meaning “water of life,” and it was called aqua vitae in Latin. Whiskey was originally a medicine – a popular antibiotic among medieval physicians. Whiskey was prescribed to treat various internal and external infections and even lifestyle problems like marital discord. It’s not known if prescribed whiskey eased or worsened marital discord.

As spirit alcohol caught on with doctors, it became a standard item in pharmacopeia. Alcohol distillation had evolved from the purview of monks to the medieval physicians’ group, The Guild of Surgeon Barbers.  The first known textbook about alcohol distillation for doctors and surgeons was published in 1500 by German physician and chemist Hieronymus Brunschwyg.

The good doctor’s handbook gave detailed instructions on distilling and utilizing aqua vitae as a curative with text and detailed woodcut illustrations. “Liber de arte distillandi” expounded on the virtues of alcohol as remedy for a variety of ailments and mood disorders such as depression and memory problems.

Modern whiskey is aged a minimum of three years in wooden casks to give it that familiar mellow flavor.  The wood used to age whiskey is usually charred white oak, and the aging process is called “oaking.” It’s said that 80% of whiskey’s taste comes from the wood it’s aged in, and whiskey makers know that old oak imparts the best flavor to the drink.  Early whiskies were produced using primitive distillation equipment, unrefined methods and it was not aged at all. Early Renaissance whiskies were used straight from a barrel and extremely raw-tasting compared to modern whiskies. A large serving of this undiluted concoction was so potent that a Whiskey Sour made with crude whiskey of the past could cause alcoholic shock.

Whiskies are made from various grains; in Scotland malt whisky uses 100% malted barley mash. Whisky production spread quickly in Ireland, Scotland and other northern European areas where beer and wine were already popular. This was due to grains and barley being locally available and limited supplies of grapes.

Scotland - homeland of Whiskey

Scotland – homeland of Whiskey.
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The first confirmed written record of whiskey appeared in 1405 in the Irish Annals of Clonmacnoise, where the death of a chieftain was blamed on excessive whiskey consumption at Christmastime. The Scots become the world leaders in quality whisky soon after spending decades perfecting the distillation process. The first known record of Scottish whisky appeared in 1494 in the Exchequer Rolls to Friar John Cor, by order of the king, to make “aquavitae.” Friar John received sufficient malt to produce about 500 bottles of whiskey.

When King Henry VIII dissolved England’s monasteries between 1536 and 1541, monks were unemployed and forced to manage on their own. Many of them earned money by doing what they knew well: making whisky, and they soon spread their knowledge across Scotland. Thus began whisky production that was no longer controlled exclusively by monastic monks and The Guild of Surgeon Barbers.

The oldest licensed distillery was the Old Bushmilll’s Distillery on Ireland’s north coast. They were licensed in 1608, and the company is still in the whiskey business today.

Whiskey Distillery

Whiskey Distillery
Image © Arvydas Kniukšta – Fotolia.com

The Acts of Union merged England and Scotland in the 18th century, and new harsh taxes on any unlicensed alcohol brewery tested the Scot’s love of whisky. Scotch whisky production was shut down when the English crown imposed new harsh taxes on any unlicensed alcohol brewery.

Thousands of distillers across Northern England and Scotland responded by producing whisky illegally using homemade stills, usually in the wee hours of the night. Low nighttime visibility hid the smoke from distillation fires. Stealth production in the dark of night endowed whisky with the nickname “moonshine.” After production, they hid their whisky stocks in unusual places like church altars and coffins to avoid government excisemen.

The governments did their best to stop illegal whisky production, yet regulations did little to curb it; about 50% of the whisky produced during this era was illegal. Smuggling became an art form, and the fight between smugglers and the Scottish and English governments lasted for 150 years.

During the taxation years, shortages of whiskey around the world had international impact. During the American Revolutionary War, whiskey was scarce enough to be used as a currency. After the war ended, the new American government repeated England’s mistake and heavily taxed the ingredients, production and sales of whiskey. The 1791 tax protest of US grain and corn farmers was called the Whiskey Rebellion, and the tax laws were repealed in 1801.

Whisky makers in Scotland and England were free to resume legal whisky manufacturing when the English government passed a new law that legalized production after paying a fee. This revived the industry, and drove innovations and improvements in the product. One of the new innovations was the “continuous still” that enabled brewers to make whisky that was higher quality, and distilled much faster.

Whiskey machinery

Whiskey machinery.
Image © johnbraid – Fotolia.com

In 1880, even the French began making whiskey because of a disease which wiped out much of the grape crop. This led to whiskey becoming popular worldwide, and in 2009 Scotland broke their record and exported 1.1 billion bottles of whiskey.

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