The truly international spirit

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Tony Bell

Bars blogger

In the last installment, we looked at the history of Irish whiskey, which is one of several varieties produced around the world. No matter where it is made or how it is spelled, whisk(e)y has a distinguished history, and while Tennessee sour mash is very different from single malt Scotch, every variation is very legitimate. The five major producing countries, besides Ireland are the United States, Scotland, Canada and Japan.

Scotch whisky comes from one of four regions of Scotland, each with their own distinctive properties. The most highly prized Scotch whiskies are the single malts which are produced entirely from malted barley, double distilled and made at one of over 100 Scottish distilleries. Many of these Scotches are aged for many years and have complicated flavors and aromas. Glenlivet and Laphroaig are notable brands of single malts. Blended scotch is made from a mixture of malt and grain spirits, such as corn. Most of the popular brands that consumers are familiar with, such as Cutty Sark, Johnny Walker, Dewars and J&B, are blended and may contain dozens of grain whiskies.

In the United States, in the 18th century, English and Irish settlers, who brought their own whiskies with them from the old country, inspired American whiskey production. The first domestic whiskies were made from malted barley and rye. Kentucky distillers soon began producing pure corn whiskey, which became the bourbon whiskey we know today. Bourbon is now made with not less than 51% corn and aged in barrels of American oak, charred on the inside. Jim Beam, Makers Mark and Wild Turkey are popular brands. Tennessee sour mash, such as Jack Daniels, is the other distinctive American whiskey. The difference between the two is that Tennessee is filtered through charcoal.

Canadian whiskies are made from blends of different grains, combining rye, corn and malted barley, and is aged primarily in used oak barrels. A curiosity of Canadian whisky is that regulations allow the addition of other products, such as sherry or wine, usually up to about 1 %. Crown Royal and Canadian Club are more recognizable brands.

Japan has become a player in the whisky industry only in the last 30 years or so. The model for Japanese whisky is closer to what we know as single malt Scotch.

Whisk(e)y is truly the international spirit, and offers a wide selection of cocktails for your enjoyment. From classics like the Manhattan and the Rob Roy to simple mixes such as a 'Jack and Coke', there is truly something for every palate and taste. Until next time, cheers!

Love the Review?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Forest Park Review and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

1 Comment - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Jean Lotus, editor from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 6th, 2013 7:32 PM

Once again, I learn so much from your posts Sr. Bell. Jack and I disagree, but a sip of a Manhattan is always a treat.

Facebook Connect

Community Guide 2019 - 2020

To view the full print edition of the Forest Park Review 2019 - 2020 Community Guide, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Forest Park.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Latest Comments