Malt whisky

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Malt whisky is whisky made from a fermented mash consisting primarily of malted barley. If the product is made exclusively at a single distillery (along with other restrictions), it is typically called a single malt whisky. Although malt whisky can be made using other malted grains besides barley, those versions are not called malt whisky without specifying the grain, such as rye malt whisky or buckwheat malt whisky.



The exact definitions of "malt whisky" and "single malt whisky" and the restrictions governing their production vary according to regulations established by different jurisdictions for marketing whisky. For example, Scotch whisky regulations [1] [2] require malt whisky to be made in pot stills using water and malted barley without the addition of any other grains or cereals, and the whisky must be aged for at least three years in oak casks. The use of new barrels is not required. Caramel coloring can be added, but no other additives are allowed.

Irish whiskey regulations are almost identical to Scotch regulations. [3] Malt whiskey must be distilled in a pot still from a mash of 100% malted barley, which may be peated or unpeated in character, although unpeated malt is typically used. All Irish whiskeys must be matured for at least three years in wooden casks (which may have been previously used) and must contain a minimum of 40% alcohol by volume, with caramel coloring as the only allowed additive. Single pot still whiskey, while also being primarily made from malted barley, is not called malt whisky because it contains unmalted barley. It is considered a separate category under Irish regulations.

In the United States Code of Federal Regulations, the Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits [4] define a "malt whisky" as a whisky produced at an alcohol by volume (ABV) level not exceeding 80% from a fermented mash of not less than 51% malted barley grain that is stored for aging in charred new oak containers at less than 62.5% ABV. If such a whisky has been aged for at least two years, contains no added coloring and flavoring, and has not been blended with neutral spirits or other types of whisky, the adjective "straight" can be applied, as in straight malt whisky. A blended whisky that contains at least 51% straight malt whisky may be labelled as blended malt whisky or malt whiskey – a blend.

Canadian whisky regulations [5] allow the addition of flavoring agents as well as caramel coloring. There is no maximum limit on the alcohol level of the distillation or aging for Canadian whisky, [5] so the distillate may be close to neutral before aging. Like the regulations for the aging of Irish and Scotch whisky, the aging requirement for Canadian whisky is three years, and the use of new barrels is not required.

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Scotch whisky Malt or grain whisky made in Scotland

Scotch whisky is malt whisky or grain whisky, made in Scotland. Scotch whisky must be made in a manner specified by law. As of 2018, there were 133 Scotch whisky distilleries operating in Scotland.

Whisky Type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash

Whisky or whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Various grains are used for different varieties, including barley, corn, rye, and wheat. Whisky is typically aged in wooden casks, generally made of charred white oak.

Bourbon whiskey Type of American whiskey, a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn

Bourbon whiskey is a type of American whiskey, a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn. The name ultimately derives from the French Bourbon dynasty, although the precise inspiration for the whiskey's name is uncertain; contenders include Bourbon County in Kentucky and Bourbon Street in New Orleans, both of which are named after the dynasty. Bourbon has been distilled since the 18th century. The name "Bourbon" was not applied until the 1850s, and the Kentucky etymology was not advanced until the 1870s. Although bourbon may be made anywhere in the United States, it is strongly associated with the American South and with Kentucky in particular. As of 2014, distillers' wholesale market revenue for bourbon sold within the U.S. was about $2.7 billion, and bourbon made up about two-thirds of the $1.6 billion of U.S. exports of distilled spirits. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, in 2018 U.S. distillers derived $3.6 billion in revenue from bourbon and Tennessee whiskey sold in the United States.

Single malt Scotch is single malt whisky made in Scotland. To qualify for this category, a whisky must have been distilled at a single distillery using a pot still distillation process and made from a mash of malted barley. As with any Scotch whisky, a single malt Scotch must be distilled in Scotland and matured in oak casks in Scotland for at least three years.

Single malt whisky malt whisky from a single distillery and made with malted barley

Single malt whisky is malt whisky from a single distillery. Single malts are typically associated with single malt Scotch, though they are also produced in various other countries. Under the United Kingdom's Scotch Whisky Regulations, a "Single Malt Scotch Whisky" must be made exclusively from malted barley, must be distilled using pot stills at a single distillery, and must be aged for at least three years in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres. While the Scotch model is usually copied internationally, these constraints may not apply to whisky marketed as "single malt" that is produced elsewhere. For example, there is no definition of the term "single" with relation to whisky in the law of the United States, and some American whiskey advertised as "single malt whisky" is produced from malted rye rather than malted barley.

A blended whiskey is the product of blending different types of whiskeys and sometimes also neutral grain spirits, colorings, and flavorings. It is generally the product of mixing one or more higher-quality straight or single malt whiskey with less expensive spirits and other ingredients. This typically allows for a lower priced finished product, although expensive "premium" varieties also exist.

Rye whiskey

Rye whiskey can refer to two different, but related, types of whiskey:

Pot still

A pot still is a type of distillation apparatus or still used to distill flavored liquors such as whisky or cognac, but not rectified spirit because they are bad at separating congeners. Pot stills operate on a batch distillation basis. Traditionally constructed from copper, pot stills are made in a range of shapes and sizes depending on the quantity and style of spirit desired.

Grain whisky

Grain whisky normally refers to any whisky made, at least in part, from grains other than malted barley. This could be whisky made using corn, wheat or rye. Grain whiskies usually contain some malted barley to provide enzymes needed for mashing and are required to include it if they are produced in Ireland or Scotland. Whisky made only from malted barley is generally called "malt whisky" rather than grain whisky. Most American and Canadian whiskies are grain whiskies.

Springbank distillery trademark

The Springbank distillery is a family-owned single malt whisky distillery on the Kintyre Peninsula in western Scotland. It is owned by J & A Mitchell & Company, who also owns the Glengyle Distillery, the oldest independent bottler, William Cadenheads, and several blended scotch labels. Licensed in 1828, Springbank is one of the last surviving producers of single malt whiskies in Campbeltown, an area that once had over thirty active distilleries. The distillery produces three types of peated and unpeated malt whisky that it bottles under three distinct brands. The majority of its distillate is bottled as a single malt, with a small percentage sold to larger blenders or ending up in one of J&A Mitchell's own blended scotch labels, such as Campbeltown Loch.

Blended malt whisky

A blended malt, formerly called a vatted malt, or pure malt, is a blend of different single malt whiskies from different distilleries. These terms are most commonly used in reference to Scotch whisky, or whisky in that style, such as Japanese whisky.

American whiskey

American whiskey is whiskey produced in the United States. The primary types of American whiskey are bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, rye malt whiskey, malt whiskey, wheat whiskey, Tennessee whiskey, and corn whiskey. All of these are made from mashes with at least 51% of their named grains.

J.P. Wisers Whisky

J.P. Wiser's Whisky is Canada's oldest continuously produced Canadian whisky. The brand was established in 1857, and Hiram Walker & Sons Limited currently produces it at their Windsor, Ontario, distillery. Since 1935, J.P. Wiser's has been the majority shareholder of Corby Spirit and Wine. Both companies came into ownership of international liquor company Pernod Ricard in 2005.

Korn (liquor) German colorless distilled beverage

Korn, also known as Kornbrand or Kornbranntwein, is a German colorless distilled beverage produced from fermented cereal grain seed. In the production of Korn only the cereal grain types rye, wheat, barley, oats and buckwheat are permissible. Most of the production is based on rye or wheat; barley is mainly used to obtain the required malt for the brewing process, while oats and buckwheat are rarely used.The addition of food colorings, flavorings, or sweeteners is not permitted. Korn differs from vodka in that it is distilled to lower alcoholic proofs and less rigorously filtered, which leaves more of the cereal grain flavor in the finished spirit.

Redbreast (whiskey) Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Redbreast is a brand of single pot still Irish Whiskey produced by Irish Distillers. It was originally produced by Gilbey's, a Dublin spirits merchant using distillate sourced from Jameson's Bow Street Distillery. In the 1980s, the brand was purchased by Irish Distillers, the producer of Jameson Irish whiskey. It is the largest selling single pot still Irish whiskey in the world.

Downslope Distilling

Downslope Distilling is a craft beverage distillery in Centennial, Colorado, United States.

Straight whiskey, as defined in United States law, is whiskey that is distilled from a fermented cereal grain mash to a concentration not exceeding 80% alcohol by volume (abv) and aged in new charred oak barrels for at least two years at a concentration not exceeding 62.5% at the start of the aging process.

Single pot still whiskey

Single pot still whiskey is a style of Irish whiskey made by a single distillery from a mixed mash of malted and unmalted barley distilled in a pot still. Somewhat similar to single malt whiskey, the style was defined by its inclusion of unmalted raw barley in the mash in addition to malt. However, small amounts of raw oats or wheat may have been used at times. This unmalted component is said to give single pot whiskey a "spicier bristle" and "thicker texture" than the otherwise similar single malt whiskeys. If the whiskey is not distilled completely on the site of a single distillery, then it may be termed pot still whiskey but not single pot still whiskey.


  1. The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009, The National Archives, 2009.
  2. The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009: Guidance for Producers and Bottlers Archived 2010-07-05 at the Wayback Machine , Scotch Whisky Association, February 12, 2009.
  3. "Technical file setting out the specifications with which Irish Whiskey / Uisce Beatha Eireannach / Irish Whisky must comply" (PDF). Department of Agriculture, Forestry and the Marine. October 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  4. "Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits, Title 27 Code of Federal Regulations, Pt. 5.22" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  5. 1 2 "Canadian Food and Drug Regulations (C.R.C., c. 870) – Malt Whisky (B.02.013)". (Access date March 25, 2015.)