The Five Types of Whiskey Every Gentleman Should Know

November 01, 2018

The Five Types of Whiskey Every Gentleman Should Know

We cannot imagine how humanity would have survived without whiskey. A glass of one coupled with an amusing company of friends, rich conversations, and rounds of hearty laughs, is one of the few little things that make life less insufferable. Whether guzzled neat, watered down, or with ice (lay down your pitchforks gentlemen, to each one is his own), it acts as a lubricant that helps us go through the abrasiveness of our daily routines.

A product of the distillation from fermented grain mash, whiskey is never simple.  It is rather a collective term for an assortment of distilled alcohol that varies depending on how they are made, from what they are made from, and where they are processed.  If you are limiting yourself to one or two types of this drink, you are missing a lot in life.

Here are five different types of whiskeys any self-respecting whiskey-lover should know.




TLDR: Arguably the best whiskey out there.

The Long Story: The Scotts made the skirt one of the manliest clothing ever, you cannot expect anything less from their drink.  Technically, scotch is a whisky, as opposed to a whiskey (yes guys, there is a difference). They were first made from malted barley, and then from wheat and rye during the late 18th century. There are currently five categories of Scotch: single malt, single grain, blended malt, blended grain, and blended Scotch. They are all generally must be aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years, as mandated by Scottish law.

Tastes Like: Imagine a drink made from raw leather, dirt, burnt rubber, and wood, but tastes unbelievably great.

Famous Brands: The Macallan, Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal, and J&B.




TLDR:  The previous “best whiskey out there” title holder before Scotch took over.

The Long Story: Scotland might have the longer stick now when it comes to whiskey dominance, but Ireland was the pioneer distiller in the British Isles, and at some point reigned supreme over Scotch when it comes to popularity. Compared to Scotch which is distilled twice, Irish whiskey (yes, with an “e” this time) is distilled three times. This contributes to a lighter, smoother taste of the drink. It also incorporates more barley, giving it the hint of oily and spicy kick. Like Scotch, Irish law also dictates that their whiskey is aged in oak barrels for at least three years.

Tastes Like: Think of vanilla, tobacco, honey, and leather flowing smoothly and uncomplicatedly on your throat.

Famous Brands: Jameson, Connemara, Green Spot, and Locke's.




TLDR:  America’s answer to the world whiskey supremacy.

The Long Story: Bourbon vastly differs in color, taste, and texture compared to Scotch and Irish whiskey because the way it is made and its ingredients largely differ as well. The law mandates that not less than 51% of its fermented mash must be corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain. It also should not contain any additives. It then is stored in charred new oak containers. This gives the drink its signature reddish color. 

Tastes Like: Sweetness is bourbon’s defining characteristic, with a bit of smokiness brought upon by the charred oak.

Famous Brands: Blanton's, Woodford Reserve, and Pappy Van Winkle.




TLDR:  Bourbon’s edgier cousin.

The Long Story: As the name suggests, rye whiskey is distilled from rye cereal grain, a close relative of barley and wheat. To differentiate it from Bourbon, it has to have a mash content of at least 51% rye as the law dictates. The two spirits are almost interchangeable when it comes to cocktails like Whiskey sours, Manhattans, and Old Fashioneds

Tastes Like: While Bourbon is sweeter and more full-bodied, Rye is grainer with a hint of spiciness and fruitiness thrown it. It is a bit more intense and rougher on the side than Bourbon.

Famous Brands: Old Overholt, Rittenhouse 100 Proof Bottled In Bond, and Redemption Barrel Proof.




TLDR:  You know it because your uncle puts Jack Daniels in literally everything.

The Long Story: Most people say that this is basically Bourbon, but made from Tennessee.  This a bit inaccurate. Though it is distilled from the same mas of ingredients as of Bourbon and aged in charred oaks, there is a critical and differentiating extra step involved – the Lincoln County Process. Before aging, Tennessee whiskey must be first steeped in charcoal. It isn’t just any charcoal, either, but obtained only from handpicked sugar maple trees which are frequently burned on the premises to create the charcoal needed.

Tastes Like: Bourbon (Hey, we're just being honest here.)

Famous Brands (aside from Jack Daniels)George Dickel, Barrell Batch 007, and Willett.




TLDR:  This drink is once an outlaw, so give it a little respect.

The Long Story: Moonshine, aka White Whiskey, never saw the light of legal status in the United States until 2010. Prior to that, this drink was being made in secret deep in the night to sidestep high taxes or bans on alcoholic drinks. Typically made from cornmeal, sugar, yeast, and water, moonshine is never aged inside caskets. Moonshiners would bottle the whiskey right after the distillation for this distribution, lest they can risk capture. This gives the spirit its clear, water-like color, and also its robust kick (which aging would normally mellow down).

Tastes Like: A combination of whiskey and vodka.

Famous Brands: Virginia Lightening, Ole Smokey, Glen Thunder, and Buffalo Trace White Dog.

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