May 17, 2020

World Whisky Day: 10 things to know about whisky

World Whisky Day takes place on the 3rd Saturday in May each year and this day is all about enjoying your whisky as you like it, ice or water, whatever works for you. 

But before you quench your thirst in celebration of this much-loved drink, how much do you know about it? What is whisky made from? What’s the correct way to spell it? Are single malts better than blends?

Owner of premium drinks company, Truman & Orange, Rowan Leibbrandt shares below ten things you need to know about your favourite tipple. 

  • Whisky is made from just three ingredients: water, barley, and yeast. 
  • To be called Scotch whisky, the liquid must be aged in oak casks for a minimum of three years in Scotland.
  • Whisky spelt without an ‘e’ is made in Scotland. Whiskey spelt with an ‘e’ refers to Irish and American whiskey, for example, Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey.
  • Single malt whisky is distilled, matured and bottled all at one distillery.
  • Blended whisky is not inferior to single malt whisky; in fact, it’s the most popular of all types of whisky and is driving category growth both globally and in South Africa. 
  • Master blenders produce blends by mixing different whiskies of different ages and flavours to get a perfect balance. Let’s take Bannerman’s Scotch Whisky, for example, it is blended using more aged malt than traditional blends – five– six-year-old malts rather than the traditional three-year-old malts used in many blends – resulting in a bolder, more complex flavour and a longer, smoother finish.
  • Whisky flavours are developed in the distillation process. The slower the process, the fruitier the whisky owing to the liquid’s prolonged contact with the copper still, as in the case of Bannerman’s.
  • Whisky flavours are largely derived from the casks the liquid is matured in. 
  • Sherry casks are significantly more expensive than any others because less sherry is being consumed than whisky and so the demand for these casks is higher than supply. 
  • There is no ‘right’ way to drink whisky.