Whenever you think of scotch whisky, it brings you back to movies when brooding men of stature would hang out in bars. But did you know that this iconic drink has been around since the early 19th century when Irish monks arrived in Scotland and tried to Christianize the world. Together with God's Word, they brought primitive still which they picked up during their travels in Europe.
The common notion is that scotch whisky is a homemade product of Scotland. As with other old world drinks, the scotch has given rise to several variations of itself such as:
Single Malt Scotch Whisky: Produced from barley wheat and water only in a single distillery through pot still by batch distillation.
Single Grain Scotch Whisky: Produced using water, barley, malt or unmalted cereals, whole grains. "Single Grain" is not to be misinterpreted using as only one type of specific grain. It refers to the process of being manufactured in a single distillery.
Blended Malt Scotch Whisky: Produced by blending of two or more Single Malt Scotch Whiskies from several different distilleries. This is also known as pure malt or vatted malt. It only contains malt whiskies.
Blended Grain Scotch Whisky: Produced by blending two or more Single Grain Scotch Whisky from different distilleries
Blended Scotch Whisky: Produced by blending one or more Single Malt Whisky with one or more Single Grain Scotch Whiskies:
Comprises 90% of Scotland production of whisky
The combination styles of malt and grain whiskies are recognized by brands
Famous examples of this brand are Johnnie Walker, Cutty Sark, J&B, and Chivas Regal
For those of you who may be interested in trying your hand at scotch whisky making, you better be prepared because scotch distillation goes through many processes. These are:
Malting: Barley is converted into malt. Barley is soaked in water and allowed to germinate. After germination, they are dried using hot air.
Mashing: Coarse flour, called 'grist' is added to the dried malt. They are mixed together with water and placed in a large container called the mashing tun. Wort, a sugar solution, comes out of this process.
Fermentation: The wort is placed again in another container called the "wash back." After cooling, yeast is then added for fermentation. The resulting liquid, known as the "wash" is then filtered.
Distillation: In this process, alcohol level is strengthened and impurities are removed from the wash.
Maturation: The raw spirit is then placed in oak barrels for aging. The aging process undergoes evaporation. A small amount of liquid evaporates and alcohol content level is lessened.
Unless you gulp down your spirits in a few seconds, scotch whisky can and should be appreciated. Indulge your senses with its texture, flavor and aroma. You'd be surprised at how much more interesting scotch can be.
Choosing the best scotch whisky for you depends on your own personal taste. Different types of whisky have their own distinctive flavor that makes them standout. So the next time you go in a bar, give the classic scotch a chance. You just might enjoy it.