The different types of whisky

Scotch Whisky

must be distilled in Scotland and matured at least three years in an oak cask, according to the law.


Usually a blend is made by blending some expensive and fine malt whiskies with less expensive, low-quality grain whiskies. (grain whisky is made from a mixture of malted and unmalted barley and distilled in patent stills, contrary to malt whisky which is distilled in pot stills). Usually blends are of moderate quality only, but rather cheap and therefore quite popular.

Single Malt

Single Malt is the product of a single distillery. It is made from malted barley only, and distilled in pot stills). (see making of whisky). Most single malts are matured for some 12--16 years. The sophisticated way it is produced yields a wonderful taste, but is rather expensive ..

Single Cask

Each cask has its own, individual character. To ensure some consistency for the taste of their whisky, distilleries usually blend together whisky from many casks. Single cask, on the contrary, is whisky from one single cak only, and therefore has the unique taste which is characteristic for that cask. A rare and expensive type of whisky.

Cask Strength

After distillation, whisky has over 60 percent alcohol. It is usually watered down to 40 percent (for the British market) or 43 percent (most other countries) when it is bottled. Cask Strength, on the contrary, is bottled straight from the cask, without being watered down. It should be drunk with a splash of water rather than at full strength.


Bourbon, produced in USA, is made from a mixture of maize and barley. Irish whiskey is made from a mixture of malted and unmalted barley, and distilled by triple distillation (while Scotch usually is distilled only twice). The triple distillation yields a spirit of higher purity, but also less complex taste.