Whiskey vs. Whisky

The Irish spell it “Whiskey”, where the Scottish spell it “Whisky.” America tends to follow the Irish spelling whereas Canada and Japan tend to follow the Scottish spelling

Distilling TOOLS

What is grist?  a cask? a thief? a solera?  a still?  a mash bill? 



The wooden barrel used to mature the whiskey. The most used types of oak barrels are American, European, or Japanese.


Malted barley turned to powder, so it can then be added to water to become mash.


A process for aging by fractional blending in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over many years.


A tubular instrument for removing a sample from the barrel.


A still is an apparatus used to distill liquids mixtures by heating and then cooling

Mash Bill

The mix of grains used to that goes into the still to make the bourbon. There ar typically 3 grains in every bourbon mash bill.

Other Brewing Terminology

Aging – Where whiskey gets it flavor, this is the process of letting it sit in the barrel for a desired amount of time. 

Bottled in Bond – Whiskey that is a product of one distilling season by one distiller at one distillery. It must be aged in a federally bonded warehouse under the supervision under US Government supervision for at least four years, and bottled at 100 proof, or 50% alcohol by volume.

Charring – The process of burning the inside of the cask giving it the natural compound flavoring.

Cask Strength – Whiskey that has not been substantially diluted after its storage in the cask for maturation. It goes directly from the cask to the bottle. That means it typically has more Alcohol by Volume and ranges anywhere between 50-75% ABV compared to typical whiskey that is diluted with water which has averages about 40% ABV.

Finish – The process that some whiskeys encounter when originally matured in one barrel then moved to another in order to acquire a different taste.

Mash bill – The mix of grains used to make bourbon.

Straight – Whiskey aged in new charred oak barrels for a minimum of 2 years and distilled from a fermented cereal grain mash which doesn’t exceed 80% ABV. 

White Dog – White whiskey or known as “White Dog” is essentially a raw, unfinished product on its way to to becoming an aged whiskey. 

Know Your Whiskey

What is Bourbon Blended Grain Irish Malt Scotch Wheat Whiskey?

Bourbon Whiskey 

Whiskey produced in the U.S. at not exceeding 80% alcohol by volume (160 proof). Bourbon is made primarily from corn, no less than 51% corn, and contains no additives. The other 49% is usually a mixture of barley, rye, or wheat. It must be stored at not more than 62.5% alcohol by volume (125 proof) in charred new oak containers.

Blended Whiskey

A product of blending different types of grain and malt whiskies 

Canadian Whisky

Whisky manufactured in Canada in accordance with their laws. Most Canadian whiskies are a blend of multi-grain liquors, with a large percentage of corn spirits. The terms “rye whisky” and “Canadian whisky” are used interchangeably in Canada. 

Corn Whiskey

American whiskey produced at not exceeding 80% alcohol by volume (160 proof) from a fermented mash of not less than 80 percent corn. If stored in oak containers, it cannot be stored at not more than 62.5% alcohol by volume (125 proof) in used or uncharred new oak containers.  It cannot be subjected in any manner to treatment with charred wood.

Flavored Whiskey

Whiskey flavored with natural flavoring materials, with or without the addition of sugar, bottled at not less than 30% alcohol by volume (60 proof).

Grain Whiskey

Made from any type of grain, including but not limited to corn or wheat.

High Wheat and High Rye Bourbons 

Containing a larger than normal amount of rye/wheat, a mashbill holding 20-35 percent is generally considered a high rye/wheat. 

Irish Whiskey

Whiskey that is made in Ireland with a mix of malted and unmalted barley and is often triple distilled. 

Kentucky Straight

Straight whiskey made in Kentucky from a mash of at least 51% corn grain. 

Malt Whiskey

Malt whiskey is made primarily from malted barley.

Rye Whiskey

 Whiskey made with a mash of at least 51% rye and aged in new charred oak barrels. It cannot exceed 80% alcohol by volume and is stored at no more than 62.5% alcohol by volume (125 proof).

Single Malt Whiskey

Whiskey made from malted barley made exclusively in a single distillery

Scotch Whisky

Scotch is made from malted barley or grain and must be aged in oak casks for more than three years. It is made exclusively in Scotland and must be made in a manner expressed by law. Scotch is divided into five categories: Single malt, single grain, blended malt, blended grain, and blended scotch whisky. The flavour of Scotch is very earthy and smoky.

Small Batch Whiskey

There are no federal guidelines that restrict or define the use of the term, but it often refers to whiskey produced by mixing the contents of a small number of barrels.

Tennessee Whiskey

 Whiskey produced in Tennessee. It is steeped in charcoal before going into the cases for fermentation. Most Tennessee whiskeys meet the requirements for bourbon. It must be 51% corn, with the rest of the mash bill made up of rye and barley. It must be aged in new charred oak barrels, and the limits on alcohol by volume concentration for distillation, aging, and bottling must all meet the requirements of bourbon.

 Wheat Whiskey

Whiskey with a fermented mash of no less than 51% wheat. It must not exceed 80% alcohol by volume (160 proof) and stored at no more than 62.5% alcohol by volume (125 proof) in charred new oak containers

Ordering lingo

Manhattan – A traditional combination of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. 

Old-Fashioned – Made with bitters, sugar, an orange slice, and an optional splash of soda. 

Whiskey Sour – Containing whiskey lemon juice, sugar, and an optional dash of egg white. 

Sazerac – A spicy rye whiskey with sugar, bitters, and absinthe. 

Boulevardier – Stimulating mix of bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari. 

Hot Toddy – Honey, whiskey, lemon, and ginger. 


Nose – Smelling the whiskey before taking a sip to get different aromas and flavors. 

Kentucky Chew – A term for taking a sip after gathering the nose and swishing the liquid around 2-3 times before swallowing. 

Notes – Refers to a taster’s thoughts about the aroma,  taste identification, acidity, structure, texture, and balance. 

Hints – Flavor profiles that add to the tasting notes. 

Drinking Lingo

Nose – The aroma of the whiskey

Neat – A drink that is served with no ice and no mixers. It is a straight pour of liquor to glass typically at room temperature. Whiskey is most commonly drank neat.

Up – A drink that is typically chilled with ice. It can be either shaken or stirred

On The Rocks – Refers to a drink poured over ice cubes. 

Glass Types


Used to savor the aroma, the glasses are especially tall, having a round bottom that becomes narrower before fluting out slightly at the top.


Used to savor the aroma, the glasses are especially tall, having a round bottom that becomes narrower before fluting out slightly at the top.


Typically holding up to 20 fluid ounces, it is used to serve mixed drinks.


Similar to the tulip, but wider and shorter and contains a brim that is not fluted.


Often referred to as a highball glass which stands vertical and holds 8 - 10 ounces. Ideal for experimenting with different elements when mixing in.

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