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Types of Whiskeys 101


When it comes to whiskies, most of us have tasted it once in our lives, we either like it or some of us maybe not so much. But, to most of us, whiskey’s will just be whiskey's, do you know that there are actually a few varieties of whiskey’s around the world?

Let me list out a few:

Japanese Whiskey – Japan

Scotch – Scotland

Irish Whiskey – Ireland

Bourbon – USA

Canadian Whiskey/Rye – Canada

Let us start out with Scotch

If its name doesn’t ring a bell already, Scotch is from Scotland. Primarily made by malted barley, along with other grains, corn wheat etc. Within the category of Scotch, we do also have 4 sub categories that people often get mixed up about.

Single Malt Whisky – Product of a single distillery, aged for at least 3 years

Blended Malt Whisky – A blend of two or more single malts from different distilleries

Blended Whisky – A blend of single malt whisky with corn or wheat whisky

Single Grain Whisky – 100% corn or wheat whiskey, lighter bodied


Next up we have Japanese Whiskey

The distillation process for Japanese whiskey is very identical to that of scotch, process of aging whiskey are also very similar to that of scotch with the minimum aging period to be at least 3 years in barrel. A notable example would be our Mars Iwai Whiskey range. From the creator, Kiichiro Iwai, the mentor of the famous Masataka Taketsuru. Iwai later founded Hombo Shuzo in the Yamanashi Prefecture, and ever since 1960s, the distillery has been producing wines and whiskey’s under the Mars branding.

Bourbon will be in a category on its own as well, Bourbon in particular would have to be produced in the USA, consisting of 51% or above of corn, with no additive, colors, caramel or flavorings allowed during the distillation. The most interesting part would be the part where it has to be aged in newly charred oak casks for at least 2 years to be called “straight bourbon”.


Next would be Irish Whiskey. While sharing similarities with scotch, it also has its own unique traits and deviations. Do not mix up Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky or you’ll be in for a good one.


Single Malt Whiskey – produced the same as in Scotland, 100% barley, aged at least 3 years

Grain Whiskey – lighter than single malts, corn or wheat distilled in a column still

Blended Whiskey – combination of single malt and grain whiskey

Single Pot Still Whiskey – unique to Ireland, 100% barley both malted and unmalted in a pot still



Last but not least, we’ve got the Canadian whiskey, it must be mashed, distilled and aged in Canada. This particular whisky may contain caramel or flavoring. The Canadian whiskey makers will often add a high amount of flavorful rye grain to the mash, hence most people will call this Rye Whiskey.


Canadian whiskey would have much less regulations as compared to the bourbon and often is a blended style of whiskey.


Rye would be a spicier variation of bourbon, but also a smoother, lighter and more flavorful variation. This consists of 51% or above of rye, 39% corn and 10% of malted barley. Hence this would be a smooth whiskey with a slight spicy sweet finishing.


That’s all from us today, have you tried all the different kinds of whiskeys? If you haven’t we recommend you to do so!


Do drop us a follow @oaknbarrel on Instagram and Facebook. Join us as we explore the different variations of alcohols in the coming posts. Stay tuned!