Whisky – discovering a spectrum of flavours

Whisky is a very special drink. Connoisseurs love to savour the different flavours that result from the unique production process and vary greatly depending on the region of origin. However, the various designations such as "Single malt", "Scotch" and "Bourbon" can often be confusing to whisky novices. But don't worry, once you understand the basic terminology, you'll soon be able to focus on the enjoyment factor and quickly identify your favourite type of whisky. At coop@home, you can compare lots of different whiskies and place your order online.

Where and how is whisky produced?

Whisky from Scotland, Ireland, the US, Canada and Japan is particularly popular. As the quality of water is crucial to the flavour of the whisky, distilleries are often built close to water sources. In addition to good-quality water, whisky production requires grain that is malted and dried. The mixture of grain and water is then left to ferment and is distilled in a copper boiler. But this is only the beginning of the production process. The whisky must then be left to age in wooden barrels. The ageing process for Scottish whisky is at least three years, and at least two years for US whisky. However, this is the absolute minimum as storage periods of 10-15 years are not unheard of.

The process itself is not complex, but it can be modified in hundreds of different ways. Different grains can be used, the distillation of the whisky can be continuous or discontinuous, and even the wood of the barrels and whatever was stored in them previously can affect the flavour – all this is important for the character of the whisky.

Whisky or whiskey? Key terminology

You'll find all kinds of different terms on a whisky label. Many find it annoying that whisky will sometimes also appear with an "e", i.e. whiskey. This is not by chance, but rather an indication of the origin. In Ireland and the US, whisky is written with an "e". The word whisky comes from the Scottish Gaelic and means "water of life".

Many of the terms refer to the grain used to produce the whisky. The most common names include:

  • Malt whisky: made from malted barley
  • Grain whisky: predominantly made from corn or wheat
  • Corn whisky: made from corn
  • Rye whisky: made from rye
  • Bourbon: made from corn and stored in freshly charred barrels

Terms such as "straight" or "single" mean that the whisky in the bottle has come exclusively from a distillery, while the term "blended whisky" means that the bottle contains a blend of different whiskies. So a single malt whisky, for example, is a whisky that is made using barley and comes exclusively from a distillery. "Scotch" is a synonym for Scottish whisky.

How to enjoy whisky

A fine whisky is best enjoyed on its own. However, if you want to accustom yourself to the unique flavour, you can water it down a little. This will result in a milder taste. The ideal drinking vessel is a small, bulbous glass with a tapered mouth. Whisky should always be drunk at room temperature, ideally in small, slow sips.

Order whisky online at coop@home

Just like wine, whisky features lots of different flavours – and comes from many different countries. You will find both well-known and unusual varieties of whisky at coop@home. You can order your whisky directly online and have it delivered to your door.