Whisky is often referred to as a gentleman’s drink. There is more to it that its smoothness and fine taste. Good company and a glass of the finest whisky in the house is all you need to relax and unwind after a long day at work. If you are a whisky lover or a collector, you must know the different types of whiskies and the difference between whisky and whiskey. It is also crucial to know how to store whisky to ensure your bottle maintains it’s flavour.
If not, don’t worry, we are here for you. Whisky is a refined and distilled alcoholic drink created from a grain mash that is stored in a wooden whisky barrel to age and ferment, giving it a distinctive brown colour and a flavour beloved by many.
Is It Whiskey or Whisky?
The biggest argument today for people discussing whisky is how to spell it. So all whiskies from Scotland and japan are now known as whisky, while those made in the US are known as whiskey. The two differ in their creation process, their tastes, and the ingredients used to make them. Whiskey in America is distilled three times before being stored to produce a lighter and smoother spirit, and they use a mixture of grains, unlike in whisky. Different types of whiskies are made of different kinds of grain using different processes. Below are six types of whiskies you should know about:
1. Irish Whisky
This is a type of whisky that is produced in Ireland. It is made from meted cereal mash or yeast-fermented grain. It is stored in a wooden whisky barrel to age for about three years, creating an alcoholic beverage with a smoother taste than scotch whisky.
2. Scotch Whisky
Scotch whisky is made from malted grain or barley with an ageing process of over three years in oak casks. This type of whisky is entirely made in Scotland, and it’s divided into five different categories that include; single grain, blended grain, blended malt, blended scotch whisky, and single malt. Scotch Whisky has a smoky and earthy flavour.
3. Tennessee Whisky
This is a whisky type that is produced in Tennessee in the US. The difference between bourbon and Tennessee whisky is the method of filtration. Tennessee whisky is immersed in charcoal before being fermented in casks.
This is an American distilled whisky made from only corn with no extra additives and stored in oak casks. It has a red and smoky colour and is slightly sweet-tasting due to its fermentation in charred oak casks.
5. Rye Whisky
Primarily from North America, rye whisky is made from 51% rye and aged in charred barrels for a maximum of two years. It has a slightly spicy and fruity flavor making it perfect for whisky cooler cocktails.
6. Japanese Whisky
This type of whisky is produced in Japan, where they use double malted barley aged in wooden casks. It is different from other whiskies and comes as blends or single malt. It’s smokier and drier than all other types of whiskies.
How To Store Different Types Of Whisky
Whisky doesn’t continue to mature once the cork is popped like wine. If well stored, a whisky bottle ought to remain the same for tens of years, but once it’s uncorked, it can start oxidising unless stored in a properly-sealed container away from sunlight and heat.
How To Store Unopened Bottles Of Whisky
Two bottles of whisky are better than one. Whisky has become increasingly popular among people today. People are now buying more whisky to put a bottle aside for a rainy day and also to experience different flavours. Whether you drink the whisky or eventually sell it, preserving the beverage, bottles, and labels is crucial for keeping the whisky fresh. These six tips will help you keep your whisky in perfect condition:
1. Protect The Bottle From Direct Sunlight
When whisky is exposed to too much light, it sets a chemical reaction that discolours and changes the whisky’s flavour. Keep the whisky bottles in the dark areas of your house, such as a wine cellar, a dark pantry, or a cupboard. If you want to show off your whisky collection, consider storing it in a whisky cabinet that has a glass or window equipped with UV-blocking veneer.
2. Keep Your Bottle In A Place With Stable And Cold Temperatures
Fluctuating temperatures and too much exposure to heat will affect your whisky’s quality. When the whisky bottle is heated, it can expand and let in air through the cork, thus changing its taste. Heat can also damage the bottle seal. Store the whisky bottles in a place where temperatures generally stay between 59-68 degrees Fahrenheit, such as a whisky cooler. Storing it in a fridge will not hurt its quality, but whisky is not as aromatic and flavoured when cold.
3. Always Store The Bottle Upright
If you are wondering how should you store whisky- the answer is simple- in a vertical position. Storing it upside-down or horizontally will ensure constant contact with the cork, which will cause the cork to deteriorate eventually. This can lead to oxygen leaks, thus changing the flavour of the whisky.
4. Occasionally Turn The Bottle To Moisten The Cork
The cork should never be in continual contact with the liquor in the closed bottle. Nevertheless, if the cork is dry, it may chip or crumble when it’s opened. Ensure you continuously turn the bottle upside down to keep the cork moisturised for a few seconds every month.
5. Keep Bottles Away From Humid Areas
In a well-sealed bottle, the whisky is not harmed by moisture. However, if you want to keep the bottle and the label looking nice, it’s essential to reserve it in a low humidity area. Too much humidity in the air can damage the container and cause the label to look cloudy and mouldy.
6. Insure Your Whisky
Getting an insurance policy to cover your whisky bottles sounds like something only Hollywood actors do. However, rare whisky types that fetch up to seven-digit prices at auction require protection. Insurance companies can set you up with a policy that will protect your whisky bottle against catastrophe and theft.
How Should You Store Whisky To Keep It Fresh After Opening The Bottle?
As we all know, whisky can change quality once the cork is popped. Oxidation can change the taste and colour of the whisky if not well stored.So how should you store whisky? Below are five tips to help you keep your whisky fresh after opening popping the cork:
1. Protect The Whisky From Heat And Light
Once opened, you have to keep protecting your whisky from heat and light. Store the whisky in a dark and cool place such as a whisky cabinet or a wine cellar. When protected from light and heat, any opened whisky bottle ought to stay fresh for about one year before it starts to change colour and taste.
2. Store The Whisky In An Airtight Sealed Container
Oxygen is the greatest adversary of an opened whisky bottle. Once oxygen finds its way into the whisky bottle, it mixes with your whisky and dulls the flavour. Keep your whiskies in tightly sealed containers to minimise any exposure to oxygen. If the original cork is not working, buy a bottle cap, which creates an airtight seal and transfer the whisky into a sealed glass container.
3. Put Your Whisky In A Decanter
There are no benefits to the whisky when it’s decanted. Decanters don’t necessarily harm the whisky. They only make for flashy and beautiful serving containers when making that whisky cooler for your friends. Ensure that the decanter is tightly sealed and stored in a temperature-controlled area such as a whisky cabinet.
However, avoid decanters that are made from materials such as leaded crystal. Although beautiful, these decanters run the risk of the lead sipping into the whisky and contaminating it. If you already have such a decanter in your house, don’t use it for long-term storage.
4. Once The Whisky Level Lowers, Finish It Off Quickly
The more headroom your whisky bottle has, the faster it oxidises. Empty whisky bottles will not last as long as the almost full bottles. An almost full whisky bottle can stay fresh for nearly one year, once the content in the bottle starts to become low, invite your friends and family over for a drink to finish it off. You can also transfer the whisky into smaller storage containers to ensure it stays fresh for a while.
5. Use A Preserving Spray For Conservation
Preserving sprays comprise of harmless gasses like argon and nitrogen, which creates a shield between oxygen that is normally collected in the upper part of the liquor bottle and the remaining whisky. However, most people use them as wine preservatives; they work well with whisky too. Ensure you follow the instructions on the package when applying the preservative sprays. These sprays are found in many local liquor stores or online stores.
Whisky Stalling Vs. Ageing
Whisky is always ready to drink once bought from the store. If you want to save it for a special occasion, ensure that you properly store it and it will be good to go even after ten years. In comparison to wine, whisky doesn’t age or become more exquisite with time. A 10-year-old whisky will not become 30 years old in 20 years. From a collector’s insight. Whisky holds numerous advantages:
Whisky is not subject to yearly vagaries of bad and good vintages. Good quality whiskies have consistent colour and flavour with no drinking window. They are less vulnerable to seasons and are more robust than wine and other alcoholic beverages.
It’s Ready To Drink
A whisky bottle will give you instant gratification. It does not require years of storage or bottle ageing to taste better. It is a beautiful drink made from the best grains and comes ready to drink. It doesn’t have a maturity process where whisky lovers risk wasting the bottle’s full potential by opening it prematurely.
It Is Produced In Scarcity
Rare whisky, unlike other alcoholic beverages, is produced in limited edition. Only a dozen bottles may be released, making it one of the most expensive drinks in the market.
Gives You Ultimate Pleasure
A whisky bottle comprises many servings that can be enjoyed over numerous evenings for months to come. An opened whisky bottle can stay fresh for six months to one year. It will also be safe for consumption long after that.
Whisky Collecting And Drinking Strategy
We all start with one bottle of whisky, by the time we are through with it, we have already bought three more for variety purposes. Soon you will have numerous precious whisky bottles set aside. You may decide to open some to try them out and know the difference in taste and experience.
There is a strategy among whisky lovers- buy two bottles, open one keep one. Retailers today limit the best whisky collectibles to one bottle per person. The new trend, however, is buying one bottle, drinking it, and then buying a different one. There is a lifetime of exploration when it comes to whisky, buy a different bottle each time to taste the difference.
My Sober Advice
My advice to you is to limit the number of open bottles of whisky in your house. Ensure you only have enough opened whisky that your household can consume before oxidation changes the flavour. There are a few whisky lovers who can’t live by this strategy. Anytime a new release comes out, they can’t resist the urge to buy and try it out. If you are such a person, ensure you can finish the bottles you have opened. If not, call your friends to help you finish the drinks. Don’t just give in to temptation.
My advice for whisky collectors – understand the trends, learn how to get those expensive bottles, equip yourself with information, buy at retail prices, and auction the bottles. For whisky drinkers, never stop sampling to figure out your favourites. Buy good whiskies and don’t follow the crowd. Be smart, and don’t forget the rules of drinking great whisky.