What is malting? What's the importance of blending? Not sure about what ABV means? Ask away and we shall answer in a jiffy.

Whisky is made from grains like barley and wheat. These grains are fermented and distilled with help of special apparatus and the end product of the distillation is then accumulated, preserved, aged, bottled and served.
There are many terms which are related to whiskey and here are few of my favorite
Angel’s Share- The Whisky that is lost due to evaporation.
Brewing- The process of mixing grains, sugar, yeast and other ingredients at the starting age of the whiskey to Hot water.
Charring- Th burning of the oaks barre;s from inside so that they don't absorb the liquid and helps filter it.
Congeners- the substance produces during the fermentation of the grains which characterizes the taste of the product.
Malt- Processed  crushed grains mixed with water


Whiskey will always remain the drink of 'wise men, ' and wise men always know their drinks - whether how’s it made, how long it's aged, or how it’s had.

Most commonly used term amongst whiskey drinkers is Single Malt. Malt is usually made of barley in Scotland and hence known as Scotch. So, there’s a misconception that Single Malt means the product of a single grain. However, Single Malt denotes that only a single distillery was involved in its making.

Also, there’s one more myth that Single Malt is not Blended and is a product of a single batch or barrel of whiskey. That is not true. The most famous single malts today available in the market, as you'll see, are blended, in the sense that they're a mixture of whiskeys.


Alligator – Refers to the cracked texture on the inside of the barrel that is left by the charring process
 Bonded – By law, whiskey must be stored for 3 years under the control of Customs and Excise, before it can legally be called Scotch. In practice, whisky is usually stored for much longer than this
Cask Strength - Whiskey taken straight from the cask and bottled at the same strength without being diluted with water.
Charring – Charring the inside of the barrel darkens the wood and caramelizes some of the sugars in the Oak; this then affects both the colour and flavour of the whisky
Distillery Bottling - A whisky which is bottled by the distillery which produced it.
Dram - a term commonly used to describe a small drink of whisky. Dram as a unit is actually the equivalent of 1 tsp or 5ml. Most people pour ‘drams’ considerably bigger than this!
Fore shot – (Also known as the heads).The first spirit collected after the second distilling. The fore shots are too strong at about 80% abv to be turned into whisky
Independent Bottling - An independent bottling is a whisky that has been bottled by someone other than the distillery that produced it. Independent bottlers often wait until they think a particular cask has reached perfection and then bottle it as a single cask bottling. It will have the characteristics and signature flavours of the distillery but will be unique to those few bottles.
Marriage – The blending of 2 casks from the same distillery.  
Middle cut – The ideal middle portion of spirit collected as a result of the distillation process
Peated whisky – whisky which has been made using barley dried in a peat fired kiln. It typically has a smoky flavour. 
Wash – A type of crude beer produced during the fermentation process, which is then distilled to make whisky
Wort – a sugary liquid produced during the mashing process which is subsequently fermented to produce a "beer" which is then distilled.

If you have decided to walk towards the bar and order yourself a drink of whisky, you’re definitely going to need a little help with the common whisky terminology out there. Yes, whisky terminology, that’s actually a thing (this will make the bartender take you seriously or at least impress a few onlookers around!)


Besides the term for different whisky types out there like single malt, single barrel, blended, grain and straight, there is also a classification by geography, like Scotch whisky (single malt and single grain), Irish whisky, American whisky (rye, bourbon and Tennessee), and many more.


When it comes to ordering your poison, there are four ways you can have it.



Definitely the best and most popular way to relish your whiskey. Having your whiskey neat means strictly whisky served in your glass with no mixers.


On The Rocks:

Some prefer their whisky with a few ice-cubes. The rocks here mean the ice-cubes over which the bartender will serve you your whisky in a glass.


In case you like your whisky with another drink served on the side, you go for this. So if you like water with whisky, you say, water back.



This one’s easy. Since most bar menu list the ingredients under the cocktail’s name, it wouldn’t be hard for you to decide which one you want. Pick one and say it out loud, with a ‘please’ of course.


Good luck!

A Scotch is a drink, and a Scot is a person from Scotland, the land of Scotch. The word whisky is a derivation from usque beatha/usquebaugh which translates to the water of life. The majority of whisky available till the 1970s was blended meaning a mix of different whiskies produced using grains. Single malts, from Scotland, on the other hand, came from malted barley. There is also a great amount of confusion regarding Blended Malt whisky, which basically is a blend of Single malts from different distilleries.


Whisky gets its colour from the cask it is stored in, and after being stored for three years and a day, the liquid is officially whisky. The flavor of the whisky comes from the wood, and no two casks produce the same whisky. You commonly buy bottles that read aged for 8 years, 12 years and 18 and so on. The more aged the whisky, the better the taste and you can easily determine the strength of your liquid by swirling it in the glass. The longer it sticks to the edges, the more aged it is.

  1. Whisky: The name translates to "water of life," - which in Scottish and Irish Gaelic is "uisge beatha" or "usquebaugh"

2.    Scotch: when someone says scotch, what they mean is whisky that is distilled and matured in Scotland. Whiskies are made in other countries as well, notably Ireland and Japan; whiskies they may be, and good ones even, but Scotch they are not!  Scotch comes from Scotland. Period.

3.    Malt Whisky: This indicates that the raw material is barley malt, by itself fermented with yeast and distilled in a pot still. This produces a far superior whisky to the common grain whisky found in blends.

Before it begins to look like a classroom session, I just want to say that I love whiskey, even
more than Rum in winters and that means a lot.
Common Whisky jargon or terminology starts right with the spelling where its spelled Whisky
and Whisky and for a good reason. Ireland and the USA spell it whiskey while Canada and
the originator of all scotch good, Scotland spell it whisky. The reason: Irish and US whisky
distillers wanted to distinguish themselves.
Important things to know are
Malted barley or sprouted and roasted grain used in the fermentation of Scotch and other
Single malts.
Single Malts: Not a produce of grain mash from a single barrel but from a single distillery.
Even Whisky from different barrels in the same batch is mixed to bring in uniformity.
Barrels or casks: Oak Casks are used as New, Used, Charred or uncharred, and these
properties from the casks give the real colour and flavour to the whisky you drink.

When it comes to having whiskey, most people would straightaway say, ‘Single Malts’ are their favourite. Odd, then that everyone says this when Single Malts are not the cheapest liquors around. 
As a rule, and every whisky connoisseur or even dilettante would tell you to start with blended scotch. The reason is that Single Malt ‘Scotch’ is famous for that ‘Sting’ at the back of the throat when you swallow them. 
Technically, a single malt is distilled in a ‘single distillery, ’ and that’s why they are called single malts. Single malts are now distilled throughout the world, and the difference between one variety and the other could be because of the ‘Grain’ used, geography, ‘Peat’ but most importantly the ‘Aging’ in ‘Casks’ or ‘Barrels which gives the whisky its real flavour and colour.
The aging process is important as it makes the whisky what it really is. Warmer climates, such as those in Kentucky or Tennessee need less aging times whereas the cool climate in Scotland or Ireland takes more.
Aging is done in Oak wood casks, and the casks could be new or used, ‘charred’ or ‘uncharred.' The charred casks give whisky its trademark smoky flavour after ‘peating’ of the grain. The ‘woody’ flavour and aroma of whisky also comes from these casks itself.

If you are a whisky aficionado, then you should know the meaning of Scotch, the difference

between Malt Whisky and Grain whisky and should be able to distinguish between Single

Malt, Vatted Malt, Blended Scotch, the age of the Whisky, the meaning of proof, or ‘on the

rocks’, etc. In case you don’t know and are willing to become a smart whiskey drinker, here

are some common whiskey terms decoded for you.

1. Beer: In case you didn’t know, whiskey is actually made from beer! Yes, the beer that

everyone is so crazy about. In reality, beer is only a stage of whiskey making and becomes

more awesome when turned into whiskey. A lot of beer lovers would disagree here though!

2. Chill filtration: The cloudy look that a whiskey gets when it is left to get cold. This is due the

fact that its fatty acids begin to decongeal as a result of which, the whiskey starts looking

cloudy. A lot of makers, however, filter it even at the cost of diminishing the flavor of the spirit.

3. Dram: This refers to a shot of the whiskey that you are not supposed to shoot.

4. Made By: Just so you know, the ‘made by’ on the bottle does not indicate the distillery

where the whiskey was distilled. Interesting, right?

It doesn’t matter if you are a novice or a whisky wizard, when it comes to

appreciating whisky as a whole, it is the understanding of these words that matter

the most.

Let’s start!

 Alcohol by volume or ABV:

It is the proportion of alcohol as a percentage of the total volume. The higher

it is, the stronger the whisky will be!

 Cask

Refers to the barrel in which the whisky was aged, usually made of oak.

 Complex

This means that the whisky has many layers and elements.

 Legs

Legs refer to the way a whisky acts when swirled in a glass.

 Malt whisky

The one made from fermented mash produced almost exclusively from

malted barley grain.

 Grain whisky

The one made by using at least one type of grain other than malted barley.

Mostly used are corn, wheat or rye, etc.

 Mouthfeel

The way a whisky feels in your mouth is all this word means!

 Peat

It is the fuel over which malted barley is dried.

 Single malt whisky

A whisky made from one batch of grain mush and produced in a single

distillery. Often mixed with other whisky casks to achieve suitable flavor.

 Single Cask / single barrel whisky

Made only from the single processed grain mush. No other previously

produced whiskies are mixed with it.


 Blended whiskies

Made by mixing several types of malt, grain and other additives that impact

the flavor of the drink.

Here is some whisky trivia which you might have never known before reading this article, so thank

reading your reading habits and learn these terms because you can use them to show off everytime

you are with your pack.

Whisky Chill

When you store whisky at cold temperatures, the whisky gets cloudy as the fatty acids coagulate.

Many makers filter these often compromising the taste and quality of the whisky itself.



In Scotland or Ireland, the standard age for the ageing of whisky is 3 years, after which the distill is

officially called whisky. Whisky is aged in casks that can be new, used, charred, uncharred or maple

lined and the real flavour of whisky comes from the purification in these wooden barrels.


Sprouted grain is used for fermentation because the grain otherwise is not fermentable. Before putting

it in for fermentation, the sprouted grain is toasted so that it does not grow into a plant. Malting makes

nice sweet whisky which is some of the most expensive in the world.


When sprouted grain (mostly barley) is toasted over a peat fire to make malt, it absorbs the smoke,

giving the final whisky a smoky taste or making it peaty. The Scots literally did this because they had

nothing else to burn and not because they were trying to make a better whisky.

You would be surprised by your whisky especially when you are drinking it in the way it

was meant to be drunk. While the old school connoisseurs would suggest only one way to

have your whisky – On the rocks, the new age whisky scientists would argue that adding

water to whisky gives it enough space to break into its multiple flavours.

All of that aside, let’s breakdown some common terms for you in layman so that some of

the commonly used terms never confuse you, for example using the two words – Scotch

and Scot interchangeably is a sin.


Scotch is whisky, and A Scot or Scots are people who belong to Scotland, some of whom

make whisky.

Scotch could be single malt, which is distilled using malted barley or it could be blended

scotch. The difference between both is that from the beginning to end, a Single malt is made

in a single distillery. This is why it is called Single malt. Blended Scotch, on the other hand,

mixes different scotches together to generally enhance the flavor.

Among the grain used, Barley is the more commonly used one in Scotland whereas rye is

used in North America mixed with others such as corn and wheat. Tennessee and Kentucky

use corn as the major ingredient in their whisky, and the difference comes in the filtration

process. Tennessee uses A sugar maple filter whereas Kentucky uses a freshly charred oak

for filtration making it bourbon.

The ageing (storage in the cask) is a deciding factor in the taste, and the more aged a

whiskey is, the better tasting and strong in character it is.

Whisky is a kind of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash.

Different varieties of grains are used for a particular type of whiskey including barley,

malted, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn. Whisky is typically aged in wooden casks.

There are many kinds of Scottish whiskeys like Campbeltown single malts, Highland

single malts, Islay single malts and much more. Malt Whisky ranks among the best

whiskeys and is predominantly produced in Scotland, and Grain whiskey is whisky that

is not made from malted barley, mainly from Scotland and Ireland. While grain whiskey

can be distilled higher than malt whiskey in column stills, it contains fewer flavors

Here are some common whisky terms:

Whiskey bottled at the proof at which it came out of the barrel. More expensive, ounce for ounce, but if you're willing to add your own water, you're getting more whiskey for the price.
A different version of the same old whiskey. Distillers: "If we monkey with the proof/age/cooperage/whatever, we can give it a new name and get extra shelf space in the liquor store."
"Made by" or "bottled by" is not the same as "distilled by." Just so you know.
Grain that's sprouted and then toasted to prevent it from growing into a plant. Malt makes a nice sweet whiskey, but it's expensive.
Barrels are slightly porous, and the congeners in whiskey slowly react with the air that gets in. The spiky higher alcohols burn off; the compounds responsible for those raw grainy notes slowly break down into ones that suggest pecan pie, baked pears, and whatnot.
6. "WHISK(E)Y"
According to convention, in America and Ireland it's whiskey and in Scotland, Canada, and Japan it's whisky. This is modern fussiness: Old Forester, the first bourbon sold in sealed bottles, has always called itself whisky, while a century ago the commission convened by the British government to define the spirit called itself the "Royal Commission on Whiskey and Other Potable Spirits." In other words, don't worry about it.