First, we'll deal with how it is spelled (or spelt if you prefer). For the layman, whisky and whiskey refer to the same alcoholic beverage made from distilled grain and aged in wood. In some circles whisky refers to the drink from anywhere in the world. Whiskey (with an "e") is typically from Ireland or the United States. The name itself is derived from the Gaelic term uisce beatha meaning "water of life".
There are a variety of ways to make whisky. Essentially you need water, yeast and malted barley. You can add corn, wheat, oats or rye to make the finished whisky. Depending on the country of origin, percentage of grain and whether the whisky comes from a single distillery will change what the finished product is called.
Types of Whisky
The average person is aware of single malt versus blended whisky. These are the most common types. This refers to whether the grain all comes from a single distillery or blended from several single malts. In addition, some blended whiskies add wheat or corn for additional flavor. One should note, there are several types of "single": single-grain - only one grain, but made at same distillery; single-batch - only one barrel unadulterated with other whisky.
Blended malts (or vatted malts) take different barrels of whisky from the same distillery. Blended grain is analogous to a blended malt - two or more single grains from the same distillery are combined. Blended (with no additional qualifier) means a mix of malt and grain potentially from different distilleries.
What are common whisky brands?
There are some well-known whisky brands which belong to global liquor companies and there are micro-distilleries only familiar to the most dogged whisky hounds. Without qualifying country of origin or other parameters, the top brands will be blended whiskies. This is because nearly 90% of all whisky sold in the world is blended scotch whisky.
The 10 most commonly sold whiskies (compiled by vinepair.com) are the following:
- Johnnie Walker
- Chivas Regal
- William Lawson's
- William Peel
- Label 5
At Paneco.com, we stock some of the above alongside other brands including Japanese whiskies Nikka and Yamazaki and American whiskies like Jack Daniel's Black and Jim Beam.
Some might argue that the best whisky is the one you're currently drinking. How you drink your scotch, on the rocks, with a splash of water, neat or with a splash of something else will inform what is "best" for the right occasion. If you're in Singapore and looking to shop for whisky online, there is no better place to find a wide assortment of whisky and other spirits delivered to your doorstep with no hidden fees. We provide top-shelf alcohol straight to your house, with minimal hassle and absolutely nothing coming between you and the brands you love.