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Archive for the 'Whiskey' Category

Do Spirits Need Their Own Glassware, Like Wine Does?

Thursday, January 27th, 2011 at 1:10:05 PM
by Marshall T., Wine Enthusiast Companies

There are a number of variables that factor into the enjoyment of wine and spirits which may be different for each individual. For some it may be associated with a favorite meal, for others it may have more to do with the company in which it is being consumed. Regardless of when or where you choose to enjoy your favorite libation, using the proper stemware made specifically for that style can truly enhance the experience.Ridel VinumSingle Malt Scotch Glass

Most members of the wine community are aware of all the different varietal glasses (Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, etc) and how the shapes and sizes bring about the aromas and flavors specific to those wines. What you may not realize is the same dynamic goes for spirits and their glassware. Let’s take Whiskey for example look at the standard Single Malt Scotch Glass.

First and foremost, the glass should have a tulip shape. The purpose of this is to concentrate all the aromas towards the top of the glass, whereas in a tumbler they settle more in the middle or even towards the bottom. In fact, some Whiskey aficionados will argue that a brandy snifter should be used to intensify this effect, however if your sense of smell is a bit sensitive this may not be the best idea.

Just like wine, the aromas and color will offer much insight to the whiskey’s quality and style. So the shape and clarity of the glass both play pivotal roles in exhibiting the spirit in its truest form. The glass should also allow the spirit to reach all parts of the tongue so that you can distinguish between the different aspects as well as appreciate the mouthfeel, or weight, of the whiskey.Glencairn Whiskey

The bottom line is this… all spirits have their own specific glassware for a reason. Otherwise we could all drink every beverage from a plain old water glass! So if you are looking to intensify your tasting experience the next time you indulge, sip your favorite drink from its proper glassware. It just may open your senses as to why true connoisseurs are such a proponent of this practice.

The Basics of Whisk(e)y

Monday, June 8th, 2009 at 4:00:20 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Glencairn Whiskey Glass Scotch, Whiskey and Bourbon are all grain-based spirits that can be as complex as they are rewarding and fun to learn about. Each has its own unique style but sometimes these dark potent potables are easily mistaken for one another.

Whiskey is any spirit made from distilled grain, usually barley , wheat or rye. No matter the Whiskey type, all must go through a similar process of soaking (or malting) the grain in water, fermentation, and multiple distillation to bring the spirit to a high alcohol level. From there it is often aged in oak barrels. The process sounds basic, but there is a wealth of complex decisions that the distillery makes along the way, to yield a Whiskey of a certain character.

Scotch whisky (note the lack of ‘e’) must be from Scotland and has its own set of rules for production, as laid out in the Scotch Whisky Act of 1988. It is made from a grain (malted barley, wheat or corn), yeast and water. When Scotch is made from 1 distillery it is called a single malt otherwise it is a blended Scotch. Scotch blending is an art and some blended Scotches are regarded as highly as the finest single malts. Scotch is usually aged in barrels that were previously used in the production of Sherry or Bourbon and must be in barrel for 3+ years. Common flavors found in Scotch include vanilla, cereal, toffee and tangerine. Another distinct one is peat, which is a sharp, smoky aroma. Peat is semi-carbonized vegetation that is burnt in the process to give that special smell.

Irish Whiskey is different than Scotch Whisky in that it has to be triple-distilled and some unmalted barley is added in the process. This creates more fruity aromas in the Whiskey like peach and apricot.

Bourbon is a type of Whiskey that must be made from at least 51% corn. The other grains used are typically rye, wheat and malted barley. It must be aged in charred barrels for at least two years. All Bourbon is made in the U.S, primarily from Kentucky (Bourbon, Kentucky is where its name comes from). Because of the presence of corn in the process, Bourbon yields sweeter aromatics of coconut, honey, apricot and butter. Rye has the same regulations as Bourbon, only it uses 51% rye instead of corn.

Our complete selection of Whiskey glasses is available here.