Irish whiskeys are generally distilled three times and must be aged in wooden casks
for a period of not less than three years. Unpeated malt is almost always used, the
main exception being Connemara Peated Malt whiskey.
There are several types of whiskey common to Ireland: Single Malt, Single Grain,
Pure Pot Still and Blended Whiskey. Pure pot still whiskey refers to Irish whiskey
made from a combination of malted and unmalted barley and distilled in a pot still.
Canadian whiskies have the regulatory requirement of being aged for at least three
years in a barrel. Most Canadian whiskies are blended multi-grain whiskies and are
usually lighter and smoother than other whiskey styles. These are also called "ryewhisky" in Canada, though the American definition of "Rye Whiskey" prevents them
from being so labelled in the USA.
American whiskeys include both straights and blends. To be called "straight" the
whiskey must be one of the "named types" listed in the federal regulations and aged
in oak casks for at least two years. The most common of the "named types" are:
Bourbon, which must be at least 51% corn (maize).
Rye, which must be at least 51% rye.
Corn, which is made from a mash made up of at least 80% corn (maize). The whiskey
is distilled to not more than 80 percent alcohol by volume. It does not have to be
aged but, if it is aged, it must be in new uncharred oak barrels or used barrels.
Ageing usually is brief, i.e., six months. During ageing the whiskey picks up colour
and flavour and its harshness is reduced.
All straight American whiskeys except straight corn whiskey must be aged in new casks
that have been charred on their inside surface. American blended whiskeys combine
straight whiskey with un-aged whiskey, grain neutral spirits, flavourings and colourings.
These definitions are part of U.S. law. Not defined by the law but important in the
marketplace is Tennessee whiskey,of which Jack Daniel’s, is the leading example.
During distillation, it is identical to bourbon in almost every important respect.
The most recognizable difference is that Tennessee whiskey is filtered through sugar
maple charcoal giving it a unique flavour and aroma.
In 2000, Penderyn Distillery started production of the Penderyn single malt Welsh
whisky in Wales. The first bottles went on sale on 1 March 2004, Saint David’s Day.
It is now sold throughout the world.