39 responses

  1. Sean Lind
    January 10, 2013

    Great post, and thanks for the shout out to my post on real men drink whiskey.

    Some more whiskey tidits for you:

    Rye: The only company making Rye from 100% Rye mash is Canada’s Alberta Premium. Now their cheap offerings are trash, but here’s where it gets funny: The #1 rated Rye in the world is WhistlePig “Hand bottled on the Vermont farm of the ex master distiller of Makers Mark”. I must say, it truly is fantastic.

    The funny part is this Rye is actually made by Alberta Premium. It’s their 10-year aged Rye, WhistlePig buys it and just puts it in their own (nicer) bottles. This Rye will knock your socks off, just know that it’s a true Canadian Rye (the only one).

    There is a lot of misunderstanding about water and whiskey. Here are the facts, and why you’re supposed to add water to your whiskey:

    When you get your glass of whiskey you should take a tiny sip of it. If you feel it “buzzing” on your tounge that is the alcohol anesthetizing your tastebuds. If you let this happen completely you will no longer be capable of actually tasting your drink. You instead supposed to add just a capful of water (distilled/spring water, no chlorine obviously) and try again. You should keep adding water just until that buzzing stops. Then you are free to enjoy your entire drink, truly to the last drop.

    Now if you like your drinks cold you can do the same thing with ice. Just have a side dish and a spoon to fetch the ice out once it has sufficiently melted.

    Personally, unless I’m drinking something very special, I like to just leave my ice in. I enjoy the taste of my whiskey watered down, and as any real man will tell you: The perfect drink is however you like your goddamn drink.

    I also have my personal recipe for Whiskey Sours on my realmendrinkwhiskey blog. Check it out.

    -Sean

    • Anthony Galasso
      January 11, 2013

      Thanks a lot, Sean! Such a wealth of great information. I’m no expert. I’d say I’m learning. I’ll have to look more into the water/whiskey thing. Keep in touch.

    • Rebecca
      January 13, 2013

      Very helpful! Particularly the information on watering or icing a drink. Thank you, Sean.

  2. Chris
    January 10, 2013

    Adding water to whisky isn’t for ‘dulling some of the more intense flavour profiles’ — it’s for bringing different flavours out. Particularly with cask strength whiskies, the alcohol can numb your tongue to flavour. In many cases, adding a drop or two of water brings out MORE intense flavour profiles. This is why most professional whisky tasters will taste the whisky neat and with a drop or two of distilled water (or, preferably, spring water from the source that the distillery uses, but this is only in the most professional circles). Adding water to Scotch is considered ‘opening it up’.

  3. Kaarina Dillabough
    January 10, 2013

    I’m not a man…does that disquality me? ;) ;) I’m a single malt gal all the way. I’ll take a laphroaig, lagavulun, oban or…heck, just about any single malt scotch. Cheers! Kaarina

    • Anthony Galasso
      January 11, 2013

      Of course not! We love women, here on of Iron & Oak.

      • Rebecca
        January 13, 2013

        We love you too. That, and a good Irish whiskey.

  4. Chris
    January 10, 2013

    There are two major considerations to what makes an Irish whiskey and a Scotch what they are: Distillations and grain drying.

    Distillation: Irish whiskeys are traditionally triple distilled, and Scotches are typically distilled twice.

    Preparing the grain (in this case Barley for each): Irish barley is prepared by drying over a smokeless heat. Scotch barley is prepared by drying via a smoking process. The use (of lack thereof) of smoke is what gives each of these beverages their distinct flavors.

    You’ll notice these two beverages (Irish whiskeys and Scotches) are prepared in an almost identical fashion, but have distinctly different flavor pallets because of the preparation process.

    Bonus fact: Because American whiskeys require new casks, the Europeans purchase cast-away American casks to distill in richer flavors from the previously alcohol-soaked wooden casks.

    Now you know,
    Chris

  5. KW160
    January 10, 2013

    You are way off on your Scotch definition. A single malt is made from the same “batch”? A single malt is all made at the same *distillery*. Some could be from 3 year old stocks, some could be from 12 year old stocks. It would still be a single malt if it came from the same distillery.

    A blend is just a blend of different “batches”? A blend is from multiple distilleries. Again, batch doesn’t mean anything.

  6. Bilge_Rat
    January 11, 2013

    Knob Creek now has a rye whiskey; it was rolled out nationwide in July. Haven’t tried it yet but it’s definitely on the list!
    Tom

  7. bob
    January 11, 2013

    Bourbon doesnt actually NEED to be from the USA. Recently i took a tour of Woodford Reserves distillery and they went through the guidelines to be bourbon. Its true that the vast majority of it is made in KY but it is not a requirement to be called bourbon, it can in fact be made anywhere.

    • Glynn
      January 14, 2013

      I think you misunderstood what they were telling you. It does not have to be made in Kentucky but it does have to be made in the USA. Out of the other 49 other states eleven have, at some time, made bourbon: Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.

  8. Scene_Red
    January 11, 2013

    Knob Creek = Best Bourbon ever. If you can handle the kick, Bookers (125+ proof) is great as well.

  9. Dylan
    January 12, 2013

    There is more of a difference between Irish and Scotch Whisky than where it is made. The Irish use a closed kiln to stop the germination of their barley, while the Scotch use an open kiln, hence why Scotch has a ‘smokey’ profile, while Irish whisky does not.

  10. Mike
    January 12, 2013

    To me, Jack Daniels tastes absolutely NOTHING like bourbon. I thought it reminded me more of Irish whiskey. I loathe bourbon but I rather enjoyed Jack.

  11. I’m only 21
    January 12, 2013

    but… my can of coors is cold! I felt like cheap beer tonight instead of Jack. It is always cheap beer or whiskey. This is very informative though! I’m really glad stumbleupon brought me here!

  12. Matt
    January 12, 2013

    How about going into the different regions of Scotland when explaining Scotch as this adds a massive difference to taste?

  13. Jack90
    January 12, 2013

    Just to point out, “Scotch” is an americanism and not the name of the greatest drink in existence>
    “whiskey” is american or canadian, while “whisky” is Scottish or irish. Scotch is not a word outside the united states.

    Best regards, A scottish whisky lover

  14. Nathan
    January 12, 2013

    So, any thoughts on bookers small batch bourbon?

    • Anthony Galasso
      January 13, 2013

      Love Bookers. I actually only first had it recently. But it was quite a pleasant experience.

  15. Ernest Salsberry
    January 12, 2013

    Great article! I was converted over from the world of “long necks” a few years back after spending a few weeks in Lexington, KY. After a few “propaganda” bourbon tours, I was convinced of the error in my 12oz ways, and I was sold! I am a solid bourbon advocate now, with Basil Haydens and Buffalo Trace being my preferred choices! Thanks for the great article.

  16. Jfrench
    January 12, 2013

    If you’re getting Johnnie Walker like the article recommends, make sure it’s Black Label or better. Red Label has an attractive price tag, but that’s about all that’s attractive about it. Red just isn’t very good. There’s so much variability amongst scotches as well. For ex., Macallan 12 aged in sherry oak casks tastes much different from the Laphroaig Quarter Cask aged in small oak casks. Not to take away from this great article, I too love all whiskey. It’s just that scotch is a Whsky that a man (or woman) can spend years drinking, and still not have mastered all the varieties

  17. Tom
    January 12, 2013

    Hi, I like your website, a few suggestions though. Firstly, there are at least three other Tennessee whiskies: George Dickel, Collier and McKeel, and Benjamin Prichard’s has one. I have personally only seen George Dickel in the stores. It’s not bad.

    Secondly, when we refer to Single Malts, Blends, and Blended Malts, it counts to be specific. A Single Malt comes from a single distillery, not from a single batch. They usually specify on the bottle if it is from a single batch or from a single cask, even. A Vatted Malt is a term you wouldn’t likely find on the label, but I suspect that most distilleries do indeed vat together various batches to produce a single bottling. These are still Single Malts.

    A blend comes in two forms. Typically, blended scotch is mostly composed of grain “whisky.” which has all the characters of scotch, and pulls together the flavors of the single malts within. The youngest malt in the blend is the age on the bottle. Then there are malt blends, which are composed solely of single malts, but from various distillers.

    You have some great recommendations. Also, Sean made an excellent point about water. When you are tasting it consciously, water goes a long way. At the end of the day, it is all about taste, and how you like to drink.

  18. John Cates
    January 12, 2013

    Great site and blog! Can you help me understand that strange aftertaste I get from some single malts? Someone said it’s the peet? Not sure, I’ve been a single malt guy for a few years now and have found Oban to be my favorite thus far, although I heard that they were shutting down operations this year after what, about 200 years or so, anyone heard that rumor? It’s sad id they are, I’ll need to stock up! Thanks again.

    • Jess
      January 14, 2013

      Yep, that smokey flavor you’re tasting is from the peat fires used to dry malted barley in some distilleries.

  19. Des Riordan
    January 12, 2013

    A very interesting website. Let me just reinforce the idea that whisky always refers to the spirit made in Scotland, and whiskey may be applied to similar drinks made elsewhere.
    For my money, and that of many master distillers at the various Scottish distilleries that I have visited, a good whisky should always be diluted according to its strength. So, a spirit that is 40% alcohol should have its volume increased by an additional 40% with water. The water should be at room temperature, although there are some who would suggest that the water should be slightly warm.
    I say that this should be applied to ‘good’ whiskies, but I have also found that this is a useful tool in discovering which of the blended whiskies actually suits your taste. For instance, I had always dismissed Teachers whisky as being a little cheap and cheerful, but a little dilution revealed some very appealing peaty characteristics. Perhaps the best bit of advice on the website is to dilute the whisky until you tongue stops ‘buzzing’ – a very pithy way of expressing it! Don’t be fooled that real men (or women) drink their whisky straight, real connoisseurs will take the time to discover the king of spirits in a manner that best suits their personal taste.

  20. denise
    January 12, 2013

    you know naaaaathing about whiskey where are the scottish malts?

  21. Mat
    January 12, 2013

    Whiskey / whisky is spelled with an ‘e’ only if the country it is made in has an ‘e’ in it’s name. Hence, whisky from Scotland and whiskey from Ireland

  22. lou
    January 12, 2013

    What’s up with the Canada hate in this?

  23. Truoiolo
    January 12, 2013

    Single malt on the rocks is a sin!!!!

  24. Merete
    January 12, 2013

    My personal favorites are Jack Daniel’s, Johnny Walker and a scotch whisky called Isle of Jura. There are 7(i think) to choose from, but the best Isle of Jura in my.opinion, is The Prophecy. A bit pricey, but worth it! And it’s 46% alcohol. Greetings from a Norwegian woman :-)

  25. WhiskEy
    January 13, 2013

    Great page…Always love reading about whiskey.

    Just a little more on the name whiskey/whisky itself. Coming from Celtic roots absolutely. In Irish (in Ireland we call it Irish whereas other countries mostly know the language as Gaelic) what we call whiskey is “uisce beatha”. This actually means water of life when the words are translated directly into English believe or not! Phonetically, uisce beatha goes something like “isshhka bahha”! We spell things daft in Irish! Throughout the years obviously with the copying of some Irish words, the uisce part of uisce beatha was changed a little in sound and a little more in spelling to become whiskey today. However Irish whiskey, spelled in English, still holds that link to its Irish language translation in that we keep the e in our whiskEy, as opposed our neighbors who don’t, spelling whisky without the e!

    That 12 year sherry cask jameson in the picture by the way is a tasty little drop too, for a reasonable price most places!

    Keep enjoying the whiskey/whisky!

  26. L. Rowan McKnight
    January 13, 2013

    Whiskey (or whisky) loving lady here!

    I am a bad-spelling-hater, though. It’s “whiskies,” not “whisky’s.” The apostrophe makes it possesive.

    Nit-picking done. Great article!

    • Anthony Galasso
      January 14, 2013

      Great find! Thanks for helping edit! Haha.

  27. Willy Hernandez
    January 14, 2013

    What a great post for those that are starting to indulge in the in the fine points of alcohol (aka me the 23 year old sitting in finance class wanting a drink). Thanks for the detailed information, it will surely come to use. Besides the Manhattan and Jack & Coke, are there any other mixed drinks you’d recommend?

  28. Bill
    January 14, 2013

    Many of the famous whiskey-lovers you list are what we would today call “high-functioning alcoholics”.

    Is it “manly” to try to “class up” by doing something just because “tons of manly men” of history have done it? I’m sure we can all name some extremely distasteful things which people did in the past that were considered common at the time. We don’t try to glamorize their womanizing, racism, bank robbing, or murder. Why do we still try to glamorize their alcoholism? Are you going to promote all of the other drugs that were consumed by history’s “manly men”?

    I’m not against drinking a little whiskey on a Friday night if you enjoy it, but you seem to be advocating that “every man” should drink it, and for all the wrong reasons.

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