Differences Between Major Whisky Producing Countries
When people think of whisky, they think of Scotland. However, world-class whisky is produced in a number of different countries, and to include the entire industry, we need to take a global view.
Here at Heritage Lounge, Parramatta whisky bar, we stock the best whiskies from around the world, carefully sourcing the highest class and quality to offer a memorable experience for our patrons.
In this article, we touch on the differences between whiskies from Japan, America, and Ireland.
Major producers in Japan include Nikka and Suntory. Japan entered the scene over 100 years ago following the First World War with the opening of a now award-winning distillery near Kyoto.
Typically, Japanese whisky is distilled following methods first developed in Scotland, and using ingredients that, for the most part, are imported from Scotland. It is usually double distilled using malted or peated barley, prior to ageing in wooden barrels.
The end result is often dry, smoky, and less sweet than some foreign alternatives. Occasionally the casks are made from the wood of the mizunara tree, a unique Japanese tree which offers a unique flavour. Many have made comment on the pure mountain water, which is sometimes from springs and sometimes from snow.
Bourbon is a dominant force in the distillation world of America. Bourbon requires over 51% corn in its mash, and new, charred-oak barrels must be used. Bourbon is technically a type of whiskey, though some whisky purists of the Scottish tradition may shake their heads. A lot of the world’s bourbon comes from Kentucky, USA.
Bourbon whiskey, also sometimes called Tennessee whiskey or Kentucky whiskey, is typically sweeter due to the use of corn. Flavour profiles may include vanilla, oak, spice and caramel. Some find that its sweetness makes it an ideal mixer, and a great ingredient to use as part of food preparation, for example, a bourbon glaze.
Ireland is well known for its Guinness and Baileys, but within the right crowd it is also respected for its Irish whiskey, which is distinctive for its smoothness, texture and subtlety. To classify as an Irish whiskey, it is simply required that the whiskey be distilled in Ireland, but certain patterns and differences do emerge.
Whiskey in Ireland may be distilled from a mass of malted cereals and may be loosely broken down into a number of categories, including single malt, single pot still, single grain and blended. It may be aged in old American bourbon barrels which in turn lend their sweetness to the Irish dram. The Irish whiskey may be distilled thrice, which can result in a lightness of flavour and a smooth mouthfeel.
Less importantly, Irish whiskey is spelt with the ‘e’ and Scottish whisky without the ‘e’. We care more about the experience than the spelling!
Looking to experience the diverse whiskies of the world in your own city? Cocktail bar, pub Parramatta, Parramatta bar, and icon of the Sydney nightlight, Heritage Lounge, has a wide range of whisky (or should we say whiskey) from around the world waiting for you.