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What’s The Difference Between Irish Whiskey & Bourbon?

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Scotch, Rye, Irish, Bourbon…With so many options available in whiskeys or whiskies all around the world, it is common to get confused with the varieties. With this article, let’s simplify it for you with an overview of the differences between Bourbon & Irish Whiskey.

Not only do bourbon & Irish whiskey differ in taste, ingredients, production methods, but they also differ in terms of geographical locations where they are produced. For the starters, it’s but safe to say that both are types of whiskeys (or whiskies). While Bourbon is made in America, Irish whiskey as the name suggests is made in Ireland. So, let’s delve a little further to get a better understanding.

Bourbon

Primarily made in Kentucky, it is only produced in America by law. As commonly said and understood, ‘all bourbon is whisky but not all whiskey is bourbon’.

95% of the world’s bourbon is produced in Kentucky, but the law doesn’t restrict its production in other parts of America.

In 1964 the Congress passed a concurrent resolution which declared bourbon as the ‘distinct product of the United States of America’.

To be legally called bourbon, this burnt golden American native has to fulfil the following criterion, namely-

1) Its mash should have at least 51% corn, the remaining proportion consists of other grains such as barley, rye or wheat. While some bourbons use more corns in during fermentation which makes it taste sweeter, others use rye for spice or wheat.

2) It should be aged in new charred oak barrels. The charring process helps Bourbon get its distinct flavour and the golden colour. There are no particular age criteria for bourbon, however, it is aged for a minimum of two years, and the best bourbons come out after four years, though they can be aged for longer.

3) It should be distilled to a maximum of 80% ABV and a minimum of 40% ABV.

4) It should be entered into the barrel for ageing at no more than 125 proof.

Bourbon is distilled in column stills and its flavour changes drastically over the years. During the maturation the right humidity & temperature allow the whiskey to penetrate deeper into the charred oak. It must be matured at least for a minimum of two years in the oak barrels.

Based on the different production processes, there are different types of Bourbons, and each has its own distinctive taste & character.

Irish Whiskey

It is interesting to know that the word ‘whiskey’ has Irish roots. It is derived from the Irish or Gaelic word ‘uisce beatha, which means the ‘water of life’.

Produced in Ireland, Irish whiskey is protected by law to be produced, labelled and marketing to be verified by the Irish revenue authorities. The main ingredient in Irish whiskey is barley malted & unmalted, it is made in the pot still phase, and similar to bourbon it is aged in oak casks.

The law requires Irish whiskey to adhere to the following specifications-

1) It should be distilled in the islands of Ireland from the mash of malted cereals with or without whole grains of other cereals.

2) Only yeast should be used in the fermentation process.

3) The minimum alcohol volume content must be 40% and it must be distilled at an alcoholic strength of less than 94.8%

4) The distillate must mature in wooden casks for a minimum of 3 years & its quantity must not exceed 700 litres in capacity.

5) The alcohol beverages must not be labelled, packaged, sold, advertised or promoted in such a way to suggest they are Irish whiskey or any of the sub-varieties unless they meet the relevant requirements.

To conclude, it all begins with the spelling, whiskey or whisky depends on the country where it is produced. The Americans and Irish prefer an extra ‘e’ in whiskey, whereas, the rest of the world prefers to call it ‘whisky’. So here’s hoping that with the above-mentioned overview, you’re better able to know your whisky!

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Classification Of Wines

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If you’re new to the wonderful world of wines, you may often find yourself wondering, ‘how to differentiate between the types of wines’? One quick run down the alcobev shop is enough to leave any newbie confused especially since there are numerous choices of wines to pick from.

It is important to have your groundwork figured out in order to avoid being in a fix.

And, this article intends to do just that as we bring you a brief overview that helps you to understand the classification of wines.

Read on to find out more…

Wines are commonly classified on the following basis –

Place of Origin or Appellation

‘Appellation’ of wine is defined as the legally marked geographic location where a particular wine originates, or from where the raw materials are sourced as the basis of differentiating characteristics. This system of classification aims at protecting the unique character & quality of the wine.
Commonest examples for wine appellation are ‘champagne’ and ‘Chianti’. The strict European regulations require only the wine made from the grapes produced in the Champagne region of France can be labelled as ‘champagne’. Similarly, Chianti is any wine produced in the Chianti region of central Tuscany in Italy.

Vinification Method & Style

Vinification of wine refers to the winemaking process which includes the selection of grapes, the fermentation process leading to alcohol, and bottling of wine.

Based on the wine-making method, wines are classified into the following categories, namely –

Table Wines;

Sparkling Wines & Champagne;

Semi-Sparkling or Still Wines;

Fortified Wines & Dessert Wines.

The process of vinification for still wines differs from that of effervescent sparkling wines which have carbon dioxide naturally produced during fermentation. Table wines or natural wines are consumed with food; sparkling wines & champagne are consumed mostly during celebrations and, fortified wines or dessert wines are consumed after the meal. These are also used for cooking purposes.

Taste (Sweetness)

The taste defines the character of wine which can range from sweet to dry and bitter. The level of sweetness in wine is attributed to the factors which control sweetness, such as acidity, tannin, alcohol levels, carbon dioxide, etc.

Tannins are found in the grape skins. They are natural polyphenols, which add to the bitterness, astringency and complexity in wines.

An increased level of alcohol can the sweetness in the wine, whereas, high acidity levels can make wine taste dry. Red wines have tannin which makes them less sweet as compared to white wines which have high acidity.

Vintage or Variety

When it comes to the classification of wines, vintage refers to the wines are made from the grapes grown & harvested during a specific single year.

Variety classification refers to the variety of grapes grown and used in the winemaking process such as Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc. Varietal wines are made using a dominant grape variety. For a wine to be labelled so, it must have a minimum of 75% of the dominant grape variety used in vinification.

With the above-mentioned information, we hope that this article has helped you to establish the correct basics.

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The Types Of Rums

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No matter whatever the reason, rum is for all seasons, wouldn’t you agree? It is perhaps one of the most well-liked alcohols around the world. The history of rum dates far back to the colonial era when it was considered to be a trade necessity.

In today’s times, it is preferred not only as a stand-alone drink but, as an ingredient in cocktails too! So let us briefly brush up the ‘grammar’ of rum. As common knowledge goes, rum is a fermented & distilled alcoholic drink made from sugarcane & its by-products such as molasses, sugarcane juice, sugarcane syrup etc., and then aged in wooden or stainless steel casks.

Rums are generally categorized by colour, the process of distillation, and the period of ageing based on regional variations such as varying rules & laws of the rum-producing countries.

While the colour of rum is determined by the ageing process, the taste and aroma depend upon the yeast, which is added during the process of fermentation. The longer the rum is left to age, the darker it is. However, it also depends upon the molasses which are used in the rum-making process. Dark rums are commonly preferred for consuming neat or straight up, and the lighter rums are mostly used in cocktails.

So, let’s quickly take you through a short list of the types of rums –

Dark Rum

Most dark rums are made from caramelized sugar or molasses and go through the process of double distillation. The third distillation leads to a darker, full-bodied black rum with rich and intense flavours. Rum is left in the casks to age for longer which gives a bolder and dense flavour in comparison to gold or light rums and are commonly used in cooking.

Gold Rum

Gold rums are medium-bodied, they have a smoother taste in comparison with dark rums and a stronger richer taste than white or light rums.

White Rum

White rums are also called ‘light’ or ‘silver’ rums and age for a much lesser duration in comparison with gold or dark rums. White rum is left to age in stainless steel casks and often filtered during the process to reduce the colour. Light rums have a slightly sweeter and milder taste which makes them the preferred choice in cocktails.

 Spiced Rum

Spiced rums are golden or darker in colour and made from molasses or sugarcane syrup. Once the clear spirit is left to age in oak barrels and a certain golden tint attained, the rum is then infused with herbs and spices. These spices include rosemary, anise, black pepper, cinnamon etc. Added herbs and spices give a unique flavour to the rum.

Fruit-Flavoured Rum

This rum is a unique blend of rum infused with fruit flavours such as pineapple, banana, mango, etc., which amplifies the sweetness of rum and, gives it a distinct and complex flavour. Much like spiced rum, this infusion of fruit flavours occurs after the process of fermentation and distillation. These types of rums are a popular choice as a cocktail ingredient.

Premium Rums

These are left to age in oak barrels for a long duration which gives a very rich character and flavour. Premium rums are mostly produced and sold by boutique brands.

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