AMERICAIN WHISKEY OR WHISKY
American whiskey and the people of the United States grew up together.
The young whiskey sour and "green", supported the men who conquered the Americas, and continues to control the taste of their descendants.
The Whiskey was originally spelled "Whisky" and it was made on the misty meadows of Scotland, today it is called "whiskey" in the US and Ireland and "Whisky" everywhere else because it is almost made in every country in the world, even though the United States are the largest producers.
American whiskey differs from its European counterparts not only by the taste and aroma but also by nature. It does not vary much from one area to another. While the Scotch is inimitably Scottish, Irish whiskey is a product of Ireland only, but the American whiskeys are classified by type and not by place of origin. Bourbon, rye (rye) and other types of Whisky can be made anywhere in the United States. Providing that they comply with legal standards and they pay taxes.
The Whisky is a grain alcohol.
Any grain is fine, but the US uses mainly corn and rye. Millet, sorghum and barley come after. At first the grain macerates in water to form a paste and is then baked at high pressure and then left to fermentation. What we obtain is a beer and it's called, Indeed, "distiller's beer". We produce "sweet mash whiskey" using selected yeasts to initiate fermentation, "sour mash whiskey" is obtained by using the residual Spent beer (or draft) of the earlier fermentation. Then, beer and draft are introduced at the pump in a huge continuous distillation and rectification apparatus.
According to the US law, the distillation-rectification process temperature should not go beyond 95 celsius degrees. Otherwise, the spirit loses all the grain characteristics and components and becomes a neutral spirit commonly called "silent spirit". Most whiskeys are distilled between 70 or 80 celsius degrees and some at 62.5°C only, which is the case of the best bourbons and ryes. After distillation, the Whiskey is diluted with water and put to aging. Bourbon is aged in oak barrels of which the inside is burnt. The Whiskey is bottled after a second dilution with water which brings the alcohol to 40 or 50 degrees.
Nobody exactly knows where the idea of using burnt-stave barrels comes from. According to a legend, a warehouse fire in the West Indies left some barrels partially burned. For lack of better barrels, we used it again, and the rum aged in these barrels turned out to be so much better that using burned barrels became common for rum and whiskey. Burned wood enhances and softens the alcohol to which it gives body and color.
Whiskey of which the distillation is held 80 Celsius degrees and has aged at least two years in new oak burnt-barrels. The Straight Corn Whiskey can be aged in used and unburned barrels. The Straight Whiskeys found on the market are generally Straight Bourbons or Straight Ryes.
Blend containing at least 20% of Straight Whiskey at 50% and another Whiskey or neutral spirits, or both, and bottled at 40 degrees minimum. It is possible to add a small amount of Xérès as mixing agent (2.5% max.).
TYPES OF WHISKEY
Bourbon WhiskeyVery early in the history of colonial America, a Baptist minister called Elijah Craig installed an alembic in Georgetown and in the township of Bourbon in Kentucky and began producing corn whiskey. Nowadays, more than half of authorized distilleries are located in Kentucky, which remains the largest producer of Bourbon. But according to US regulations, the "Bourbon Whiskey" name applies to any Whiskey providing that it is:
• produced by fermenting grain (at least 51% of corn)
• distilled under 80 celsius degrees
• aged at least two years in new oak burnt-barrels.
If not blended nor diluted this Whiskey is called "Straight Bourbon Whiskey". Otherwise it will be called "Blended Straight Bourbon" when mixed with other bourbons, or "Blended Bourbon" (without mentioning Straight) when mixed with other whiskeys or neutral alcohol.
The Straight Bourbon is mostly dry and soft-bodied whereas Blended Bourbon is lightened by the addition of neutral spirits.
When the crushed corn was weighed and prepared for maceration it is first mixed with filtered water and heated. Then we add other ingredients such as rye and malted barley. The yeast takes 5 days to develop it is added to the dough of grain. Everything is pumped through refrigerators to fermentation tanks held at 21 º C. Fermentation takes a certain time during which we feed yeast with maltose sugar . The part of the product that appears when temperature rises is called "new beer" and we separate it from the rest for distillation. This new beer boils at a lower temperature than alcohol. So we separate the two elements by heating. The new Whiskey passes into a tank where it is diluted with water to reduce its alcohol content. Then, it is poured in barrels for aging in a storage under the control of state. Twice a year we check it and note its characteristics. Before bottling it we compare it to standard samples of the same brand and measure its volume again when paying taxes.
The state of Tennessee does not really produce Bourbon, but one of the largest distilleries in the United States, the Jack Daniel's one, produces a universally known Tennessee Whiskey. The spirit is filtered through maple charcoal before being put in barrels for aging which gives it its particular softness and taste.
Corn WhiskeyWhiskey made by distilling a grain paste composed at least 80% corn. It can be aged or not, in new or used barrels, burned or not. Generally we do not age it, which makes it raw, colorless and slightly subtle.
Rye WhiskeyThe grain used as raw material to this less and less common Whisky, must be composed of at least 51% rye. The distillation should not take place beyond 80 celsius degrees. Aging must be done in new oak burned barrels. We can find Straight Rye and Blended Straight Rye to a lesser extent. Most Rye Whiskies are made in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
The Straight Rye must be free of any mixture and be aged in barrels for two years.
Blended Straight Rye is a mixture of two or more Straight Ryes.
Blended Rye is a blend of Rye Whiskeys with neutral alcohol and sometimes other whiskeys. It is lighter, cheaper and less characteristic.
Rye Whiskey is generally heavier and a little more austere than bourbon. It has some similarities with the Irish whiskeys, even though it is produced in continuous distillation machine and the Irish one is distilled in pot stills.