7 Different Types of Whiskey: Scotch, Irish, Rye Whiskey

What is whiskey?

Whiskey is a spirit distilled from grain by the pot-still or patent-still method. The grain used may be barley, maize, rye, wheat, or a mixture of grain in varying proportions, according to the regulations that monitor the grain and its proportion and various process in whiskey-making.

The mixture may contain malted grain, unmalted grain, or both. The distilled drink is then aged in wooden barrels, especially those made of oak. The wood aging smoothes the harshness of the raw spirit and contributes flavor and color to the spirit.

What are the types of whiskey?

These are the different whiskey types that are generally available:

1. Scotch Whiskey

scotch whiskey bottle

Scotch whiskey is regarded as the world’s finest whiskey. The art of making whiskey was introduced in Scotland by Irish monks who settled in western Scotland on religious missions. The Scots developed a taste for the drink, and soon it became very popular.

Spirits were first taxed in 1643, which paved the way for the operation of illicit stills on a large scale. With the introduction of continuous still or patent still by an Irish distiller, Aeneas Coffey transformed the whiskey-making process and turned distilling into large-scale commercial productions.

The production, sale, and transportation of alcohol in the USA were completely banned by the government during the prohibition period from 1920 to 1933 due to the pressure from the temperance movement by the religious denominations and the political reformers.

Types of Scotch Whiskey

  • Single malt
  • Vatted malts
  • Blended whiskey
  • Single grain

2. Irish Whiskey

irish whiskey bottle

Irish whiskey is distilled in Ireland from a wash of malted and unmalted barley with some grain. Irish whiskey is distilled three times in a pot still and matured for a period of five years.

Today, most Irish whiskeys are patently distilled. The traditional Irish whiskey is unblended. Standard Irish whiskey is a blend of malt and grain whiskeys.

Types of Irish Whiskey

  • Pure pot still whiskey
  • Single-malt whiskey

3. Tennesse Whiskey

Tennessee whiskey bottle

Tennesse whiskey is sour mash whiskey produced from a mixture of grain consisting of a minimum of 51% corn, distilled in Tennessee, and filtered through sugar maple charcoal before being matured in new charred oak barrels for a minimum of two years.

This will impart the flavor and style of the previous fermentation. Tennesse whiskey is the protected name for a sour mash of American whiskey.

Tennesse Whiskey Brands

  • Jack Daniel.
  • Pritchard.
  • George Dickel.

4. Corn Whiskey

corn whiskey bottle

Corn whiskey is distilled from a mash of a minimum of 80% corn. It may or may not be old. If aged, it may be aged in old or new oak casks. Aging is usually brief, lasting for a period of six months.

Brand Names of Corn Whiskey

  • Georgia Moon.
  • Dixie Dew.
  • Virginia Lightning.
  • Mellow Corn.
  • Old Gristmill.

5. Rye Whiskey

rye whiskey bottle

Rye whiskey is distilled from a mash consisting of at least 51% rye and aged in charred new oak barrels for at least 2 years. It is similar to the making of bourbon whiskey, except for the type of grain used.

Brand Names of Rye Whiskey

  • Jim Beam Rye
  • Jim Beam Lineage
  • Hudson Manhattan Rye
  • Catoctin Creek
  • Wild Turkey
  • Heaven Hill Vintage
  • Old Overholt
  • Copper Fox

6. Canadian Whiskey

Canadian Whisky bottle

Canadian whiskey is often referred to as rye whiskey. Canadian whiskeys were primarily made from rye, but today most of these types of whiskey are made using corn, wheat, and other grains with a very small portion of rye for flavoring.

Canadian whiskey should be aged for a minimum period of three years in oak barrels, not necessarily new or charred. Most distilleries use a fraction of rye, with the exception of Alberta Premium whiskey, which is made from 100 percent rye.

Brand Names of Canadian Whiskey

  • Alberta Premium.
  • Canadian 83.
  • Crown Royal.
  • Forty Creek.
  • Canadian Club.
  • Canadian Five Star.
  • Seagrams VO.
  • Walker’s Special.
  • Wiser’s Old Whiskey.

7. Japanese Whiskey

japanese whisky bottle

Japanese whiskey is distilled from millet, corn, and rice; both the patent and pot still methods of distillation are employed. The Japanese produce malt and blended whiskeys, and their single malt whiskeys are as good as scotch.

Brand Names of Japanese Whiskey

  • Nikka.
  • Yamazaki.
  • Suntory.
  • Hibiki.
  • Yoichi.


Whiskey is distilled from cereals and matured in oak barrels. In whiskey making, the cereals used may be a single type or mixture of cereals, pot or patent distilled, short or long period of aging, etc., according to the distiller’s choice and the regulations of the country where it is produced.

Among all the whiskeys, Scotch whiskey is considered to be the best for its unique characteristics attributed to the climate, water, and peat drying. Whiskeys are pot- and patent-stilled.

Most scotch available on the market is a blend of malt scotch whiskey and grain scotch whiskey. Traditional Irish whiskey is produced from malted and unmalted barley, with or without some other grains.

It is pot-distilled three times and matured for a minimum of five years. Canadian whiskey is called Rye whiskey, though the proportion of cereals used in the mash may have a small quantity of Rye. Canadian whiskey is aged minimum for a period of three years.

Dipayan Mondal
Dipayan Mondal

Dipayan is the author of this blog. He completed his hotel management degree from GNIHM, Kolkata. And he is very passionate about the hospitality industry. And right now, he is working as a successful hotelier in a 5-star hotel.

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