The most common American whiskeys are Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey.
By American whiskey law, bourbon has to be made of at least 51% corn, a grain that imparts a distinctly sweet taste. Other remaining grains are usually rye, wheat and barley.
What differentiates bourbon from different whisky styles is its method of production. Bourbon must be matured in new American oak casks that have to be charred.
Tennessee whiskey follows the same requirements as bourbon in terms of the usage of grains and barrels.
What truly sets Tennessee whiskey apart from other whiskies is it undergoes a filtration called the Lincoln County Process before ageing in barrels.
In this process, the spirit is filtered through sugar maple charcoal chips. The maple charcoal chips remove the impurities to produce a smooth, mellow taste.
Whiskeys from Ireland are traditionally triple-distilled in copper pot stills. Unlike other countries where whisky is primarily double-distilled, the triple-distillation process makes Irish whiskeys lighter and smoother.
Irish whiskeys are made from malted barley and unmalted barley. It should be matured for at least three years in oak barrels.
There are mainly four types of Irish whiskey:
- Blended whiskey
- Single pot still whiskey
- Single malt whiskey
- Grain whiskey.
Whisky made in Scotland can only be called Scotch, provided it meets the criteria set by the Scotch Whisky Regulations (2009).
This includes the use of only malted barley, yeast and water in the mash for distillation. It should be distilled and matured in oak barrels for a minimum of three years in Scotland.
Scotch* Whiskies feature fruity, grassy, peaty, smoky and even maritime flavours in coastal regions.
Japanese whisky is heavily influenced by Scotch whisky.
To be labelled as Japanese whisky, the product must have malted barley, use local water and be fermented, distilled, aged and bottled in Japan. It must be aged in wooden casks for three years and bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV.
Some Japanese distillers have mastered the usage of the Mizunara oak, giving Japanese whiskies a unique sweet and spicy profile.
Canadian whisky is made from rye, by tradition. Cereal grains like corn and wheat are also used. The grains are usually mashed, distilled and aged separately before blending.
Unlike other countries, there are no strict requirements for whisky made here. They should be aged for at least three years in Canada. The spirit can be matured in any kind of wooden barrel — new, old, charred or uncharred.