The Cheat Sheet is your concise set of notes used for quick reference on every manly topic from liquor, sports, style, to tech and gear. Our topic: Whiskey.
1. Is it Whisky or Whiskey?
“American and Irish liquor producers tend to favor the spelling whiskey, while Canadian, Scottish, and Japanese producers tend to favor whisky.” (via The Kitchn)
2. All whiskey starts as beer
“The first time I figured the guy had to be kidding me. “For the first two days of processing, beer and whisky are identical.” Nobody in their right mind thinks beer and whisky are even similar, much less identical. Beer is fermented, whisky is distilled. Little did I know that beer and whisky use the same basic ingredients.” (via eHost)
3. What is the oldest licensed distillery in the world?
“The Bushmills Distillery claims to be—and is almost unanimously considered to be—the oldest licensed distillery in the world.” (via Bushmills)
4. George Washington was at one time the largest whiskey producer in the US
“In 1797, on the advice of his farm manager, George Washington opened a whiskey distillery three miles from his Virginia estate, Mount Vernon. His decision soon paid off. In 1799, it produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey and made Washington the largest American whiskey producer in the 18th century. The product was sold to regional merchants, bars, taverns and local farmers even traded grain for it.” (via Bearings)
5. Whiskey is heavily taxed
“More than 50 percent of the purchase price of a fifth of whiskey in the U.S. goes to taxes — federal, state and local.” (via ArmyTimes)
6. What does “angel’s share” mean?
“The “Angel’s share” or “Angel’s tax” refers to the 4% of whiskey that evaporates every year. Angels “steal” 4% of the whiskey in a barrel every year. They want to make sure it’s OK before we drink it. Once you bottle whiskey, the angel’s can’t touch it. It doesn’t evaporate.” (via Business Insider)
7. What does “devil’s cut” mean?
“After aging, when the bourbon is dumped out of the barrel, a certain amount of whiskey is left trapped within the wood of every barrel. This is called the devil’s cut.” (via Jim Beam)
8. Ice or no ice?
“Ice dulls the flavor of whiskey. It reduces the temperature of the whiskey too much, inhibiting the flavor and freezing its aroma. If you must, adding one cube is moderately acceptable.” (via About)
9. Protestant whiskey vs. Catholic whiskey
“The widely-accepted Irish-American version is that Jameson is Catholic whiskey and Bushmills is Protestant whiskey. But that’s merely based on geography: Bushmills is from Northern Ireland, a predominantly Protestant region, and Jameson is from Cork – Catholic country.” (via Jeffrey Morgenthaler)
10. Lighting whiskey on fire
“In ye olde days whiskey was tested for authenticity and alcohol content by pouring some over a small amount of gun powder. If the whiskey burned off and the powder ignited, it was considered “proof.” That meant approximately 100 proof (49.5 percent rounded up). But now we know a number of factors change the flash point—when the alcohol will ignite, not necessarily burn steadily.” (via Gizmodo)
11. What’s the difference between scotch, whiskey and bourbon?
“The main difference between scotch and whisky is geographic, but also ingredients and spellings. Scotch is whisky made in Scotland, while bourbon is whiskey made in the U.S.A, generally Kentucky. Scotch is made mostly from malted barley, while bourbon is distilled from corn. If you’re in England and ask for a whisky, you’ll get Scotch. But in Ireland, you’ll get Irish whiskey.” (via Mental Floss)
12. Bourbon is the most popular type of whiskey in the U.S.
“Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Wild Turkey are three of the top selling brands of bourbon whiskey (though Maker’s Mark spells their product the Scottish way: “whisky”). Many spirits labeled “Tennessee whiskey” Jack Daniels, for example qualify as bourbons under trade regulations but are not marketed as such.” (via LiveScience)
13. Older is not necessarily better
“Some people say an 8-9 year old bourbon is the sweet spot,” according to Simoneau. Don’t just go with the oldest thing you can find to look cool, even with Scotch. Age is just a number.” (via Business Insider)
14. “Good Friday” at Jack Daniel’s
“Jack Daniel’s employees are given a free bottle of whiskey on the first Friday of every month, which they have nicknamed “Good Friday”, and many people hoard them in the closet.” (via The Sydney Morning Herald)
15. Connecting flavors to regions
“Dryer: Generally, Irish are lighter bodied but fuller flavored mixes of grain, unmalted and malted barley. Sweeter: Canadian, generally sweet, from Canada, always blended by law, means made from several grains including rye. Spicier: Rye, generally made in more Northernly parts of America, you know, where they grow rye. Earthier: Single Malt and Blended Malt Whisky (most people call it Scotch, but only when the whisky is from Scotland, and only if the speaker is not actually Scottish). Full Bodied: Bourbon is the American spirit, it is mostly corn and then the rest of the bill is any mix of barley, malted barley, rye and wheat.” (via Cask Strength)