Whiskey is a distilled spirit made from fermented grain mash, and its etymology roughly translates to “water of life.” It’s most commonly associated with Scotland, Ireland and the United States, but whiskey is a global beverage produced and consumed all over the world.
The production of whiskey is highly regulated, with details like place of origin, alcohol content and aging in wood dictating the classes, types and characteristics applied to whiskeys. For example, Scotch whisky (they spelled it without the “e”) must be distilled in Scotland from water and malted barley, and it must be matured at least three years. Bourbon, a popular American whiskey, must be produced from a grain mixture of at least 51 percent corn and must be aged in new American oak barrels, among other regulations.
Although whiskeys from the United States, Scotland, Ireland and Canada remain at the forefront of the spirit category, whiskey is very popular in Japan and quality products are appearing all over the world, from Australia to India. In fact, Amrut Fusion, a new whiskey from Bangalore, India, was recently named the third best whiskey in the world by the renowned Whisky Bible.
As whiskey continues to grow as a spirit category, look for even more countries to open distilleries and enter the whiskey market. And as you travel the globe, ask for locally-produced whiskeys, which are becoming easier to find every year. It’s an exciting time for whiskey. Get on board.