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International Whiskey Day

Posted by ABC Fine Wine & Spirits on March 27, 2018

In Spirits, Whiskey

Happy International Whiskey Day! You've arrived just in time to celebrate with us! As the world over reveres the rich, amber goodness that is whiskey, we invite you to grab a dram while we take you on a tour of the world of whiskey.

International Whiskey Day collection of bottles


High proof and richly flavored, bourbon is the spirit of the South and the official spirit of the United States of America. Though it can be made anywhere in the country, 97% of bourbon produced is made in Kentucky. The name “bourbon” comes from the Kentucky county where this all-American liquor was first distilled.

By law, bourbon must be

  • Made in America
  • Made from a grain mash containing at least 51 percent corn;  other grains in the mash can include rye, wheat and barley
  • Stored in new, charred oak barrels, which is where it gets that sweet caramel flavor
  • Distilled to no more than 160 proof
  • Barreled at no more than 125 proof
  • Bottled at no less than 80 proof
  • Aged at least 2 years to be called “straight” bourbon, and straight bourbon aged less than 4 years must have its age displayed on the label

A great bourbon is every host or hostess’s friend, offering nearly infinite versatility. Smooth and charming, it creates lively interest in everything from hip cocktails to refreshing, icy coolers perfect for a hot Florida afternoon.


Scotch is a booming international phenomenon; exports of this golden, peaty liquor from Scotland have doubled over just the past decade. What’s behind the demand? Maybe its manly reputation as the fiercest of liquors, or its nearly infinite variations, from smooth and buttery to sharp, smoky, peaty or even salty.  Like French wines, Scotch whiskies taste of their local earth and history. The variables include the mix of grains, the way they’re malted and the kind of barrel they’re aged in, whether new oak or barrels repurposed. Even the local water is said to play an important role. 

Single malts—Scotches bottled from a single distillery—inspire descriptions like “floral with a caramel edge” and “mossy.” To smooth out the rougher edges, some Scotches are blended from the product of several distilleries, resulting in a spirit that is easy to love. Still, a Scotch’s reputation for being rugged is generally considered part of the charm; drinking Scotch announces a certain sophistication of palate.  Purists insist the best way to imbibe is with a splash of water, to bring the proof down enough for your taste buds to sample all the flavors. Blended Scotch is generally considered perfect for cocktails like a Manhattan or Rob Roy, but some mixed drinks benefit from the specific spice or bite of a single malt.  


While Canadian law allows the terms rye whisky and Canadian whisky to be used interchangeably, don’t be fooled: corn is often the base grain in Canadian whisky, with rye typically used in very limited amounts. The grains used in Canadian whisky are fermented, distilled and aged separately, unlike bourbon. The process is tedious but necessary to create the blended flavors Canadian whisky is known for. While the amber spirit is usually enjoyed in a cocktail, particularly mixed with ginger ale or club soda, when sipped straight, it is light and smooth with evident corn flavors.  


As the oldest distilled spirit in the world, it’s no wonder the term whiskey is a derivation of the Gaelic phrase uisce beatha, or water of life. Irish whiskies can be blends or single malts, but they all must be aged for at least three years. These spirits are usually smooth and sweet with notes of apple, vanilla and nutmeg. 


Rich, golden amber. Nose: Nice and robust with slight hints of vanilla and fruit. Body: Full, robust and perfectly balanced Palate: Delicately smooth and creamy, with hints of oak and sweet flavors of vanilla. Finish: Expansive and long lasting.


A supple entry leads to a dryish medium-full body of buttered nut toast, caramel corn, anise, white ash and pepper. Finishes with a hot peppercorn, buttercream, licorice and honey fade. Needs a touch of spring water to tame this nicely. A rock-solid bourbon.


On the nose is a perfectly balanced blend of sweet Scottish heather and honey with delicate notes of vanilla, coffee, licorice and a touch of citrus. A delightful, medium-bodied, smooth blend of soft vanilla with honey and floral notes. Mild, sweet and well-rounded. Medium finish, slightly dry with lingering heather honey overtones.


To the nose, Jameson has a light floral fragrance, peppered with spicy wood and sweet notes. Perfect balance of spicy, nutty and vanilla notes with hints of sweet sherry and exceptional smoothness. Incredibly smooth and mellow finish.


The palate entry showcases sweet breakfast cereal grain; at midpalate the corn dominates so thoroughly that you know that this could only be one of the best straight bourbons from Kentucky. Ends spirity and heated. One of America’s benchmark spirits.


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