Whisky, Rum and Spirits

Month: December 2020 Page 1 of 2

Scotch Whisky Regions

Scottish whiskies are made in different regions, each giving the end result its own characteristic brand.

A law, the Wash Act of 1784, defined the establishment of an imaginary line between Dundee and Greenock, the “Highland Line” separating the plains of the highlands from the Lowlands. To encourage legal distillation in the HIghlands and to compensate for the ravages of scarcity, this law introduced differentiated levels of taxes favouring the Highlands. This provoked the ire of lowland whisky producers. In response to this protest, the authorities banned the export of less taxed Highland whisky.

Highlands

Because the stills used in the Highlands region are rather small, they allow heavy products, such as oils, to pass through the final distillate. This gives these whiskies a very wide aromatic palette.

In the Highlands, Scotland’s largest region, it is customary to classify distilleries by referring to the nearest river (Spey, Bogie, Deveron, Findhorn, etc.).

The majority of distilleries in the northern Highlands are located on the coast and are therefore marked by salinity. A sharp palate will distinguish between the tastes of heather and spices combined with a slight peaty aroma. Among the distilleries in the northern Highlands are Glenmorangie, founded in 1738 in the town of Tain and which draws its water from the sources of Tarlogy, Dalmore in the town of Alness and which draws its water from the Alness River, Old Pulteney in the town of Pulteneytown directly on the coast under the direct influence of sea winds.

The whiskies of the central Highlands have a milder and less peaty taste than those of the north. They are distilled in establishments such as Dalwhinnie, in the village of the same name. It draws its water from local sources in an area where peatlands are very numerous (malt used in blended Black and White). There is also Edradour, Scotland’s smallest distillery, and Deanston, which uses undipated malts, located on the River Teith.

In the west, Oban produces a whisky with an intermediate taste between the smoked whisky of the islands and the sweeter whisky inland, With Ben Nevis drawing water from the Allt a’Mhuilinn at the foot of the mountains (malt used in the blend of Long John) and Talisker located on the Isle of Skye, whose malt is used in the blends of Johnnie Walker and White Horse.

Speyside

The Speyside area (named after the Spey River) is bounded by the Findhorn Rivers to the west and Deveron rivers to the east. Most distilleries in the region draw their water from the tributaries of the Spey: Fiddich, Livet or Avon. This region, which is geographically part of the Highlands, is the main centre of Scotch whisky production. More than 40 single malts are produced, including those from Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Aberlour, Balvenie, Cardhu, Glenfarcas. These are usually sweet and fruity whiskies.

Lowlands

The Wash Act of 1784 was amended in 1786 and imposed a tax system on Lowland distilleries proportional to the annual still production capacity. This prompted them to maximize production capacity by designing stills for quick emptying.

As the Glasgow area also benefited from very favourable conditions for barley cultivation, the Lowlands whisky industry developed high-capacity stills that were characterized by a light, floral distillate thanks to prolonged contact with stills’ copper. This character has also been reinforced by the practice of triple distillation.

Lowland whiskies are typically represented by Littlemill, Bladnoch, Auchentoshan or Glenkinchie. The dominant aromas of these whiskies are grass and malt.

Islay

The eight distilleries of the Islay Islands, produce iodized and generally very peaty whiskies such as Laphroaig and Lagavulin. Some distilleries, such as Bunnahabain, however, produce whiskies less marked by peat.

Campbeltown

Only two distilleries remain in this small specific area of the South Highland Coast, Springbank and Glen Scotia. These are intermediate iodized whiskies between those of the Highlands and Islay.

What’s the difference between Whisky and Bourbon?

The history of whisky goes back to the dawn of time and the mass emigration of the 19th century to America has written a new chapter, that of the bourbon, and rye alcohol based on rye. In the following lines you will understand the influence of cereals, the distillation of oak barrels, and the men who will make these two beverages close but subtly different cousins.

The Origins Of Whisky And Bourbon

Aqua vitae, or “Uisge Beatha” in Celt. These two words, shaped and distorted over the centuries by the smoke of peat fires, the frigid springs, the purr of stills, the distant journeys, give birth by contraction to the word “whisky”. To this day, and since the 1494 manuscript attesting to the distillation of whisky in Scotland by Brother John Cor, Scotland and Ireland claim the authorship of whisky.

For more than 4 centuries, whisky was produced exclusively in Scotland and Ireland.

The economic crisis that began at the end of the 18th century led Scots and Irish to emigrate to the New World, taking with them the family still.

Distillation spreads at the rate of expansion and conquest of new lands to settle in Illinois, Pennsylvania and mainly in the state of Kentucky where all the conditions are met for the production of whisky on a large scale: abundant pure springs, favourable climate, a rich land where rye, barley and especially corn grow, easy to produce because originating from the American continent…

Legend has it that the name was authorised by Pastor Elijah Craig, who between sermons named his distillate “Bourbon” after his county, named after King Louis XV, an ally of the Americans against the treacherous Albion. Other sources attribute the name to the large number of whiskey barrels from the county, stamped bourbon to indicate their geographical origin, a name that eventually referred to the contents. It was also only a matter of time before The French was adopted by congress as a national language because the aversion to England was visceral at the end of the 18th century in the United States.

The Difference Between Whisky And Bourbon – It’s All About the Process

Scotch whisky, whether single malt or blend, should be a minimum of 40 degrees of alcohol and age for at least three years in oak barrels on Scottish soil. It is distilled twice, sometimes three times, and must be made exclusively from malted barley for single malts. The blends are blends of grain whisky and single malts. The peat sometimes used to dry malted barley brings a special stock to some Scottish whiskies, especially those from Islay.

The distillation of single malts is done in two still pot-type still: the first, the wash still delivers a distillate at 25 degrees, followed by the spirit still that delivers the final distillate titling at more than 70 degrees.

Refining is usually done in barrels containing bourbon and often in sherry, port or other wines.

Bourbon is distilled continuously in a columned “still patent” and must be produced with a minimum of 51% corn added to malted rye barley or wheat which gives it more sweetness. It is necessarily refined in new oak barrels, often muddy or toasted. However, the proportion of maize is very often much higher and is close to 80%.

Bourbon should be aged at least two years, but the average duration is 4 to 6 years, and some expressions are 10, 12 or 17 years old. Finally, the name straight bourbon indicates that no adjuvant or dye is tolerated in the preparation process.

The practice of drobbing drums is said to have arisen from the need to eliminate any odour from the original contents of the barrels, which were the universal container for the transport of perishable goods at the time. Then it was noticed that the contents of the muddy drums were pleasant and the practice became widespread.

The Difference Between Whisky And Bourbon – Aromas And Flavours

Both bourbon and whisky have a rich palette of aromas and flavours revealed by each of the different expressions. However, some traits are more often found in a bourbon than in a malt whisky, such as the sweetness conferred by corn. Rye contributes to the spicy notes that will be found in some bourbons. When wheat is added to corn, the resulting bourbon is more floral. The nature and balance between the different cereals are decisive in the final character of a bourbon.

The new and muddy oak barrel will give the bourbon its vanilla character. This character fades at the second filling when making a Scotch whisky. After the cereal, it is the cask that will mark bourbon or Scottish malt from its imprint to bring us even richer tasting experiences.

Finally, bourbons very often have quite pronounced fruity notes, usually derived from the typical fermentation and distillation phase practiced for a grain alcohol. Where the distillation of a single malt is done in a pot still following a process that will be repeated, distilling the bourbon into columns still is an ongoing process. Continuous distillation allows the production of distillates with very high alcohol content that will ultimately be less complex. The art of the master distiller will therefore consist in the case of the single malt to cut the heads and tails of distillation and for the bourbon to select the height of the column at which it will operate the extraction of alcohol vapours.

Whisky And Bourbon – Final Words

There’s nothing like your own taste experience to form an opinion. Start tasting now to know the difference between whisky and bourbon.

Discovering Gin

Those who have recently had the leisure to travel in Europe have certainly seen that Gin is everywhere! In the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Portugal: the least of their bars systematically offers many references of this brandy that has never experienced such dynamism in terms of innovations, new products, varieties!

The opportunity for dozens of visitors deeply curious, interested and receptive to learn about this brandy, its subtleties, the richness of its expressions. Each product has its own story. The aim is to discover the different aromas of these Gins, the vast majority were eaten dry. Who didn’t think that Gin was a bitter drink not because of the spirit itself, but because the tonic was?

What Is A Gin?

In his GIN, an encyclopaedic Compendium, Simon Difford gives a simple definition – generalist that has the merit of encompassing all Gins: “All Gins originate as a neutral alcohol (a vodka to a high degree), which is flavored with juniper – various aromas.” It doesn’t take more than that to create a Gin, which explains the vast freedoms that distillers leave to make this spirit! The different types of Gins then tighten the definitions.

The Old Tom

The Old Tom Gin was the first spirit to bear the name Gin from the 18th century. At the time, stills did not create a neutral alcohol pure enough. The imperfections of the distillate were then masked by an addition of 2 to 6% sugar, giving a spirit that was sweeter – slightly more sweet than the Gins we know today. In recent years, however, although there are no more imperfections to be covered, we are witnessing a renaissance of the Old Tom, Gin of origins, which had almost completely disappeared from the surface of the globe during the twentieth century. The Old English perfectly represents this contemporary version of the Old Tom.

The London Dry

As the name suggests, the London Dry Gin was born in London. However, it can be produced anywhere. This category appeared following the creation of the Coffey Still stills in 1831. Indeed, the Coffey Still allowed the creation of a neutral alcohol so pure that the addition of sugar no longer became indispensable. This dry alcohol was used to a maximum of 5g of methanol per hectolitre of alcohol at 100 degrees to flavour it. It is the most framed form of Gin but also the most common. Among his expressions, we were able to taste:

 

The Citadel, a French gin made in Cognac by Pierre Ferrand, rich in no less than 19 different aromas that manage to find a perfect balance for a sweet gin – fruity.

The excellent Mombasa Club, a reissue of the recipe that was served in the famous gentlemen’s club at the end of the 19th century, which manages to transcend a very fresh aromatic palette – lemony.

The No. 3, from the famous Berry Bros. house, whose juniper – the powerful citrus fruits during the attack on the mouth, evolve in small touches on a creamy and spicy finish.

Colombo, Sri Lankan gin. Introduced to Gin during the colonial era, Sri Lankans were able to create their own, totally unique, notably by using curry leaves as an aroma.

The very floral Dodd’s, 100% organic, produces in small quantities in a 140-litre still, which sees in its composition laurel, raspberry leaf but also honey!

The Spanish Gin Sea, whose five distillations offer such purity to the distillate of English origin that each aroma is expressed in the mouth with great power.

The Distilled Gin

A little more permissive than the London Dry in its design, distilled gin requires the neutral alcohol to be re-distinguished once flavoured. This means that a simple infusion of flavours into alcohol does not allow this designation. Distilled gin does not impose a minimum degree for neutral alcohol, unlike London Dry. It is in this expression that we find the most striking innovations, which often go away to tasting what we expect to find in a gin! Among these are The Gin by Christian Drouin, whose specificities were recently explained to us by Guillaume Drouin in an interview. But other equally surprising nuggets were offered to us:

Fair Gin, one of the few gins in which the basic alcohol itself makes its aromatic contribution. A rich- herbaceous spirit that offers a nice length in the mouth.

The Forest, distilled in Belgium, is highly concentrated in citrus fruits. In the mouth, the orange is so powerful that it would almost take over the juniper. Surprising tangy flavours for a real explosion in the mouth.

Junipero, a gin with white fruit aromas, whose high degree adds a mineral touch, making this product a perfect base for a Dry Martini

The Navy Gin

As with rum, it is the degree of bottling that defines the Navy Proof: indeed, when a spirit was consumed near the cannons in ships, it was preferable that it be titled to a degree sufficient to allow the gunpowder to burn even wet! The Navy Gin is bottled at more than 57 degrees! This is the case of the Gunroom, dry and powerful, it highlights, among the 12 hand-picked aromas, juniper. It is therefore a true concentrate of gin, perfect base for a gin and tonic of character.

Distillers from all over the world are full of inventiveness – the public is just waiting to be won over! We can only invite you to (re)discover the expressions that underpin the base of the Gin – to stay tuned to the new, because the Gin has very good years ahead of it!

Which Rum To Choose To Make The Best Mixed Rum?

Wondering which good rum to choose to make the best mixed rum?

Unfortunately, we will not give you a definitive answer on this. It depends mainly on your tastes and the type of arranged rum you want to get after maceration.

The best Rum?  agricultural, industrial, brown, old

Popularly, it is the agricultural white rum that is preferred at the expense of industrial rum also called traditional rum. In addition to the manufacturing method, the big difference between agricultural rum and industrial rum lies in the raw material used to make it. Agricultural rum is produced by fermentation of a pressed cane juice while industrial rum comes from molasses which is a syrup recovered from the sugar industry. In general and to simplify, agricultural rums will have aromas and vegetable notes from sugar cane while molasses rums will have more or less caramelized aromas due to the process of crystallizing sugar in sweets.

But don’t think again, there is very good rum regardless of the method used. In addition, you can also opt for amber, brown or old rum rums. Indeed, a brown rum will have woody notes that will combine very well with spices. On the other hand we advise you to avoid brown rums with fruit, especially since these rums are more expensive. The choice of the best rum therefore depends on your preference even if agricultural rums are preferred to prepare the best mixed rums.

Best Degree of Alcohol Rum?

Another factor to consider when choosing the best rum is the degree of alcohol. Do you like drinks that are rather strong or rather light? If you like very powerful arranged rums, we advise you to use a Guadeloupean rum (Marie-Galante) like a Father Labat, or a Bielle that headline around 60 degrees of alcohol. For more balanced arranged rums, you can turn to rums of 50 degrees like a Bologna, a Reimonenq, a Dillon or a Charrette. For less strong drinks, you can find Rums Saint James, Charrette or Damoiseau around 40 degrees of alcohol. One thing is for sure, between the rums of Guadeloupe, Martinique or Reunion, you will find your happiness.

Best Mixed Rum: Sweet or Not Sweet? 

There are two schools even if generally one agrees on the fact that a rum arranged little sweet or without added sugar (cane sugar or neutral sugar) is preferable sugar covering the aromas .     

The same is true for spices (cinnamon, vanilla ..) which brings an interesting flavour/ scent but this at the expense of the aroma of the other ingredients in amceration (in mono maceration)

So there are no miraculous rums to prepare your best arranged rums. It depends mostly on the end result you want to get and your palate. You have to choose a rum that you like! Of course, the ingredients you choose will also be very important when macerating. Waterlogged fruits greatly reduce the alcohol content of your preparation, unlike spices or fruit with little water. We therefore advise you to adapt the choice of rum in terms of taste and power according to the ingredients you want to macerate. And above all, have fun testing different recipes and ingredients. In order to nourish your creative spirit, we invite you to discover our mono maceration arranged rums. Explosion of flavours guaranteed! Ps: You can also mix them to get unusual associations.

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