Whiskey production and distillation have its roots deeply embedded in American history, and although distillation methods are largely standardized today, this was not always the case.
Back in the days when distillation was left up to backwoods craftsmen, the end product was anybody’s guess. All types of still structures, grains, and methods were used, and whiskey was not consistent in its production or its consumption and use.
Interestingly enough, it was this time of experimentation that revealed the vital role that grain choice has in whiskey production. Let’s explore this process of grain selection and how it guides the distillation process---from kernel to capful, how is great whiskey made?
Whiskey grains: Barley
Single malt whiskey made with barley is common in Scotland, Ireland, Japan, and Australia. The term “single malt” is used to describe alcohol that is distilled exclusively from one type of grain. Regardless of where you are getting your barley-derived whiskey from, you are bound to enjoy its sweet toffee-like flavors infused with smoky, intriguing hints that entice you to taste more.
Whiskey grains: Corn
A close cousin to whiskey is bourbon, and corn is a major player in the delicious game of its production. Fans of this grain masterpiece prefer its subtle hints of vanilla and maple syrup; with further aging, it finishes on a note of buttery leather, leaving you fully satisfied with all aspects of your tasting experience. Whiskey that is derived from corn enjoys a rich, sugary undertone without the element of the barrel that it is aged in. People new to the whiskey game might enjoy this offering a bit more than traditional whiskeys, as it is more pleasing to a new palette.
Whiskey grains: Rye
Rye speaks for itself when used in distillation. Rye appeals to whiskey drinkers that want a bit of peppery bite in their sip to accompany sweetness. The higher the rye content, the spicier a batch will be. Like someone who bites your lip after a sweet kiss, rye-based whiskey will tickle and tease your taste buds, leaving you wanting more.
Whiskey grains: Wheat
If you want a sip o’ whiskey that is as comforting as grandma’s wheat bread with a touch of honey, then put some wheat whiskey in your mouth. Pleasing and plentiful, wheat lends itself to distillation in a predictable and standard way, letting other more subtle flavors shine through as it forms the foundation for smooth and savory tasting.
Whiskey grains: Non-traditional fare
Since the distillation process can involve almost any type of grain, some brave distilleries are choosing to experiment with non-traditional grains, things that you wouldn’t normally expect to be in a bottle of fine whiskey. Expressions that include millet, spelt, quinoa, and oat are taking the distilling world by storm and creating a loyal following in and of themselves.
Whiskey grains: Are blends better?
Sometimes the best way to experience grain taste and texture in a whiskey is to blend it with another. Spicy plays off of sweet, smoky is delightfully muted when paired with mild, and the result is a combination that is better because of the collaboration. If variety is what you seek, consider trying a blend from a reputable distiller that has experience with blending different tastes and grains.
Palmetto Distillery: Serving Up Superb Spirits Every Time
Palmetto Distillery pays homage to its unique heritage and the deep connections it holds to prohibition and the South. Owners Trey and Bryan Boggs are direct descendants of the famed bootlegger, Doc Boggs, who passed his passion for whiskey and moonshine and all things distilled to his descendants. Using a unique blend of 21 percent rye matured in French oak barrels, Palmetto whiskey serves up lip-smacking flavor and a “spiritual” experience you will savor. If you are searching for a one-of-a-kind whiskey experience, look no further. Visit www.palmettodistillery.com for more information. The flavor of the South is calling…. will you answer?