In a Word Whiskey

In a Word Whiskey or the Water of Life

Sitting at my side of the bar a couple of weeks back the subject of whiskey came up. Being a scotch drinker I realize the differences between Scotch and other Whiskeys. The taste is the main thing and as I always say all Scotch is Whiskey, but not all Whiskey is Scotch.

So myself and the other usual suspects at the bar continued to break down the differences (with the help of a couple of iPhones and Blackberrys)

Well, what more do I need to say. Scotch Whiskey is Whiskey that is made in Scotland, the three more prevalent regions are Highland, Lowland and Islay. All three have very distinct characteristics and tastes. The one that is the most distinct is the Islay Scotches which are normally very smoke flavored due to being distilled with peat.

Whether you like single-malt or blended make no mistake about Scotch is really a whiskey in a class by itself. The taste of any scotch is very unique and largely due to the mineral content of the water used for distilling.

My personal favorite is The Macallen and Sheep Dip

Bourbon (one of my favorite Whiskeys)
Also one of my pet peeves is people saying the Jack Daniels is a bourbon. The definition of bourbon is that it should be at least 51 % corn, no less than 160 proof , contain no Carmel coloring, be aged in charred oak barrels and come from Bourbon County Kentucky. Bourbon has a very distinctive taste itself and to me can not be compared to Tennessee Whiskey.

My favorite here is without a doubt, Four Roses (The Preferred Bourbon of MySideOfTheBar)The history of this bourbon is very interesting and it was actually the number one selling bourbon for three decades (30s, 40s and 50s). A great choice for your Mint Juleps at Derby time.

Tennessee Whiskey is a sour mash of American whiskey that undergoes a filtering stage called the Lincoln County Process, in which the whiskey is filtered through a thick layer of maple charcoal before it is put into casks for aging. This step gives the whiskey a distinctive flavor[specify]. The process itself is named for Lincoln County, Tennessee, which is where the Jack Daniel's distillery was originally located. In 1871, the Jack Daniel's distillery and the surrounding area became part of the newly created Moore County.

Presently, there are only two brands of Tennessee whiskey on the market: Jack Daniel's and George Dickel.

Tennessee Whiskey is not one I order often, however Gentlemen Jack would have to be the one I would choose.

Irish (another of my favorites)
Irish Whiskey is in my opinion one of the smoothest and as the name states made in Ireland. There are several types of whiskey common to Ireland: Single Malt, Single Grain, Pure Pot Still and Blended Whiskey. Most Irish Whiskey’s are distilled at least three times, which would account for the previously mentioned smoothness.

My Favorite here is Bushmills or Tullamore Dew

This is the main ingredient in all Canadian Whiskey and while to me Irish Whiskey is the smoothest, Canadian Whiskey has the best combination of smoothness, taste, and finish of all Whiskey.. This is also the preferred whiskey in the Hemingway Highball.

While arguably Crown Royal is the most popular (but far to sweet for me) I have no real favorite here. When I create a Hemingway Highball I choose Northern Lights and if I am drinking straight I would choose Canadian Club Classic.

More on Whiskey

Sour Mash
Sour mash is not a Whiskey, but rather the name for a process in the distilling industry that uses material from an older batch of mash to start fermentation in the batch currently being made, similar to the making of sourdough bread. It was developed by either Dr. James C. Crow or Dr. Jason S. Amburgey while they were working at the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery (now the Woodford Reserve Distillery) in Woodford County, Kentucky. Sour mash is not a type or flavor of whiskey, as is commonly thought.

No matter what your preference of “The Water of Life” it is hard to argue that sitting and sipping a good Whiskey is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening.



  1. I have that same Scotch Glass....I bet I know what tasting you got it at ;)

    Also, you look mean there Randy, what is up with that?

  2. I think that is a great picture of you, Randy. Thanks for the whiskey history!

  3. @Ed, yep cheers :)
    @Nancy, thanks so much for the kind words



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