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Types of Distilled Spirits

“Give an Irishman lager for a month, and he’s a dead man. An Irishman is lined with copper, and the beer corrodes it. But whiskey polishes the copper and is the saving of him.” Mark Twain 

United States

Bourbon Whiskey 

Must contain a minimum of 51% corn, be produced in the US, be distilled at less than 80% ABV (160 degree proof), and be aged for a minimum of 2 years in new charred barrels. In practice, virtually all straight whiskies are aged for at least 4 years. Any whiskey that is aged less than 4 years must contain an age statement on the label.

Small Batch Bourbon 

Bourbons that are bottled from a small group of specially selected barrels that are blended together. The choice of barrels is purely subjective on the part of the master blender

Single Barrel Bourbon 

Bourbon from one specific cask. The choice of barrels is purely subjective on the part of the master blender.

Tennesse Whiskey 

Must contain a minimum of 51% corn, be distilled at less than 80% ABV (160 degrees proof), be filtered through a bed of sugar maple charcoal, and be aged for a minimum of two years in new charred barrels .

Rye Whiskey 

Must contain a minimum of 51% rye grain, be distilled at less than 80% ABV (160 proof), and be aged for a minimum of two years in new charred barrels. 

Blended American Whiskey 

Must contain at least 20% straight whiskey, with the balance being unnamed neutral spirit or, high-proof light whiskey. 

Corn Whiskey 

This commercial product must contain at least 80% corn, be distilled at less than 80% ABV, and be aged for a minimum of 2 years in new or used uncharted barrels.

Moonshine Whiskey 

(white lightning , corn likker, white dog )

Distilled from a mix of corn  and sugar and aged in mason jars and jugs. 



Canadian Whisky

Made primarily from corn or wheat, with a supplement of rye, barley or barley malt. There are no Canadian governmental requirements for the percentages of grains used in the mash bill. They are aged, primarily in used oak barrels, for a minimum of three years, with most brands being aged for 4 to 6 years.

Bulk Canadian Whiskies 

Usually shipped in barrels to their destination country, where they are bottled. These bulk whiskies are usually bottled at 40% ABV ( 80 degrees proof ) and are usually no more than 4 years old. 

Bottled in Canada Whiskies 

Generally have older whiskies in their blends and are bottled at 43.4 % ABV (86.8 degrees proof).



Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Malt whisky that has been produced at one distillery. It may be a mix of malt whiskies from different years. The barley malt for Scotch whisky is first dried over fires that have been stoked with dried peat. The peat smoke adds a distinctive smoky tang. 

Vatted Malt Scotch Whisky 

Blend of Malt Whiskies from different Scottish distilleries. 

Scotch Grain Whisky 

Made from wheat or corn with a small percentage of barley and barley malt. 

Blended Scotch Whisky 

Blend of grain whisky and malt whisky.



Irish Pot Still Whiskey 

Unless labelled as such, Irish whiskeys are a mix of pot and column distilled whiskeys. 

Irish Malt Whiskey 

Can be pot distilled, column distilled, or a mixture of both.

Irish Whiskey 

A blend of malt and grain whiskies. 



Japanese Malt Whisky

Produced in pot stills from lightly seated barley malt. Broadly modeled on Scottish Highland Malt Whiskies, and in some cases done very well indeed. 

Japanese Whisky 

A blend of Japanese or Scotch malt whisky and domestically produced grain whisky. Not to be confused with Shochu, native Japanese whisky, which is made from rice, sorghum or barley.


New Zealand

New Zealand Single Malt Whisky

Pot-distilled malt whisky.

New Zealand Blended Whisky 

A mix of domestic malt and grain whiskies. 



Australian Whisky

Pot-distilled malt whisky



White rums

Generally light-bodied, are usually clear and have a very subtle flavour profile. It they are aged in oak casks to create a smooth palate, they are then usually filtered to remove any color. White rums are primarily used as mixers and blend particularly well with fruit flavours.

Golden Rums

Also known as amber rums, these are generally medium-bodied. Most have spent several years waging in oak casks, which give them smooth, mellow palates. 

Dark Rums 

Traditionally, full-bodied, rich caramel-dominated rums, the best are produced mostly from pot stills and frequently aged in oak casks for extended periods. The riches of these rums are consumed straight up.

Spiced Rums 

White, golden, or dark rums, they are infused with spices or fruit flavours. Rum punches are blends of rum and fruit juices that are very popular in the Caribbean. 

Age-Dated Blended Rums 

These are aged rums from different vintages or batches that are mixed together to ensure a continuity of flavour in brands of rum from year o year. 



Silver or Blanco Tequila

Clear, with little (no more than 60 days in stainless steel tanks) or no aging . They can be either 100 % agave or mixto. Silver tequilas are used primarily for mixing and blend particularly well into fruit-based drinks. 

Gold Tequila

Unaged silver tequila that has been colored and flavoured with caramel. It is usually a mixto. 

Reposado / Rested Tequila

Aged in wooden tanks or casks for a legal minimum period of at least 2 months , with a better - quality brands spending 3 to 9 months in wood . It can be either 100% agave or mixto. 

Anejo / Aged Tequila

Old tequila is aged in wooden barrels (usually old bourbon barrels) for a minimum of twelve months. The best-quality anejos are aged for 18 months to 3 years for mixes and up to 4 years for 100% agave _____________________________


London Dry Gin

The dominated English style of gin. 

Plymouth Gin 

Relatively full-bodied compared to London dry gin . it is clear, slightly fruity, and very aromatic.

Old Ton Gin 

The last remaining example of the original light sweetened gins that were popular in 18th century England. 

Genever or Hollands

The Dutch style of gin, distilled from a malted grain mash similar to that used for whiskey. Tend to be lower proof than English gins ( 72 to 80 % ABV is typical). They are usually served straight up and chilled. 

Posted by Jason Stone on

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