Whisky is a complicated drink with some rich history. The origin, taste, types, and hundreds of labels available for whisky make it confusing and intimidating to most people. The world of whisky is just as complicated as you may think. Some of us don’t even know the difference between whisky and whiskey. Only a few people can tell what makes Bourbon any different from Scotch.
Well, there are more than enough myths out here that you should stop believing if you want to be a true whisky lover. In this post, Bottle and Ash puts everything in black and white for whisky lovers like you. Here are some myths about whisky you should not believe.
Myth #1 – Color is a symbol of the age
When it comes to drinking whisky, the oldest bottles taste better and stronger always. However, most people will often confuse whisky color with its maturity. The color of your favorite whisky does not in any way indicate its age. What it does is display the type of wood the distiller has aged it in.
For a drink to qualify as whisky, it must be aged in oak. The oak origin can vary depending on where the distillery is located. For instance, American oak gives the drink a golden color, whereas European oak makes the drink darker.
In some cases, the color may signify the age of your whisky, but this only applies to Bourbon, which becomes darker as it ages.
Myth #2 – Single is better than blended
Most whisky lovers have come to believe that anything with the label ‘single’ is better than ‘blended.’ These are two whisky terminologies that can be quite confusing if you are new to this drink. The two terms are used differently depending on where the whisky originates.
In most cases, blended would mean that the distiller makes the whisky by taking products from different barrels and blending them to get the finest drink. In the USA, blended whiskey refers to one made from a mix of rye and Bourbon. Single malt may refer to whisky made from one distillery and one corn like barley.
Myth #3- A locally produced whisky is better than all
There is always a misconception among whisky lovers that locally produced craft whiskey is much better than other brands. This is not true considering that most of the local distilleries also face competition from other brands. Mistakes in distilleries often result in low quality, and this is also common to most locally crafted drinks.
Not every upcoming local whisky brand is the best you can get on the bar. Sometimes you have to trust a brand only after tasting more than one bottle. You only compare your favorite whisky brand with another bottle you know. The fact that it is locally produced does not make it superior to others.
Myth #4 – You should always stick to one type of whisky, Scotch or Bourbon
Another myth that most whisky lovers hold on to is the choice of a favorite brand. Most people believe that you should only stick to a brand. When you drink Bourbon, you should not change to Scotch if you want to enjoy drinking.
The first time you drink Scotch may be challenging if you are used to drinking Bourbon. Although they are all whiskies, the two drinks are very different and exceptional. Therefore, you should try drinking each whiskey type separately, but nothing stops you from enjoying another kind of whiskey, not even this conventional myth.
Myth #5 – If the drink reads 15 years old, it’s always a 15-year old
There is a lot of controversy and confusion surrounding the naming and age statement for most whisky brands. The age labeling is a prevalent whisky myth you should refrain from. How the whisky age is advertised is such a complicated issue.
However, your whiskey’s maturity is determined by the age indicated by the distillery on the label. The youngest whisky should always be judged on the age statement. However, this does not mean when you add a bottle label 25 years old to 12 years old, it becomes 25 years old automatically.
As a whisky lover, you should not always be transparent about everything brands indicate on the label. There is already some ongoing campaign to ensure whisky companies are more evident in labeling. Until every brand becomes transparent on an age statement, you can only tell a matured whisky drink when you taste it.
Myth # 6 – The year of establishment for a brand is always true
It is a common belief amongst whisky lovers that the most reputable whisky brands were established many years ago. Most whisky drinkers believe that the older a brand is, the more trustworthy it is in the whisky industry.
Some brands will indicate their labels that they are established in the 1800s, but that doesn’t mean they are correct. In most cases, distilleries use the year of establishment as a way of advertising their products. This year could refer to when the brand’s namesake was born or died. It could also correspond to the dates the distillery was built.
Myth # 7 – Older whisky tastes better
The age and taste of whisky are not based on its age. This is a common myth in the whisky industry. Most bottles with an older age statement will price higher. However, this doesn’t mean the drink tastes better than others.
In reality, when whisky stays in the barrel for more than 28 years, it is more likely to lose its original taste and peat flavor. Whisky can also become overly wooded when it overstays in the barrel. When choosing the best whiskey to drink with your friends, you should not focus more on the age but the quality. A 12 years old whisky is perhaps tastier than 25 years old.
Myth # 8 – Scotch tastes like sherry when it is aged in sherry casks
This is another common myth that most distilleries have made whisky drinkers believe. Whisky aged in sherry casks does not inherit all its quality and character from the fortified wine stored in the barrel. Sherry is not the dominant factor in how Scotch tastes but has some influence on the taste.
The cask influences the sherry, but the whisky and the sherry have no relationship. Whisky gets its tastes from the oak barrel and not the sherry cask. The oak is everything here, and it’s where the original taste of whisky comes from.
Myth # 9 – All whisky gets its color from the oak barrel
Contrary to the common belief that whisky gets its color from the oak barrel, it is not true for some brands you encounter. Some distilleries add caramel coloring to change the color of the drink. This is common for most types of Irish and blended Scotch.
Most brands are advocating for natural color. For instance, there are no additives in any brand of Bourbon. Although caramel does not add any flavor to whiskey, most people would still opt for the whiskey’s natural color.
Myth # 10 – All whisky taste the same
The false truth that all whisky tastes the same is spread by those who don’t like this drink in general.
When you say that whisky tastes the same for all brands, you either lack the taste buds or don’t know how to taste whisky.
You are not likely to enjoy your first glass of whisky as a beginner. Therefore, if you want to find out why so many people recognize this drink, you have to try another glass and hope that you get it right this time. Every brand of whisky has its unique signature taste.
There are endless myths about whisky, and we may not exhaust all of them here. Whisky is a complicated drink, which is perhaps why we have all these myths about the drink. If you want to know more about whisky, you can start by not believing these ten myths.