Whiskey articles

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Distilled Sunshine


What’s in Scottish, Irish and English whisky?  Whisky Definitions

Wheat whiskey:  Wheat whiskey has a mash bill of 51% or more wheat….Given the popularity of “wheater” bourbons like Pappy Van Winkle, Maker’s Mark and W.L. Weller, it is more than a little surprising that wheat whiskey hasn’t become a bigger thing…  What Happened To Wheat Whiskey Anyway?

Complete List of American Whiskey Distilleries & Brands: An attempt to catalog all current American whiskey distilleries and brands. The idea is that if you see a bottle of American whiskey on the shelf, you should be able to consult this list and figure out who makes and markets it.  Complete-list-of-american-whiskey

The Rational Way to Regard NDP Whiskeys: Non-distiller producer: Some producers make what they sell… Others buy aged whiskey in bulk from one of the distillers, bottle and market it. Those are NDPs. How should we regard these?  The Rational Way to Regard NDP Whiskeys

Rye Whiskeys Sourced from MGP ( Midwest Grain Products) ingredients In Lawrenceburg, Indiana.  Rye Whiskeys Sourced from MGP.

Mash bills, barrel char levels, and entry level proof for many whiskies and bourbons. From ModernThirst. Bourbon and Whiskey mash bills

How does your drinking measure up to the average in countries around the world?  BBC Booze calculator: What’s your drinking nationality?

Whiskey ID Abbreviation Glossary  Abbreviation-glossary

Bourbon acronyms from redwhiteandbourbon.com  Red, white and bourbon acronyms


Blind taste tests

No one believe that all whiskies (or wines) taste the same. They have different mash bills, yeast strains, barrel wood sources, and charring. The rickhouses have different environmental conditions. So whiskies certainly evolve varying flavors. But can we rely on experts to find out which are better? In test after test, we find that even experts don’t rate the “best” and rarest whiskies significantly higher than many common whiskies. Expectations overwhelm our experience. So what happens when we have blind taste tests?

Blind taste test of a 1964 Black Bowmore. What happens when you put what’s arguably the most legendary single malt into an otherwise unassuming, unhyped blind tasting? Not a whole lot… Any “legendary” whisky is good-to-excellent, but mind-blowing is impossible. Whisky can only get so good, and the rest is added in your head.  Blind Black Bowmore: A blind tasting of Scotch whiskey yields a great lesson

Feeling baffled when it comes to wine? Turns out the experts don’t know anything either. (And I bet the same is true for whiskey)  Adam Ruins Everything – Why Wine Snobs Are Faking It

How to run a blind taste testWhiskey with Wes: A blind taste test to reveal the best whiskey for the Grove

Blind Taste Test – Including Pappy Van Winkle’s 20 Year, Michter’s 10 Year, Blanton’s, Basil Hayden’s and Jefferson’s Small Batch Bourbon. Guess what happened?!  Taste Test: The (Cult-Like) Pappy Van Winkle’s 20-Year Reserve Bourbon

Study on the Chill Filtration of Scotch Single Malt Whiskies: Comparative Assessment of a Blind Tasting, by Horst Lüning

In a blind tasting 111 experienced whisky connoisseurs from Germany tasted a total of 1,331 samples of high-quality Scotch single malt whiskies and evaluated them according to numerous parameters. …The study shows that even among experienced single malt whisky connoisseurs, only 45% identify chill filtration correctly. Respectively, non chill filtration is identified correctly by 55% of the participants. At 50.0%, the total identification rate is exactly at the statistical mean. Thus chill filtration cannot be identified by the consumer.
Study on the Chill Filtration of Scotch Single Malt Whiskies

Wine-tasting: it’s junk science. Experiments have shown that people can’t tell plonk from grand cru. Now one US winemaker claims that even experts can’t judge wine accurately. What’s the science behind the taste?  Wine-tasting: it’s junk science

Judge Reliability at a major U.S. Wine Competition

“Wine judge performance at a major wine competition has been analyzed from 2005 to 2008 using replicate samples. Each panel of four expert judges received a flight of 30 wines imbedded with triplicate samples poured from the same bottle… About 10 percent of the judges were able to replicate their score within a single medal group. …only about half of the panels presented awards based solely on wine quality.“ – That’s literally no better than random guessing!
An Examination of Judge Reliability at a major U.S. Wine Competition, Robert T. Hodgson, June 2012, An Examination of Judge Reliability at a major U.S. Wine Competition

Do more expensive wines taste better?

“Individuals who are unaware of the price do not derive more enjoyment from more expensive wine. In a sample of more than 6,000 blind tastings, we find that the correlation between price and overall rating is small and negative… Our results indicate that both the prices of wines and wine recommendations by experts may be poor guides for non-expert wine consumers.” American Association of Wine Economosts, AAWE Working Paper, No. 16, April 2008, Do More Expensive wines taste better? Robin Goldstein et al


Craft Distilleries in New England

Ultimate Guide to New England’s 61 Distilleries

thetakemagazine.com Distilleries of New England


Is moderate drinking good for you? Or dangerous? Health and alcohol


Is it Whisky or Whiskey?

Contrary to what aficionados might say, “whiskey” and “whisky” are the same word. Sure, here in the USA whiskey is usually spelled with an “e”, and the same is true for Ireland. But not always – for instance,

Balcones Distilling (Texas), George Dickel (Tennessee), Jefferson’s, Maker’s Mark and Old Forester are popular American whisky – spelled without the “e”.

In Scotland and Canada, the spirit is usually spelled whisky, without the “e”, but again, this isn’t traditional : historical records clearly show that both spellings were used in both countries, until the mid 20th century.

For perhaps the final word, according to American law, whisk(e) is spelled without the (e)! Here are the actual rules from U.S. Federal law,  Title 27: Alcohol, Tobacco Products and Firearms, Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits §5.22 The standards of identity

(b) Class 2; whisky. “Whisky” is an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash of grain produced at less than 190° proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to whisky, stored in oak containers…

(1)(i) “Bourbon whisky”, “rye whisky”, “wheat whisky”, “malt whisky”, or “rye malt whisky” is whisky produced at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain, respectively…

Spelling choices are purely arbitrary, and not fixed. Expert Chuck Cowdry debunks spelling myths in these articles:

Whiskey or Whisky? New York Times Buckles To Pressure From Scotch Snobs. Chuck Cowdry

Whiskey or Whisky? I’m No Lincoln II. Chuck Cowdry.


Whiskey & Jewish culture

Is all whiskey and Scotch kosher?

Kosher for Passover? Platte Valley 100% Straight Corn Whiskey

Jews and whiskey during prohibition



Main page: Merrimack Valley Whiskey Blog
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Useful articles on whiskey
Is all whiskey and Scotch kosher?


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