There is a common misconception that whisky is one flavoured drink, but this just isn’t the case. There are huge varieties of Scottish whiskies that all have their own unique flavour. The different distillery methods and cask length all create different flavours and aromas. Here is a rundown of the diverse flavours of Scottish whisky and how it is added.
The Flavour Process
Whisky is flavoured throughout the whole production process. During the three main production steps, the flavour is created. Flavour is effected during all of the production steps; firstly, with the distillery process, then the peat process and finally the fermentation process.
The spirit moves on to the peat process where peat is burned to dry the barley used. This is where the deep, smoky flavours are adding to the whisky, providing it with a full-bodied rich flavour.
When the whisky is ready for the fermentation stage, it is left to soak and develop. During this stage the whiskies flavour will further increase the amount of time it is left, affecting the overall flavour of the whisky.
When the spirit is in the distillation process it is extremely sensitive to flavour, therefore anything used during this process is going to affect the final flavour of the whisky. During this stage, there are some unusual factors that can affect the overall flavour. As little as the location, weather and shape of the room the whisky is kept in can contribute to the whiskies character and flavour. Consequently, this stage is vital to the flavour of the whisky.
The Aging Process
Whisky usually only takes a few days to be distilled, but it takes years for it to mature. Whiskies that are only distilled for a few days, are drinkable, however, they would not acquire the same richness of a whisky that had been left for a few years to distill. To gain a rich, smoky peaty flavour the whisky needs to be left anywhere from a few months to a few years.
If you are looking to create a heavy bodied, smoky whisky then you need you leave your whisky in the barrel long enough for the spirit to absorb its flavours. Most whisky barrels have been either toasted to charcoaled to help draw out the unwanted flavours and produced a pure whisky. Hence, the longer you leave your whisky to distill, the purer the whisky will be.
The Flavours Available
Here are many flavours available when it comes to whisky, from delicate to rich. Here are some of the whisky flavours that are available.
Full bodied whiskies- these whiskies are strong and powerful with a smoky underlay. These strong whiskies are usually for the someone that enjoys rich flavours, as these whiskies can be harsh on the palate.
Rich flavours whiskies- using oak casks, these whiskies achieve a rich, smooth flavour that gives a true indication of Scottish whisky. This flavour is added at the final stages of production as the oak casks change the overall flavour.
Spicy and fruity whiskies- these whiskies can be both sharp and mellow, either providing a citrus or a peppery flavour. These whiskies are packed full of flavour.
Light whiskies- usually pale in colour; these whiskies do not have a smoky flavour but provide an earthier aroma.
The vast selection of whisky flavours available means that there is a whisky flavour out there that would suit anyone’s palette.