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What are the flavor families of whiskey?

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While taste is subjective, there are some characteristics which distinguish good whiskey from the common. Complexity of flavor, high-quality ingredients, distilling techniques smoothness, aging and more all contribute to making whiskey “good”. The final best answer for the query “what is an acceptable whiskey” is one that you like and drink.

Let’s look at the many factors that go into making even one sip of whiskey an enjoyable enjoyment. After you’ve learned about what goes into whiskey making, you will be an expert in the matter of, “what is a good whiskey?”

Flavor Complexities

Complexity of flavor in a whiskey differs from the best whiskey. Whiskey you’d like on its own or mixed with water, and also a whiskey you prefer to drink in cocktail.

A whiskey that has a lot of complexity would mix into a drink however, you’d be missing out on all of the subtleties of flavor that have been designed to each batch.

There are many factors that affect the character of a excellent whiskey.

Which are the flavour family names of whiskey?

There are 8 flavor families in whiskey which can be broken down into distinct subcategories. Understanding even what these families are can help you to identify notes of complexity in a whiskey. Below are the families as well as their subcategories.

Fruity – Cooked Fruit, Dried Fruit, Fresh Fruit, Citric
Winey – Nutty, Oily and Chocolate Sherries
Sulphuric – Sandy- Vegetative, Coal/Gas, rubbery
Peaty Kippery Mossy, Smokey, Medicinal;
Cereal – Yeasty, Cooked Mash, Husky Malt Extract
Woody – Vanilla, Old Wood, New Wood, Toasted
Floral – leafy, hay-like, Green House, Fragrant
Feinty – Sweaty, Tobacco, Plastic and leathery

Now, some of these flavor combinations don’t sound like it are good by themselves, but you’ll be amazed at how odd flavors blend together to create a delicious whiskey.

It’s also normal to start out with whiskeys with more of a fruity flavor or to steer clear of stronger whiskeys with a strong flavor. When you’re trying to figure out what makes a great whiskey, it is recommended to try several different flavors however, as with all whiskeys it’s all about what you like!

“The Devil is in the Grains” Definiting a Flavor Profile

While these are substances that can be found in whiskey, they’re not the primary ingredients in the whiskey making process. Whiskey is made by fermenting grain mash, which can be malted, or not.

Malting grain is a process that involves the grain being soaked and then allowed to develop. The result is maltose which is a form of sugar. It imparts a richness that is similar to butter or chocolate to the overall taste of the.

Sometimes, the difference between a great whiskey and what is not lies in the grains. Plus, different ratios of grains produce different flavors.

Some of the grains that are used to make whiskey are:


Barley is used mostly for Scotch whisky and packs quite a punch. It is often malted, and dried with peat. The bitterness of barley whisky is typically mellowed out by being aged in old port wine or sherry barrels. This adds spices and fruit notes to the natural earthy smoky flavor of Scotch.


Rye provides a rich, nutty, and spicy spice to the whiskey. It can be used in its own way to make rye whiskey. It can only be described as such when it has been matured in American oak barrels, and has 51 percent Rye mash.

Rye can also be blended with other grains to create different whiskeys such as bourbon, for instance.


The majority of wheat whiskeys are produced within the United States. They are popular because they are silky and delicately sweet.

Wheat whiskeys are characterised by flavors like vanilla, toffee and honey. Although they were more scarce however, they are becoming increasingly popular for the aforementioned sweet, silky characteristics.


Corn is the most important component in Bourbon whiskey. To qualify as Bourbon it has to be made in America and at least 51% corn Mash.

It is another easy-to-drink ingredient that gives flavors of cream, honey, and even toasted marshmallow.

Some whiskeys are made with diverse blends of these grain in different proportions. Some contain only that grain, and others have all four! Be aware of the taste you wish to experience when you are choosing a whiskey, look at the grain the whiskey is made from.

Barrels in various types and the way they impart flavor

When it comes to answering that question “What is a good whiskey?”, the barrels in which whiskey is aged are an important part of the discussion. The barrels that whiskey gets stored in are extremely important when it comes to creating the taste. Most whiskey barrels are constructed of oak and contain oils that seep into the liquid as it sits.

Sometimes whiskey, specifically Bourbon – is aged in brand new barrels, and occasionally the barrels it is aging in were made for other purposes – that other thing is what gives the whiskey its distinctive taste when it’s ready to be bottled.

New Oak Barrels

New, virgin oak barrels are those that haven’t yet been used to hold any spirits. This is why the flavor of the wood becomes more evident in the whiskey. New oak barrels are used to age Bourbon.

Ex-Bourbon Barrels

Once the barrel is employed to age Bourbon the barrel can be reused to age other whiskeys like Scotch. The barrels impart a fruity flavor, like the Bourbon that came out of the barrels, in addition to vanillic flavor.

Ex-Port Barrels

Barrels that were used to hold port wine impart flavor that was inherent to the wine that held them They are usually dried fruit flavors such as raisins, figs or. The port used determines the flavors will change.

Ex-Sherry Barrels

Sherry barrels also impart a dried fruit flavor like those found in port wine barrels. Sherry is known to have an adrier flavor than port, and the whiskey aged in those barrels should also have a drier note.

This isn’t a complete list of the various types of barrels used for aging whiskey, but you get the idea.

Whatever spirit the barrel was a part of will impart its own unique characteristic to the resulting whiskey.

Aging Whiskey and the impact of Whiskey’s Flavour?

We’ve discussed the various types of barrels that are used to age whiskey. Let’s take a a look at the actual method used to age. Are the process of aging the primary factor in what constitutes good whiskey?

Many think that the more matured whiskey is, the higher-quality it is. It is true that whiskeys that have been aged for a long period are often more expensive than those that are not. Age doesn’t necessarily mean a better quality, however.

As the barrel ages as the barrel ages, the temperature of the barrel of oak fluctuates. The wood begins to expand and contract, introducing oxygen into the spirit.

This may add many different flavor profiles to the whiskey. If the whiskey is being aged in charred oak barrels, the charring acts as a filtering mechanism to remove the alcohol’s strong flavor. With time, the color will turn golden and develops a smoky caramel-colored body.