Whisk(e)y: The A to Z Guide – Must Know Terms

Only a few more days until Whiskey Live in Dublin for 2023! Here is our A to
Z must know terms list to having you soundling like an expert!

From mash bills to nosing techniques, this comprehensive A-to-Z guide will
provide you with a solid foundation of must-know whiskey terms.

A – Angel’s Share: The portion of whiskey lost to evaporation during the
ageing process in wooden barrels. It’s a sacrifice that adds character to the
remaining liquid.

B – Bourbon: A type of American whiskey made primarily from corn and aged in
new charred oak barrels. It carries a distinct sweetness and can be enjoyed
neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails.

C – Cooperage: The art of crafting casks used for ageing whiskey. Cooperages
play a crucial role in shaping the flavours and character of the final product.

D – Distillation: The process of separating alcohol from the fermented mash
through evaporation and condensation, creating the raw spirit for whiskey

E – Esters: Chemical compounds formed during fermentation that contribute to
the aromas and flavours found in whiskey.

F – Finish: The additional period of maturation a whiskey undergoes in a
different type of cask, imparting additional flavours and complexity.

G – Grain: The base ingredient used in whiskey production, such as barley,
corn, rye, or wheat. The choice of grain significantly impacts the whiskey’s

H – Heads, Hearts, and Tails: During distillation, these three components
refer to the different stages of alcohol produced. The heads and tails contain
undesirable compounds, while the hearts are the desirable portion used for whiskey

I – Irish Whiskey: Whiskey produced in Ireland, usually triple-distilled and
known for its smoothness and light, fruity flavours.

J – Jameson: A well-known Irish whiskey brand that has gained popularity
worldwide. It is renowned for its smoothness and approachability.

K – Kentucky: A region in the United States known for its production of
bourbon whiskey. Many iconic bourbon brands originate from this area.

L – Legs: The streaks or rivulets that form on the inside of a whiskey glass
after swirling. Legs can provide clues about the whiskey’s viscosity and
alcohol content.

M – Mash Bill: The specific recipe and proportions of grains used in the whiskey’s
production. Different mash bills create distinct flavours and characteristics.

N – Nosing: The act of smelling and assessing the aromas of whiskey. Nosing
allows you to detect various notes and appreciate the complexity of the spirit.

O – Oak: The wood commonly used for ageing whiskey. Oak casks contribute flavours
such as vanilla, spice, and tannins to the maturing spirit.

P – Peat: A fuel source used during malting that imparts a smoky and earthy
flavour to certain whiskies, particularly those from Scotland’s Islay region.

Q – Quaich: A traditional Scottish drinking vessel, often used for sharing a
dram of whiskey among friends and symbolising friendship and hospitality.

R – Rye: A type of whiskey made primarily from rye grain. Rye whiskey can
offer spicier and drier flavours compared to other varieties.

S – Single Malt: A whiskey made exclusively from malted barley and distilled
at a single distillery. Single malts are highly regarded for their distinct

T – Tasting Notes: The descriptions of flavours, aromas, and overall
impressions of a whiskey, often provided by experts or enthusiasts.

U – Uisce Beatha: The Gaelic term for “whiskey,” translating to
“water of life.” It highlights the significance and cultural
importance of whiskey in Scotland and Ireland.

V – Vatted Malt: A blend of single malt whiskies from different
distilleries, carefully combined to create a unique and balanced expression.
Also known as a “pure malt” or “blended malt” whiskey.

W – Whiskey: The beloved spirit itself, made from fermented grains and aged
in casks. Whiskey is typically spelled without the “e” in the UK.

X – X-factor: A term used to describe the intangible qualities that make a whiskey
exceptional and captivating. It encompasses everything from complexity and
balance to the overall experience.

Y – Yeast: A microorganism responsible for fermenting the sugars in the mash
and converting them into alcohol. Different yeast strains can contribute unique
flavours and aromas to the whiskey.

Z – Zero Chill Filtration: A process where whiskey is not chill-filtered,
allowing the natural fatty acids, proteins, and esters to remain in the liquid.
This can enhance the whiskey’s texture and mouthfeel.


Hopefully that is enough information to not only get you through Whiskey Live, but to add to your Whiskey knowledge!

For anyone off to Whiskey Live, I might see ya there!!