) isused for the spirits distilled inIrelandand theUnited States; however, thereare exceptions. Kentucky, for example, usually spells its product "whisky".Amnemonicused to remember which spelling is used is that "Ireland" and"United States" have at least one "e" in their names, while "Scotland,""Canada" and "Japan" do not.International lawreserves the term "Scotch whisky" to those whiskies produced in Scotland; whiskies produced in other countries in the Scotchstyle must use another name. Similar conventions exist for "Irish whiskey,""Canadian whisky," and "Bourbon Whiskey." In North America, theabbreviated term "Scotch" is usually used for "Scotch Whisky." InEngland,Scotland, andWales, the term "Whisky" almost always refers to "ScotchWhisky", and the term "Scotch" is used by itself.TheWelshversion is
(water of life). (Other countries also have their own "water of life": also theScandinavianAkvavit, whose name derives from theLatin
, or theItalianGrappa)Irish whiskey is typically distilled three times from a mash of several grains.Scotch whisky is typically distilled twice, either from barley malt alone (seesingle malt whisky), or from barley malts and other grain malts which arethen mixed together. Kentucky whisky, calledBourbon, is normally onlydistilled once, as are most other American and Canadian whiskeys.
Whisky production began in grain-growing regions (the same regions where beer was being produced) whereas thedistillationof brandydeveloped inregions producingwine. The first traces of distilled barley go back to the13th century. In those times, whisky was not considered as a pleasure likenowadays, but people thought it was a marvelous medicine, helping to healall kinds of diseases. It was used as an ointment as well as a drink.Before bearing the name of "whisky" (or whiskey if it is produced in Irelandor in the United States), the drink was called "Uisge Beata", which means"Water of Life" in Gaelic. The name evolved to become Usquebaugh, thenUisge and finally Whisky.The famous historian and chronicler Raphaël Holinshed wrote the followingabout the results of distillation of malted barley in his "Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland" in the 16th century:"Being moderately taken, it slows the age, it cuts phlegm, it lightens themind, it quickens the spirit, it cures the dropsy, it heals the strangulation, it pounces the stone, its repels gravel, it pulls away ventositie, it keeps and preserves the head from whirling, the eyes from dazzling, the tongue fromlisping, the mouth from snuffling, the teeth from chattering, the throat fromrattling, the weasan from stiffing, the stomach from womblying, the heartfrom swelling, the belly from wincing, the guts from rumbling, the handsfrom shivering, the sinews from shrinking, the veins from crumpling, the bones from aching, the marrow from soaking, and truly it is a sovereignliquor if it be orderly taken."The first whisky distillery to gain a licence to produce was theOldBushmillsdistillery, granted byJames Iin 1608.
consists of whisky made from 100 percentmaltedbarley; maltwhisky from one distillery is calledsingle maltto distinguish it from blended varieties. The grains used to make whisky include barleyin Ireland,Scotland, Canada, and the United States,ryein Canada and the UnitedStates, andcornin the United States.Pure pot still whiskeyis made inIreland from a combination of malted and unmalted barley. Various types of straight whiskey, such asRye whiskey,Tennessee whiskey, andBourbonwhiskeywhich are produced in the U.S. are aged in charred, oak barrels.Blended whiskyis made from a combination of any of the above whiskieswith the similar grain whiskyor neutral grain spirits, which are much lessexpensive to produce than the other types of whisky. Blends will almostalways identify the type of base whisky used, ie. blended Scotch, blendedCanadian, or blended Bourbon. Light whiskey is a style of Americanwhiskey made up almost entirely of neutral grain spirits, with small amounts(typically less than 5 - 10 percent total volume) of straight whiskey andsherryadded for flavor and coloring.At one time much of the whiskey produced in the U.S. was "Bottled-in-Bond" according to the dictates of an1898Act of Congress; this practice has been largely discontinued, because one of the requirements of the Act wasthat such whiskey be produced at 100 U.S.alcoholic proof (50% alcohol byvolume). Whiskey this potent is currently rare in the U.S., partially becauseof changing public tastes but also because an alcoholic content so high isillegal in many countries, limiting the export market for it.