Whiskey, or whisky, is made from the fermented mash of grains, such as barley, rye, corn, and wheat. Most whiskeys are produced in Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the United States. Traditionally, Canadian and Scotch whiskies are spelled without the "e".
The flavor and quality of a whiskey is dependent on many factors: the type(s) of grain used, water source, how and how many times the whiskey is distilled, and how long and on what kind of barrels the whiskey is aged. There are several thousand brands of whiskey available, all with a different taste and quality. The taste and quality may even be different from one vintage to another.
There are three main American whiskey types:
Straight whiskey is made from at least 51 percent of a grain. The distilled product must not exceed 160 proof (80 percent ABV), and must be aged for at least 2 years in oak barrels. The finished product, diluted with water, must be at least 80 proof. Typical straight whiskeys are Bourbon, Rye whiskey, and Tennessee whiskey (see related ingredients).
Light whiskey is distilled to higher than 160 proof and diluted with more water than straight whiskey. It is then stored in charred oak barrels. Light whiskeys are mainly used for blending.
Blended whiskey is made from a combination of two or more 100 proof straight whiskeys, blended with neutral spirits or light whiskeys. At least 20 percent of the blend must be straight whiskey. (See related ingredients)
In addition to American whiskey, other major whiskeys include Scotch, Irish whiskey, and Canadian whisky