Whiskey Classifications Cheat Sheet

Whiskey Classifications Cheat Sheet
January 6, 2016 Becky Ruisseau
In Whiskey
wall of whiskey

With so many varieties of whiskey on the market, it can be difficult to differentiate and distinguish them all. Here is a quick rundown of the most notable groupings of the classic libation we all know and love.


noun  whis·key  \ˈhwis-kē, ˈwis-\

plural whiskeys or whiskies

A liquor distilled from fermented wort (as that obtained from rye, corn, or barley mash)


Malt Whiskey

  • Made from: Fermented mash made exclusively with malted barley
  • Made in: Scotland (predominantly)
  • The process: Scotch has to be distilled twice on pot stills at a single distillery and is then matured in oak casks for at least three years.


Blended Whiskey

  • Made from: A mixture of different whiskies (malt, grain)
  • Made in: Various distilleries – usually from Scotland or Ireland – AND Texas of course!
    • Rebecca Creek Whiskey is a blend of aged bourbons, corn-based spirits and limestone-filtered water from the Trinity Aquifer. It is aged 5-7 years and contains a mash bill of 67% corn, 21% rye and a remaining blend of wheat and barley as additional flavoring grains.
  • The process: The ratio of whiskies from different distilleries determines the character. Most blends contain more grain whiskey than malt whiskey.


Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey

  • Made from: At least 51% corn grain – the rest is a mixture of barley as well as rye and / or wheat
  • Made in: the U.S. – most bourbons are produced in Kentucky. Tennessee has established its own category.
  • The process: Must be aged for at least four years in fresh, toasted casks made from American white oak. A finish or extra maturation is not allowed. Tennessee Whiskey is additionally charcoal-filtered.

bourbon barrel


Rye Whiskey

  • Made from: A grain mash at least 51% rye
  • Made in: Mainly in the U.S. and Canada
  • The process: Must be matured in oak casks for at least two years. Canadian rye whiskey is an important ingredient in Canadian blended whiskies.

rye whiskey wheat in the background



  • Made from: Malted barley in pot stills and from malted and unmalted barley or other cereals in paten stills
  • Made in: Distilled and matured in Scotland
  • The process: Matured in oak casks with a period of maturation no less than three years. A minimum alcoholic strength of 40 percent by volume is required.


Irish Whiskey

  • Made from: A blend of malted and unmalted barley in the pot still phase
  • Made in: Distilled and matured in Ireland
  • The process: The malted barley is dried over peat smoke. Irish whiskey is made from kiln-dried barley and tastes more of the grain itself. It is triple-distilled.


Thirsty? Shop our online store for some Texas whiskey gear. Better yet, swing by the distillery for a tour and some samples.

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