In the value chain of whiskey, single malt whisky stands proudly as the king all year round. With its rare vintages and single-barrel wines, the single-malt whisky has repeatedly sold the price of a single bottle at the price of first-tier cities. The blended whiskies produced by Johnnie Walker and Suntory, relying on excellent quality and excellent packaging (such as expensive bottles), have also made the limelight; however, when it comes to grain whiskey, let alone on the auction house, even on amazon. It is rarely seen. Is it possible that it is only worthy of a supporting role in the corner of the whisky world?
Don’t rush to conclusions. The beauty of grain whiskey will only be known after you have tried it. Let’s start from the beginning.
What is grain whiskey?
At the level of whiskey raw materials, the Scottish law divides whiskey into five major categories:
• Single malt whisky
• Single Grain Whiskey
• Blended pure malt whisky
• Blended grain whiskey
• Blended whiskey
Among them, grain whiskey occupies two categories, namely single grain whiskey and blended grain whiskey. What is single grain whiskey?
• “Single” emphasizes the distillery, requiring that all the original whiskey in a certain wine must be distilled in the same distillery, not to say that only one grain can be used.
• “Cereal” emphasizes the type of raw material. Grain whiskey can use malted barley, but it must be used in conjunction with other grains, such as corn, wheat, oats, rye or unmalted barley; of course, malted barley is not required. .
Nikka Coffey Grain is an excellent entry-level single-grain whisky
The legal definition of grain whiskey is more broad in some countries. For example, in the United States, a certain winery exported from Japan to the United States uses rice to produce it and matures in oak barrels. It can also be called shochu or awamori in the United States. Single-grain whiskey (blurred from traditional Japanese shochu or Awamori). Decades ago, China also produced blended whiskey with sorghum as raw material. If the distillery is alive, maybe China can also produce single-grain whiskey with sorghum as the main raw material.
Summarize the definition of Scottish single-grain whiskey: In a single distillery, whiskey distilled with water and grains (which may or may not contain malted barley) is called single-grain whiskey.
A glimpse of the famous single-grain whisky distillery North British
The concept of blended grain whiskey is well understood. The blended whiskey distilled by two or more distilleries is a blended grain whiskey.
After understanding the concept of grain whiskey, we proceed to explore its flavor. Who said it is light, neutral, and boring, and it is only suitable for blended whiskey?
- The flavor of grain whiskey
- In the 190 years after the birth of the continuous distiller (or column distiller), the grain whiskey and the malt whiskey coexisted harmoniously, fulfilling the duties of the green leaves with low eyebrows. It smoothed the malt whiskey with its soft and graceful flavor. edges and corners. As the basis for shaping the flavor of blended whiskey, it competently highlights the mellow aroma of each wine. This low-key base wine mainly presents aromas of honey, flowers, fruits, citrus, cream and spices. So, is grain whiskey really unknown and nowhere to be found? In fact, this is not the case. Here are some representative wines of well-known grain whiskeys.
(1) The representative of honey and cream flavor-Loch Lomond Single Grain
Loch Lomond is a rare all-rounder in the Scotch whisky distillery. It has four different distillers that can produce single malt, single grain and (single distillery) blended whisky by itself.
This wine is known for its fresh malt aroma and has a frankincense characteristic similar to Shunde buffalo double skin milk. The smelling part is composed of leisurely cream, dense malt, honey, cheesecake, milk chocolate, red bean paste double skin milk and Sydney juice, which is sweet and smooth. The taste buds and the smelling part are in the same line, the difference is that it has a stronger sense of strength, a unique oily malt fragrance, and the sulfur flavor substance in the tail rhyme, which is very special.
Its sky is light and full of malt aroma, it is good for making summer cocktails and pure drinks.
It is worth noting that the raw materials of this wine are all malt, but it is distilled using a continuous distiller. Because of the Scottish law: As long as the whiskey is distilled by a continuous distiller, regardless of whether the raw material is malt or grain, it can only be counted as a grain whiskey. Therefore, this single “grain” whisky from Lomain Lake is a rare “rare species” in the Scotch whisky world.
(2) Representatives of flowers and fruits — Suntory Chita
Japan’s three major whisky giants have all produced single-grain whiskey products, which have repeatedly won first prizes in international spirits competitions. Suntory’s single-grain whisky brand is Chita (Chita), which focuses on a light-bodied, non-aged “Japanese fine wine” that can be purchased at Japanese convenience stores. In fact, Chita Distillery not only produces light basic wines, it also produces grain whiskeys of different body thicknesses based on Suntory’s meticulous blending strategy, but they are rarely available.
Chita has youthful fragrance of flowers and summer fruits. Flowers, grass, honey, green apples, white melons, fruit cakes and light yogurt make up the briskness that people will never tire of. In the taste bud part, the mixed aromas of butter biscuits, honey, honeydew melon, cheesecake and milk chocolate are harmonious and sweet.
The wine is full of youthful innocence, and the fragrance of the wine is more elegant than many malt whiskies in the Speyside region. Although it is a non-aged wine, it has no alcohol stimulation. It is worth a try. It is suitable for pure drinking, adding ice and making cocktails.
(3) Representative of citrus and spices-Haig Club Single Grain
After Beckham retired, he and Diageo established a whisky brand, Haig. In addition to its cool appearance and smooth flavor, the irritation of the new wine when opening the bottle is still slightly heavier.
The scent is mixed with fruit, desserts and grains, with aromas of green apple, citrus peel, mango flesh, butter biscuits, orange sugar, banana pie, toffee, coconut milk and hay. The taste buds are filled with toffee, vanilla, lemon oil, banana and spices, simple and generous.
It is a bit too strong in the direction of sweetness, and the balance of flavors is not good. Fortunately, it is very smooth after adding ice, suitable for all kinds of party and night booze.
The above three wines are considered entry-level wines in the grain whiskey category. They have a soft fragrance and light body, which are helpful for us to get a glimpse of the flavor of grain whiskey. In addition to the above six types of notes, grain whiskey has other unique grain aromas, similar to the aromas of peanut butter, cereal bars and roasted grains. Of course, the flavor wheel of the grain whiskey family is much more than these. Next, let’s see how it makes the flavor wheel splash.
(4) Representative of aroma explosion-Compass BoxHedonism
The blender Compass Box has a distinctive blended grain whisky series called Hedonism. Compass Box selects base wines from a number of grain whiskey distilleries in Scotland, and combines heavy cream, roasted honey, soufflé and coconut oil into a cannon sequence.
Hedonism basically launches a batch every year, and there are often various limited editions on the market. The blending formulas of these wines are all different.
The one that I have tasted is quite unique. From the beginning, it took out the oily sweetness of heavy cream and roasted honey to bombard the sense of smell, and then cast the aroma of French souffle, caramel nut cake, and concentrated honey grapefruit tea, which made people overwhelmed. After enjoying all this, it will leave a touch of coconut cream and bitter fragrance dipped in orange peel on the tip of the tongue, which will really make sense.
Although its flavor is not that complicated, it can play all the basic flavors to the extreme and master everything. In short, Hedonism helped me understand the powerful plasticity of grain whiskey.
(5) The representative of Qi Guan Changhong-North British Grain 32 Year old from the Cadenhead’s
To talk about the top flavor of grain whiskey, try the 30-year-old wine-North British Grain 32 Year old from the Cadenhead’s. In the single-grain whiskey distillery, North British is the source of the royal base for the big-name blended whiskies such as Johnnie Walker, J&B Rare, the Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark. Not only is it of high quality, it is also a master of sherry casks.
Its fragrant white flowers and bursts of summer and autumn fruit scents adorn the initial smelling experience, and the blend of West Asian spices is also very attractive. The aroma of vanilla cake poured with honey and syrup is reverberated with the aroma of crushed nuts and citrus essential oil. The taste buds are thick and unusual, the initial stage is dark chocolate, roasted cashews, cinnamon powder, clove spice; ripe cherries, fermented bayberry, watertight peach and fresh longan closely follow; the ending is based on fig jam and chestnut jam. On the top, the sweetness of maple syrup and the bitter coffee aroma are added.
Its rich and calm smell and burst of taste buds are amazing. I have never found this kind of powerful wine in non-aged or low-age grain whiskeys. Does this mean that grain whiskeys can only be matured for many years to be so delicate and beautiful?
Older grain whiskeys are good, but they are not wonderful. There are some blacklisted wines, please keep your eyes on it.
(6) The dull representative-Kujira 20 Years Old
In recent years, Japanese shochu or awamori, which is distilled from rice as the raw material and matured in oak barrels, has been popular in Japan, packaged as single-grain whiskey, sold to North America (mainly the United States), and is more popular in North America (this is Act permitted by U.S. law). This type of spirit has existed in Japan since ancient times, but it has always been called shochu or awamori. Taking advantage of the growing popularity of Japanese whiskey in the world, Japanese traditional shochu and awamori distilleries have entered the water whisky industry. The former local shochu and awamori have transformed into single-grain whisky in North America.
Kujira 20 Years Old is produced by Kumesen Shuzo Co., Ltd., an Awamori brewery in Okinawa. The scent part has a slight alcohol irritation. It carries the aroma of fruits, the smell of rice shochu and koji, accompanied by the sweetness of dried plums, dried plums, applesauce, lactose, caramel cake, Sydney juice and orange jam; The finishing touch is also a little firm and delicate wooden barrel scent. It has no odor, it is very fresh, and it sounds good?
When it comes to the taste buds, it collapses completely, and the excellent flavor disappears. The combination of dry oak, apple seeds, dried fruit, nuts, sesame oil and light spices is short and weak. It is like brandy mixed with water. It is extremely boring and expensive, and it is not worth a try.
The final summary. Although the non-aged entry-level grain whiskey has a slightly lagging flavor, it is not “unflavored”. If you really want to understand the world of grain whiskey, Compass Hedonism and North British Grain 32 Year old from the Cadenhead’s are the first steps to take you into the door of grain whiskey, and there are more flavors in the world of grain whiskey. Waiting for you to explore slowly!
What is your impression of grain whiskey? Have you ever had an impressive grain whiskey? Welcome everyone to leave a message and talk about the big things and small things about grain whiskey.