GOURMET WINES AND DRINKS
The history of whisky: from Scotland a drink with millennial appeal
Whiskey is a distilled alcoholic beverage that has a long and rich history in many countries around the world. Often associated with Scotland, whisky is also a beloved drink in Italy. Despite the fact that the tradition of Italian whisky is relatively young, Italian producers have proven that they can produce high-quality whisky that can compete with those produced in other parts of the world.
The exact origin of whiskey is still debated among experts in the field, but it is believed to have originated in Scotland or Ireland during the Middle Ages. Whiskey production began as a way to preserve grains that were dried and then ground to create a kind of flour, which was then fermented with water to create a beverage. This drink was then distilled to remove the water and concentrate the alcohol content. The resulting distillate was then aged in wooden casks to create whiskey.
In Scotland, whiskey began to be produced commercially in the 18th century. Production was particularly popular in the Scottish Highlands, where the presence of many distilleries gave rise to the production of different styles of whiskey.
One of the most common questions that arise about whiskey is the difference between whisky and whiskey. While both beverages are made from fermented and distilled grains, whisky is mainly produced in Scotland, while whiskey is mainly produced in Ireland and the United States. In addition, Scotch whisky is distilled twice, while Irish whiskey is distilled three times. American whiskey, on the other hand, is often aged in American oak casks, while Scotch whisky is often aged in European oak casks.
The process of whiskey production: an artisanal and complex process
Whiskey is a distilled alcoholic beverage that is produced through a complex, artisanal process. In general, the whisky production process consists of five main steps:
- Grain milling: the process begins with the milling of grains that may include barley, rye, corn, wheat or other grains.
- Fermentation: the milled grains are mixed with hot water and left to ferment for several days in large fermentation vats. During fermentation, natural yeasts in the grains convert the sugars into alcohol.
- Distillation: the fermented must is then distilled two or three times in copper stills to remove the water and concentrate the alcohol content.
- Aging: the distillate is aged in wooden barrels for at least three years. During aging, the whiskey acquires the characteristic golden color and unique flavor and aroma derived from the wooden casks.
- Blending: finally, the aged whiskey is blended to achieve the desired flavor and aroma, and is bottled for sale.
Matching whisky with food is a very subjective matter, but generally whisky goes well with aged and hard cheeses, such as cheddar and pecorino, with red meats, such as beef and lamb, but also with smoked fish, such as salmon or swordfish. Finally, we cannot fail to mention dark chocolate and caramel-based desserts, such as crème brûlée: two great classics for pairing with whiskey.
How to recognize a quality whisky: the factors that make the difference
Recognizing a quality whisky is not always easy, but there are some characteristics that can help distinguish a good whisky from a poor one. Here are some factors to consider:
- Quality raw materials: high quality whisky requires high quality raw materials. Look for whiskies made from high-quality grain and fresh spring water.
- Handcrafted production process: whisky production takes time and attention to detail. High-quality whiskies are produced in an artisanal way, with the production process taken care of at every stage.
- Aging in wooden barrels: the period of aging in wooden barrels is important to develop the flavor and aroma of the whisky. Look for whiskies aged in high-quality wooden barrels with an appropriate shelf life.
- Balance between flavor and aroma: Quality whisky should have a balance between flavor and aroma. The flavor should not be too strong or too weak, and the aromas should be balanced and pleasant.
- Provenance: whisky produced in regions with a long tradition of whisky production, such as Scotland or Ireland, tends to have a reputation for high quality.
- Awards and recognition: whiskies that have received awards and recognition from industry organizations or expert judges often stand for high quality.
Remember that personal taste plays an important role in whisky selection. What might be considered high quality by one person may not be considered high quality by another. Tasting different varieties of whiskey and developing one's palate is the best way to find the whiskey that suits one's tastes and preferences.
Whisky tasting guide
Whisky tasting is a unique experience that allows you to appreciate the unique flavor and aroma of this beverage. Here are some tips on how to taste whiskey:
- Get the glass: use a tulip or ballon glass to concentrate the aromas. Tilt the glass at 45 degrees and pour the whiskey so that it hits the opposite side of the glass. Then, rotate the glass gently to make the whiskey adhere to the sides.
- Watch the color: carefully observe the color of the whiskey in the light. A darker whiskey indicates longer aging in wooden barrels.
- Smell the whisky: Gently bring your nose close to the glass and smell the whisky. Try to identify distinct aromas, such as notes of fruit, spice, smoke or vanilla.
- Sip the whiskey: take a small sip of whiskey and let it sit in your mouth for a few seconds. Try to identify distinct flavors, such as notes of caramel, chocolate, dried fruit.
If you are wondering what glasses whiskey is tasted in, you should know that there are different types of glasses, such as the tumbler, which is the most commonly used glass for whiskey. It has a wide and low shape, which allows you to appreciate the flavor and aroma of whiskey. This glass is ideal for low-alcohol whiskies and those served over ice. A Glencairn glass is a specially designed glass designed for whiskey tasting. It has a similar shape to the tasting glass, but with a wider base and a tulip shape that allows the flavor of the whiskey to be better appreciated. Finally, there is the snifter glass, which is a glass with a tulip shape that narrows towards the top. This glass allows the aromas of the whiskey to be better appreciated and concentrated toward the nose. For whiskey-based cocktails, the highball glass is best; this is a tall, narrow glass used for whiskey sour or whiskey and soda.
Choose what to pair with your favorite whisky
Longino & Cardenal
Longino & Cardenal stands today as one of Italy's leading "food globetrotters." With passion and courage it carries out a continuous search for the best raw materials, often little known to most, in order to meet the new trends in consumer behavior that seek excellent products proposed in innovative forms. All our deliveries use specialized, refrigerated couriers.