Whisky 101 – World Whisky Day

How well do you know your whisky?

What is whisky made from? What’s the correct way to spell it? Are single malts better than blends? If you just answered ‘yes’ then you need to read on… This World Whisky Day (19 May), take some time out to get to know your favourite tipple!


1.       Whisky is made from just three ingredients: water, barley and yeast.


2.       To be called Scotch whisky, the liquid must be aged in oak casks for a minimum of 3 years in Scotland.


3.       Whisky spelt without an ‘e’ is made in Scotland. Whiskey spelt with an ‘e’ refers to Irish and American whiskey.


4.       Single malt whisky is distilled at one distillery, and then matured and bottled there.


5.       Blended whisky is not inferior to single malt whisky; in fact, it’s the most popular of all types of whisky and is driving category growth both globally and in South Africa!


6.       Master Blenders produce blends by mixing different whiskies of different ages and flavours to get the perfect balance. Let’s take Bannermans Scotch Whisky for example: it is blended using more aged malt than traditional blends – 5 – 6-year old malts rather than the traditional 3-year old malts used in many blends – resulting in a bolder, more complex flavour and a longer, smoother finish.


7.       Whisky flavours are developed in the distillation process. The slower the process, the fruitier the whisky owing to the liquid’s prolonged contact with the copper still, as in the case of Bannermans.


8.       Whisky flavours are largely derived from the casks the liquid is matured in. Bannermans is matured in ex-Spanish sherry casks, balanced with ex-Bourbon casks, creating a rich, smooth character.


9.       Sherry casks are significantly more expensive than any others because less sherry is being consumed than whisky and so the demand for these casks is higher than supply.


10.   There is no ‘right’ way to drink whisky. Says owner of premium drinks company, Truman & Orange, Rowan Leibbrandt, “Bannerman’s is beautifully-made so it’s great on cool evenings in a short glass with only a block or two of ice, or on warm afternoons or evenings in a tall glass with lots of ice to create a refreshing, long drink… But on nights out, we even recommend drinking it over ice, mixed with coke or ginger ale. We aren’t precious about how you enjoy it, as long as you’re enjoying it!”

The ‘banner man’ was the king’s standard bearer who had the honour of carrying his flag into war.  Retailing at competitive R220 – 240 per bottle, Bannerman’s Finest Scotch Whisky embodies Truman & Orange’s entrepreneurial bravery and their vision of changing the drinks landscape in SA driven by the ‘drink better’ motto. Available at all good liquor stores. For more information visit: www.trumanandorange.com