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Whisky or whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Different grains are used for different varieties, including barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn. Whisky is typically aged in wooden casks, made generally of charred white oak. Whisky is a strictly regulated spirit worldwide with many classes and types. The typical unifying characteristics of the different classes and types are the fermentation of grains, distillation, and aging in wooden barrels.
The word whisky (or whiskey) is an anglicisation of the Gaelic word uisce meaning water. Distilled alcohol was known to the medieval Latins as aqua vitae (water of life) and as aqua fortis (strong water). This was translated to Gaelic as Irish: uisce beatha and Scottish Gaelic: uisge beatha ("lively water" or "water of life"). Early forms of the word in English included uskebeaghe (1581), usquebaugh (1610), usquebath (1621), usquebae (1715).
Single malt Whiskies
New World Whiskies
American whiskey is distilled from a fermented mash of cereal grain. It must have the taste, aroma, and other characteristics commonly attributed to whiskey.
In the rest of the world
"There are 2 things a Highlander likes naked , and the other one is Malt Whisky."
— Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart
It is possible that distillation was practiced by the Babylonians in Mesopotamia in the 2nd millennium BC, with perfumes and aromatics being distilled but this is subject to uncertain and disputable interpretation of evidence. The earliest certain chemical distillations were by Greeks in Alexandria in about the 3rd century (AD), but these were not distillations of alcohol. The medieval Arabs adopted the distillation technique of the Alexandrian Greeks, and written records in Arabic begin in the 9th century, but again these were not distillations of alcohol. Distilling technology passed from the medieval Arabs to the medieval Latins, with the earliest records in Latin in the early 12th century. The earliest records of the distillation of alcohol are in Italy in the 13th century, where alcohol was distilled from wine. An early description of the technique was given by Ramon Llull (1232 – 1315). Its use spread through medieval monasteries, largely for medicinal purposes, such as the treatment of colic, palsy, and smallpox.