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This clas­sic Amer­i­can whiskey based on corn mash orig­i­nated in Bour­bon County, Kentucky. Straight bour­bon is made from a mash that is 51–79 per­cent corn. It ages in oak bar­rels for two to four years. Easy-to-find brands in­clude Knob Creek, Jim Beam, and Maker’s Mark.


Dis­tilled ex­clu­sively in Canada, this smooth-fla­vor ver­sion con­tains a blend of rye, corn, wheat, and bar­ley. Look for Crown Royal as a big name brand. Tra­di­tion­ally, Scotch and Cana­dian whisky are spelled with­out an e. But some Amer­i­can ver­sions use that spell­ing as an homage to their Scot­tish roots or to in­di­cate qual­i­ties sim­i­lar to Scotch.


No sur­prise this malted bar­ley whisky can be dis­tilled only in Scot­land. The dis­tinct smoky fla­vor comes from the malted bar­ley, which is dried over peat fires. Johnny Walker is a com­mon brand.


Ir­ish whiskey, such as Tul­lam­ore Dew, is so named be­cause it is dis­tilled only in Ire­land.


An­other Amer­i­can whiskey, this va­ri­ety uses at least 51 per­cent rye in the mash but typ­i­cally also con­tains wheat and bar­ley. Rye whiskey is both smooth and rich with just a hint of spici­ness. Look for brands like Ge­orge Dickel.

Whiskey is a dis­tilled al­co­hol made from fer­mented grains, such as corn, bar­ley, or rye. Here are the dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories within the broader name of whiskey.

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