Whiskey is one of the top, if not the most popular, spirits in the world today, and can also be one of the most expensive. The price of whiskey has seen itself rise over the past number of years, and the price increase is due in part to its popularity among drinkers, as well as other industry and economic factors. Whiskey is one of the most regulated spirits around today, with controls dictating what it must be made from, how it should be distilled, and the wood barrel aging process.
Whisky vs Whiskey
To put this debate to bed, the difference in spelling is simply a matter of preference. While the US and Ireland use the spelling without the “e”, i.e. Whisky, other regions of the world prefer the spelling with the “e”, i.e. Whiskey. Although there is some ongoing debate as to other reasons for this, most believe that it boils down to a simple regional preference.
Types of Whiskey
There are 3 distinct types of whiskeys, and each have key parts and characteristics that make them unique:
- Bourbon – comes from the “Old Bourbon” region of Kentucky in the United States, and is made from corn. It is aged in new charred casks and must be aged for no less than a period of two years.
- Rye – As the name suggests, Rye whiskey is made using primarily Rye, at least 51% in fact. It is similarly aged in new charred casks, and is aged for at least two years.
- Scotch – the most popular of all whiskeys is made and comes from Scotland, hence the name. It is aged in Oak barrels for at least three years, and is produced from Barley.
Price Influencers of Whiskey
Nowadays whiskeys range from the most budget options, to the ridiculously premium, and these are the Factors of Whiskey Pricing that have a major influence on the production cost, and ultimate price of this fine beverage.
Age is not necessarily indicative of price, it can however be a good indicator. Aging whiskey in a barrel has much to do with the climatic conditions of the region. Warmer climate helps the whiskey to mature faster, while colder climates, such as Scotland, allow the whiskey to mature at a slower rate. Well aged whiskeys are generally more expensive and are often rare.
Barrel pricing is a fluctuating cost that the industry has to take into consideration, multiple factors influencing this cost. The increased demand for whiskey and subsequent barrel demand increase has influenced the cost of whiskeys around the world. Aged barrels are particularly expensive and hard to come by, driving up the overall whiskey price.
Single Malt Whiskey
Although single malt does not mean it is more or less expensive than other whiskeys, it simply means that this whiskey is produced using only a single, independent malt.
Single Barrel Whiskeys
Single barrel generally means that this whiskey has been bottled from a single barrel, and has not been blended and bottle with those from other barrels. The limited bottles produced from a single barrel are the reason for the premium price usually found on single barrel whiskeys.
Whiskey lives in a category all unto itself, and its cult following is evidence thereof. But before embarking on a price hunt for your favored brand, it’s best to consider that taste is everything, and what you should be looking for as a whiskey drinker.
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