Huntsville Irish Christmas
Nollaig Shona Duit

Our 2014 Whiskey Selections: 


Green Spot


Bushmills Honey

Tullamore Dew




Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban

Highland Park 12 year


Balvenie Double Wood





“Whisky” or “Whiskey”?


The term “whiskey” derives from the Gaelic language, one of the ancient tongues of Ireland and Scotland. “Usquebaugh”, translated, means “water of life”.  Whiskey is now used generally to describe distilled spirits. Irish and American whiskies are spelled with an “e”, i.e., whiskey. The “e” is dropped for Scottish and Canadian malts, which are “whisky”.  Only recently have single malt whiskies been recognized as the very finest of distilled spirits, comparing favorably with the best of Cognac and Armagnac.




Malt Whiskey is produced from malted grains of barley. Water is added to the crushed barley malt. Yeast is added and the resulting fermentation produces alcohol. The resulting “ale” is distilled in copper “pot stills” in a process that has remained unchanged for centuries. The distillate is then matured in oakcasks for anywhere from 5 to 50 years. Once the whiskey is bottled, it does not improve or even change so long as the bottle is kept sealed.


Grain Whiskey is made in a similar process.  however, only a portion of the grist is malted barley.  The remainder is usually corn, wheat, rice or rye.  A second difference is that grain whiskey is usually distilled in "patent stills."  A pot still must be filled and then emptied with each batch.  The patent still, designed by an Irishman, flows the ale through a distillation column in a continuous process, eliminating the need for loading and unloading.  The distillation column can be adjusted to allow little or not flabor from the ale to pass into the distillate, essentially producing vodka.  While efficient, patent stills are less likely to produce whiskey with a unique character.


Blended Whiskey is a mixture of malt whiskey and grain whiskey.  The quality of the blend is directly proproational to the amount of malt whiskey in the blend.


Single Malt Whiskey is the product of a single distillery.  It must be made entirely of barley malt.


Vatted Malt Whiskey is a mixture of malt whiskies from two or more distilleries.


Irish Whiskey vs Scotch Whisky


In the process of malting raw barley, the Scots typically dry it over peat fires. The smoke from the peat penetrates the grains of barley malt and gives a distinctive smoky flavor. The Irish dry their grain in closed drum ovens. The grain never comes in contact with smoke. Some feel this allows the true flavor of the malted barley to shine through.


Secondly, Scotch whiskies are distilled twice. Premium Irish whiskies are triple distilled. Each instance of processing through the pot still is said to increase purity and smoothness.

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