The Increasing Demand for Grain Whiskey

More and more people are discovering and enjoying whiskey, and grain whiskey in particular is becoming popular. They love grain whiskey for its versatility in flavor profiles opening the genre up to a wider spectrum of tastes. When it comes to rebranding whiskey, millennials are leading the charge by emphasizing skill and history and allowing the spirit to do the talking.

What Is Grain Whiskey?

Grain whiskey is distinct from single malt whiskey because it uses ingredients other than malted barley. Grain whiskey is made by combining malted barley with various grains, such as wheat, rye, corn, and others. For instance, wheat and corn are gentler in flavor, but rye is robust and spicy. Whiskies produced from either malt or grain are referred to as “single” whiskeys when they are produced in the same distillery.

Shifting Perspectives on Blended Whiskies

Due to the recipe that produced a whiskey with less flavor, grain whiskey got a negative rap in the US in the past. The distillation of grain whiskey as a premium product, distinct from its inferior relative malt whiskey, is changing this perception.

With a variety of grains to choose from, distillers can experiment with different mixes to find the perfect one, all while keeping an eye on quality. The term “blend” is now more often used to describe an opportunity to create novel and varied whiskey products, rather than a diluted one. A high-quality flavor spectrum entices more tasters, who will all be able to discover a flavor they love.

Who Made the Grain Whiskey and Why?

Raising the bar for flavor is just one factor in grain whiskey’s meteoric climb to fame. Along with the interest in learning the process of making grain whiskey, the desire to know the history of whiskey is on the rise.

Covert stills emitted a rebellious light during Prohibition, a period that aimed to destroy the whiskey spirit. Thanks to their cunning ways of dodging the police, bootleggers gained the status of folk heroes. Their daring and tenacious stories made the whiskey they loved that much more interesting. With each drink, you’re whisked away to a bygone era when the essence of liberty was concocted in secrecy, shielded from curious gazes but never forgotten.

Now we’re talking about a brand that has been there for a long time, and its great quality has enchanted not just regular people but also presidents. Not only is this brand a drink, but it also has a long history dating back 250 years. It captures the changing nature of grain whiskey from an everyday drink to an elegant status symbol. Its longevity through the ages attests to the dedication of its creators to quality and invention, guaranteeing its position in history books and among collectors’ cherished possessions.

At the same time, modern bootleggers in the Middle East bring an unexpected twist to the story. These counterculture whiskey pioneers are keeping the essence of whiskey alive in places where it is socially unacceptable or even illegal. The tales they tell add a thrilling new chapter to the whiskey drama, one that is full of danger and the excitement of going against the grain. This element of surprise and tension not only underscores the universal appeal of whiskey but also its power to unite people across cultures and circumstances.

Common Misconceptions About Grain Whiskies

  • Grain Whiskies Are Inferior to Malt Whiskies: Many assume grain whiskies are less refined than malt whiskies, overlooking the craftsmanship involved in their production.
  • Lack of Complexity: There’s a myth that grain whiskies are not as complex or deep in flavor as malts, which isn’t true given the diverse flavor profiles they offer.
  • Only Suitable for Blending: While grain whiskies are key components in blends, they can also stand alone as premium, enjoyable spirits.
  • Shorter Aging Requirement: The belief that grain whiskies don’t benefit from long aging periods underestimates their capacity to develop rich, nuanced flavors over time.
  • Grain Whiskies Have a Homogeneous Taste: Contrary to belief, grain whiskies exhibit a vast range of flavors influenced by the grains used, distillation methods, and aging processes.
  • They’re Less Expensive Because They’re Lower Quality: Price doesn’t always reflect quality. Grain whiskies can offer exceptional taste and complexity, often at a more accessible price point.
  • Grain Whiskies Don’t Age Well: Grain whiskies can age gracefully, developing intricate flavors over time, similar to their male counterparts.
  • They Are Less Natural Than Malt Whiskies: The production of grain whiskies involves processes as natural and traditional as those used for malt whiskies.
  • Grain Whisky Production Is Less Artisanal: The creation of grain whisky involves a high level of craftsmanship and innovation, challenging the misconception that it’s purely industrial.

Top 6 Grain Whiskeys For 2024

Redbreast 12-Year-Old Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

You will encounter juicy fruits dancing on your tongue, and then a tantalizing mix of spices will wake you up. The toasted wood taste stays, giving it a warm and comforting finish that hints at Irish tradition, just when you think it can’t get any better.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel-Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon

This is Bourbon in its purest form—unapologetically bold and undeniably authentic. There is an unmistakable aroma of charred oak and caramelized sugar. The true essence of bourbon shines through, leaving a lasting impression that speaks to the soul of American whiskey craftsmanship.

Nikka From the Barrel Japanese Whisky

Tradition meets innovation in a harmonious blend of malt and grain whiskies. You will be met with rich aromas of sherry and bourbon casks. From the sweet richness of caramel to the subtle hints of oak and spice, it’s a whisky that pays homage to its heritage while paving the way for new horizons in Japanese whisky craftsmanship.

Michter’s US1 Small Batch Bourbon

Michter’s US1 Small Batch Bourbon greets you with a luxurious complexity that tantalizes the taste buds. Picture yourself indulging in the luscious sweetness of caramel and honey, balanced perfectly by a medley of ripe fruits.

GlenDronach 18-Year-Old Allardice Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

This brings you to the misty Highlands of Scotland. Here, time-honored tradition meets innovation in a whisky that’s as rich in history as it is in flavor. With each sip, you’re enveloped in a symphony of flavors – from the indulgent richness of dark chocolate to the succulent sweetness of ripe fruits. It’s a whisky that captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression on the palate.

WhistlePig 10-Year-Old Straight Rye Whiskey

From the heart of the Rye whiskey country, boldness meets sophistication in a whiskey that’s as smooth as it is complex. It offers notes of caramel and oak that dance across your palate with effortless grace.

The personal tales of the distillers and the history of their distilleries provide a human dimension to the whiskey experience by sharing the whys and hows of their entry into the whiskey game. Grain whiskey is becoming more popular due to the efforts of dedicated distillers who supply a diverse group of whiskey drinkers with high-quality flavor alternatives. And as more and more people buy whiskey, standards for quality can change. Grain whiskey offers a multitude of entry points for new whiskey enthusiasts, from flavor to story.