Grain whisky has been produced for over 100 years but it still manages to slip under the radar of many a whisky drinker.
As the name suggests grain whisky is a combination of different grains which are then used to create a different style of whisky. The grains used in the production of grain whisky can vary but are usually a mixture made up of maize, rye, wheat and, essentially, malted barley.
The other big difference between single grain whisky and single malt whisky comes in the production process. Firstly, grain whisky is made on a tremendously large scale compared to the small batch process that is used the make single malt whisky. This means that it is significantly less expensive and also means that it can be used on a much larger scale. Most grain whisky that is produced is used to create blended whisky; the economic backbone of the Scotch whisky industry. The second big difference in the production process comes in the form of distillation. While single malt whisky is distilled in copper pot stills, grain whisky is distilled in continuous stills. As the name suggests these stills run in a non-stop fashion and they tend to produce a very light, fresh spirit. The invention of these stills in 1830 by Aeneas Coffey revolutionised distilling and opened up a whole new style of whisky in Scotland.
Although it has traditionally been used for blended whiskies grain whisky has become a more respected spirit in its own right in the past few years. With whisky companies like Compass Box embracing the spirit as well as a raft of independent bottlers releasing expressions it seems that grain whisky is now being seen in a different light.
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