Drinks Zone logo
Drinks Zone
Making different types of whisky - Whisky delivery Nairobi

Making different types of whisky - Whisky delivery Nairobi

The whisky world is very complicated and full of different whisky types giving whisky lovers a real treat and enjoyment. It is a very diverse spirit style, offering something for everyone. With such great diverse styles and different types, whisky commands a legion of fans across the world. Different regions globally produce this fine spirit bringing to the table unique whisky characteristics, taste, and aroma. It is not easy to explore the entire whisky world, and it may take a lifetime. This makes whisky such an interesting and enjoyable spirit that usually graces most of our evenings, occasions, and weekend hangouts. But how best do you know about this loved fine spirit?

Whisky - spelled with an 'e' in Ireland and across America is a very famous type of distilled spirit. It is made from grain mash, fermented, distilled, and matured in oak barrels usually made of charred white oak. Like all other types of spirits, the base product varies and tends to be linked with the location grains are farmed and where the distillery is located. It is a strictly regulated alcoholic beverage worldwide with many classes and types. The typical unifying characteristics of the different types of whisky brands are the grains fermentation, distillation, and wood barrels aging processes. As a very popular alcoholic beverage, whisky manages to find its way into many nations' cultures. But do you know how that whisky brand you cherish is made? We may not be experts on whisky making, but with the knowledge acquired over time in the alcohol industry, we will enlighten you on the basics of making whisky. Let us scratch the whiskey world surface, take a closer look at how whiskey is made, and the different whiskey types.

Whisky making process

 At the heart of every whisky, it has grain (barley, corn, wheat, and rye), water, and yeast. For Scotch whisky, it must contain malted barley. Water is considered an essential factor in making good whiskey. It should be clean and free from impurities such as iron. The Scottish pride themselves on their water source as it is the cleanest in the world, making Scotch whisky have a unique taste. The grains are inspected and cleaned to remove all unwanted foreign particles. The kind of grain used varies with the type of whiskey being made, though all whiskies contain some amount of malted barley needed to start the fermentation process. Different grains have different sugar content level, which influences the sweetness taste of various whisky. I.e., corn whiskey is sweeter than rye or wheat whiskey since corns have higher sugar content. Every distillery maintains a reliable supply of yeast.


  • Corn adds sweetness flavors and yields higher alcohol content than other grains.
  • Barley adds a rich malty, and toasty taste.
  • Rye adds a more pronounced spicy and earthy flavor.
  • Wheat is neutral, creamy, and soft, and it imparts more flavors from the oak barrels used.

Various types of whiskies production vary depending on the style being made, the country produced in, among other factors. However, the general production process of all types of whisky remains the same in most cases. Although the primary methods for producing whisky are very similar, it is worth noting that each distillery has its unique specifications, layout, and general presentation, priding themselves on their successes and uniqueness. Here is the general process of making various types of whisky you encounter in liquor stores;








All whiskies types start as raw grain, which has to be specially treated. The barley malt is produced by moistening the best quality barley and then spreading it out on malting floors to germinate – the malting process. The malt is regularly turned to prevent the buildup of heat. During this process, enzymes are activated, converting the barley's starch into sugar when malting occurs. After the barley's germination occurs, which takes about six to seven days, this process is interrupted by putting the malt into the kiln for drying using heat, thereby halting germination. The drying heat is kept below at around 70°C to avoid destroying the enzymes. During this stage, peat may be added to the fire to impart smoky flavors.


Mashing is the link between Malt and Fermentation. The mashing process consists of mixing cooked grain with malted barley and warm water. The grains are crushed to break down the cellulose walls that contain starch granules and make the starch more available for enzyme action. The dried malt is ground into a grist or coarse flour, put in a large tank called a mash tun or tub, and mixed with hot water. The water is added in 3 stages, with each stage getting hotter. The mash is stirred, allowing enzyme in the malted barley converts starch in grains into sugars. A sweet sugary liquid is known as wort or mash is produced that can now be fermented. 


The fermentation takes place in giant vats, usually called washbacks. In Scotland, it is generally closed and open in the United States. The mash/wort is cooled and transferred to the fermentation vessel. Yeast is added to begin fermentation. The living yeast organisms convert the sugars in the mash/wort to alcohol. The fermentation length varies from distillery to distillery, which may take 2 to 4 days, depending on desired characteristics. The different fermentation times, temperatures, and yeast strains contribute to diverse flavors of the whisky. Primarily fermentation ends when there is no more sugar for the yeast to transform, and the alcoholic concentration of the wash rises too high. The resulting liquid is called distiller's beer or wash. Wash has an alcohol concentration of around 6%-10% ABV, which is excellent for beer, but not for whisky.


The distillation process takes place in a still vessel usually made of copper. The distilling process increases the liquor alcohol content and brings out volatile components, both good and bad. The distillation temperature and other factors determine the proportions of water, alcohol, and other substances called congeners in the final product. This process also helps to strip spirits of unwanted flavor and aroma compounds. The two most common types of distilling stills are pot stills and column stills, which function differently. With either method, the initial distillation product known as low wine is distilled a second time, and a new product known as high wine or new whiskey is produced. The new whisky contains about 70% alcohol. If it contains above 95% alcohol, it is known as neutral grain spirit. This neutral spirit is often used to add alcohol without adding taste during blending.

Pot still distillation

In some mysterious way, the still pot's shape affects the character of the individual malt whisky. It is usually used in the production of malt whiskies, though not always. Pot still distillation is a batch process. Some styles of whiskies use double-distillation, while others are distilled three times. The wash/distiller's beer is put into the first still, often called the low wines still, where the still is heated just below the water boiling point. The alcohol and other compounds vaporize, passing over the still neck into either a condenser or water-cooled copper tube called a worm, where the vapor is condensed into a liquid. The worm is a large copper coil immersed in cold running water, which condenses the vapor into a liquid. The resulting liquid, which is about 20% alcohol level ABV, goes into the second still, or spirit still, and the process is repeated. After this, a third distillation can occur, resulting in a final liquor with about 60%-70% ABV. The distiller may discards or reserves a certain amount of liquor at the beginning and the end of the run referred to as heads and tails. This is due to their unwanted flavors and aromas. The rest, known as the heart, goes into barrels. Pot stills are often used to make whiskey in Scotland and Ireland. France uses pot still process in making brandy.

Column still distillation

Column stills are also known as continuous distillation or Coffey stills. In this process, alcohol is distilled continually rather than batch by batch. This process is mostly used to produce American whiskey, rye whisky, and grain whiskies. Most modern distilleries use a column still. The column still works efficiently and continuously, eliminating the need for the pot still batch process. It consists of a tall cylindrical column filled with a series of perforated plates. The wash/distiller's beer is fed into the column still at the top and starts flowing downwards, passing through a perforated plates series. Steam enters the still from the bottom. Hot steam rises from the still bottom, interacting with the beer as it flows down through the plates, separating the solids and unwanted substances. The lighter alcohol vapors are pushed up and directed into a condenser and condensed into a liquid. When the vapors hit the plate, they condense, eliminating heavy substances like congeners and increasing the alcohol content. Column stills can produce a 95% ABV spirit, although most whiskies are distilled to lower proof.              


Whisky maturation is the time between distillation and bottling. Whisky aging is a complex process and takes place in the cask, and unlike wine, whisky does not mature further once bottled. During aging, the whiskey interacts with the barrel, changing the end product's chemical makeup and taste. While aging, the whisky goes through; extraction, evaporation, oxidation, concentration, filtration, and coloration processes that define eventual whisky flavor. The maturation imparts whisky smoothness, flavor, and each whisky's distinctive characteristics. Whisky color ranging from pale, light gold to rich amber is influenced by the type of cask used and length of maturation.

Scotch whiskeys are aged in cool and wet conditions so that it absorbs some moisture and become less alcoholic. American whiskeys are aged in warmer and drier conditions so as to lose water and become more alcoholic. By law, 'Scotch whisky' must be aged in oak casks for a minimum of 3 years but can rest in wood for longer. Whiskey is aged in wooden barrels made from charred white oak. This is so because white oak is one of the woods that can hold a liquid without leaking and allows the water in the whiskey to move back and forth within the wood's pores, which helps to add flavor. American whiskey must be matured in new charred oak barrels, while for other countries, the type of oak, new or once used cask, is left up to the producer decision. Some distillers prefer aging their whisky in barrels previously used for other spirits to add additional or specific flavor profiles. A maximum of 2% of the whisky is allowed to evaporate from the cask each year - the 'Angels' Share.


Once matured, the final spirit - whisky is bottled at least 40% alcohol by volume (ABV), ready to be shipped to various liquor stores, bars, and restaurants. Glass bottles are used to store mature whiskey since they do not react with it to change the flavors. The glass bottles are moved down to the conveyor belt as they are cleaned, filled, capped, sealed, and labeled. It may be chill-filtered or filtered in another way to prevent it from becoming cloudy when cold water or ice is added.

Whisky quality

Good quality whisky is more of whisky-making art skills and quality of raw materials than science. However, the whisky maker needs to take some precautions to realize the desired high-quality whisky brand. To realize the desired whisky quality, the distiller must ensure;

  • The water used is clean, sourced from the appropriate natural source, and filtered to make it free from organic matter.
  • The grain should be clean and screened to eliminate unwanted grains.
  • The yeast is carefully grown to avoid any possibility of contamination by other microorganisms.
  • The distillation temperature is closely monitored with thermometers in the boiling liquid.
  • During aging, experienced tasters should evaluate a sample of whiskey to determine if it is mature.
  • Master blenders supervise the blending process to produce a final product with the desired characteristics.

Understanding different types of whisky in Kenya

Whisky is an incredibly diverse spirit with different styles and labels that can intimidate newcomers into picking the best whiskey brand compatible with his/her palate. To understand the different types of whisky brands in Kenya, we need to look at various regions that produce this much loved fine spirit. The whiskies produced in each country or specific region are distinct in character because of differences in the method of production, what they're made from, type and the quality of grain used, and water quality. The variations in grains used in the mash bill, barrel type, aging time, and distillation process &technic each region use, also enormous account for the breadth of this wonderful spirit flavors and aroma. Each whisky-producing country has its own set of regulations for producing its whiskies. Combined with their local natural resources and traditions, the set regulations create the foundations for each region's whisky. The most popular types of whisky that dominate our bars and liquor stores can be categorized according to the regions they come from, namely;

Scotland – Scotch whisky

USA - American whiskey (Bourbon & Tennessee)

Ireland - Irish Whisky

Canada - Canadian Whisky

Japan - Japanese Whisky

India - Indian whisky

Scotch whisky

This whisky must be distilled in Scotland and be aged in oak casks for at least three years. Mainly, there are two types of Scotch whiskymalt whisky only made from malted barley and grain whisky made from a combination of malted barley and other grains, like corn or wheat. The other legal distinction in the scotch category is between blended whiskies and single malt/grain whiskies. The Malt Whiskies are divided into specific regions manufactured, with each region having its own clearly defined characteristics. These regions are;

Highland Malt Whiskies - this is Scotland's largest whisky-producing area, covering the Scotland north of Glasgow and Edinburgh. It offers diverse whisky styles.

Lowland Malt Whiskies - this is the second biggest whisky region producing in Scotland, covering the south of Scotland. Lowland whiskies tend to be gentle, sweet, and sweet with no peatiness.

Speyside Malt Whiskies - it is made from the area surrounding the River Spey, located in the northeast of Scotland. Speyside's specific climatic conditions produce a wide range of whiskey of an identifiable character and are famous for sweet single malts whiskies.

Islay Malt Whiskies - this whisky is made from the island of Islay, renowned for its peated whiskies. It is regarded as the heaviest Malt Whiskies.

Campbeltown malt Whiskies - this whisky is made from the Campbeltown peninsula. It is between Arran, Islay, and Northern Ireland, on the west coast. 

Malt Whisky

Malt whiskey might be the most popular type of whisky drink. It is made from three ingredients – water, barley, and yeast. A large part of a malt whisky's flavor depends on the type of barrel used for aging. Scotland's cool and humid climates lend to even and slow maturation, with few malt whiskies available younger than ten years old. This whisky can be peated or unpeated.

Peated style is made with barley that has first been smoked with peat. The peat is used as fuel during the kilning process to impart a smoky flavor. These peat flavors can vary from light to pronounce depending on the amount of peat used. Popular peated whisky brands include; LaphroaigTalisker, and Highland Park.

Unpeated single malt tends to be lighter and fruitier with a sweet malt taste. Well-known unpeated whisky brands include Glenlivet and Glenfiddich whisky brands.

Grain Whisky

Grain Whisky is not as commonly available as malt whisky, and it is made using any grain product as its base. It is never peated and is distilled to a higher degree of rectification, giving it a sweeter, lighter flavor than malt whiskey. Corn, rye, or wheat whiskey must contain at least 51% of the respective grain and age for two or more years and maybe classified as straight grain whiskey style.

Blended Whisky

Blended whisky is the most famous Scotch whisky worldwide. It is made-up of whisky from two or more distilleries. The Master Blenders are tasked to consistently make the same whisky style, carefully balancing the malts' intensity with the grains' lightness and elegance. Usually, there three types of blended whisky:

  • Blended Malt Scotch whisky
  • Blended Grain Scotch whisky
  • Blended Scotch whisky: This whisky is a mixture of malt and grain whisky. 

Single malt Whisky

Single whiskies are made by one distillery with single malt and represent most of the premium whisky brands. Unless they are specifically marked as 'single cask,' they are made by blending whiskies of different casks. The aging statement indicated on the label is for the youngest whisky in the blend. Popular Single Malt Scotch brands include MacallanLagavulinGlenmorangie, and Aberlour.

American Whiskey - Bourbon & Tennessee

American whisky divers from Scotch whisky as the base spirit is created from more than one ingredient. The American distilleries produce the best whisky brands with a unique taste profile for the world to enjoy. These types of whiskey are distilled to no more than 80% ABV. It is crafted from various or specific grains (corn, wheat, rye, oats, and barley) and aged in new charred oak barrels. The percentage of the dominant grains should be at least 51%, known as the 'mash bill.' This grain affects the type and flavor profile of the whisky produced.

Bourbon and Tennessee are the most popular American whiskey. This American whiskey hails from states next to one another are and are some restrictions on their name. Bourbon whiskey is lawfully defined at the federal law level, while Tennessee whiskey is defined at state law. Both Tennessee whiskey and Bourbon whisky are made in almost the same way.

Bourbon whiskey

For a whiskey labeled as bourbon, it must be produced in the U.S. This whiskey is strongly associated with Kentucky. It can also be made anywhere in the world as long as it meets American whiskey's legal requirements. It is usually distilled twice using column stills, and it must contain at least 51% of corn. Bourbon produced within the state of Kentucky can be labeled as Kentucky bourbon. In the U.S., the regulations for labeling and publicizing bourbon only apply to the liquor crafted for consumption within the United States, and it does not apply to distilled spirits made for export. Generally, bourbons share an off-dry, sweet and smooth undertone with varying spice, caramel, coconut, and vanilla notes. The most popular bourbon whiskey is Maker's MarkJim Beam, and Woodford Reserve.

Tennessee Whiskey

Tennessee whisky is a straight Bourbon Whiskey authorized to be produced only in the State of Tennessee. It differs from bourbon and other American whiskies in its use of the Lincoln County Process, which involves the whiskey being filtered through or steeped in maple wood charcoal before being transferred to casks for aging. Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey is the top-selling American whiskey in the world.

Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey is whiskey produced in Ireland. It is aged in wooden casks for a minimum of three years, though it may be aged for longer. In Europe, it was among the earliest distilled drinks and at one point in time was the world's most popular distilled spirit. The secret for Irish whiskey's popularity was due to the use of huge pure pot stills, which gave this whiskey unmatched consistency. Typically, Irish whiskies are blended, triple distilled, use unmalted barley, and are generally unpeated, giving them a fruity and spicy flavor with a smooth texture that is lauded for. The Irish boast of one of the world's oldest licensed distillery, Bushmills distillery licensed in 1608. The best-selling Irish whiskey brands are Jameson and Tullamore Dew.

Japanese whisky 

Japanese whisky is produced in Japan. It is more similar to Scotch whisky styles than other major regional whisky styles. Japanese whisky has fast developed and has increasingly become famous in its own unique whisky style. It offers the world a distinctive whisky style from smooth, light to smoky style in both categories of single malts and blended whisky. Japan's unique whisky style is attributed to the way their blended whisky. For Scotch whisky, the blending materials may involve malt whiskey from distilleries owned by different companies. However, for Japanese whisky, the industry is vertically integrated, meaning Japanese blended whiskey only contains malt whisky from the distilleries owned by the same company. This type of whiskey is remarkable for its exceptional styles. The use of the peated/unpeated barley, distinct Japanese mizunara oak, and different yeast strains give the Japanese whisky its distinctive character and quality they are lauded for.

Canadian whisky

Canadian whisky style is produced in Canada. This type of whisky is usually referred to as rye whisky. Most Canadian whiskeys are blended and distilled from grains, mostly corns and rye though barley and wheat are also used. Canadian whiskey shares certain characteristics with Scotch whisky; however, it is a unique whisky style of its own. It uses highly-flavorful rye grain in small portions to the mashes and employs unique means of production. This leads to the high demand for rye-flavored whiskey, referring to it simply as "rye." Today, the terms "rye whisky" and "Canadian whisky" are used interchangeably in Canada, and as defined in Canadian law, it refers to the same product. Canada also produces Single Malts, which are distinctive wonderful. The base whiskies are usually distilled at around 180 to190 proof, resulting in lighter in taste spirit, full of flavor compared with others. The flavoring whiskeys are distilled at lower proof so as to retain most of their flavors to achieve the desired flavors.

Indian whisky

Indian whisky is produced in India, and it reigns supreme over other whiskeys in the domestic market. Most of the whiskey labeled as Indian whisky is distilled from fermented molasses and blended from neutral spirits. According to E.U. legislation, due to the use of molasses and neutral alcohol, most Indian whisky does not qualify as whiskey. Indian whisky is outstanding and is of high quality, and loved by whisky lovers. Indian whiskies are generally fruity, malty youthful, and enjoyable.

Now you are informed of the basics of what goes into that best whisky brand you cherish. So confidently dial whisky delivery Nairobi to order your favorite brand, sit back, pour a glass, and enjoy it. With father's day fast approaching, order that whisky he cherishes and give it as a surprise gift. We have a wide range of excellent whiskey brands at very reasonable whisky prices sourced from all over the world, so you have no excuse for not enjoying your favorite dram.