Home Business Insights & Advice Decant: What are the different types of whisky? A comprehensive guide

Decant: What are the different types of whisky? A comprehensive guide

by Sarah Dunsby
11th Dec 23 2:21 pm

For generations, whisky has been enjoyed because of its unique taste and delicate notes. The drink has gained fandom in every corner of the world.

There are so many types of whisky that newcomers might need guidance to discern the different types around.

As Decant is launching, we wanted to provide this article to look at some of the different types of whisky and what makes them so special.


Protected by UK law, Scotch whisky is a favourite among connoisseurs. There are restrictions for those who want to call their whisky ‘Scotch’, but broadly speaking, it needs to be produced in Scotland using water and distilled barley that has been matured in an oak cask no larger than 700 litres for at least three years and have an ABV content of no less than 40%.

The stipulations are in place to protect producers of the traditional methods and ensure the highest standards are met. There is even a strict verification process for this title.

Single Malt

Not exclusive to Scotland are Single Malt whiskies. This variety of whisky is typically made from malted barley from only one distillery.

Some people tend to associate Single Malt and Scotch but, in theory, Single Malt can be made anywhere in the world, like Ireland, Japan, or Canada, for instance. We can help you step into the world of cask whisky investment and management at Decant.


A blended whisky is routinely made using different types of malted barley from different distilleries to produce a wider canvas of flavours. Scotch whisky can also be of the blended variety but there are plenty of blended products that aren’t classified as Scotch.

Rather than sticking to one distillery’s distinctive style, different types of whisky are combined to create interesting flavours, depending on your preference.

Single Grain

It’s a common misconception that Single Malt and Single Grain are the same thing, but it’s important to note the differences. Single Grain whisky is made at one distillery but doesn’t use malted barley. Instead, rye or corn, as we see frequently in the USA, tends to be used and it doesn’t need to be malted either.

The rules on production of this type of whisky vary from country to country so defining it can have stipulations depending on where it’s produced.


As the name suggests, Irish Whiskey (as it’s spelt there) must be produced on the island of Ireland. Peat isn’t as commonly used in production in Ireland as it is in Scotland, for example, so you could encounter a lighter, and even spicier, drink rather than the smoky notes Scotch can contain.

The use of column stills and pot stills together is common in Ireland, contributing to its unique flavour.

There are numerous other types of whisky for you to explore, or maybe wine is more to your taste. For everything else related to this, explore our website for all the information.

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