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Rum aging in casks. Photo courtesy Mount Gay Rum.



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March 2006
Last Updated March 2012

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cocktails & Spirits

Whiskey Types & Whiskey Information

Glossary Page 2: Terms Starting With C-F


This is Page 2 of a four-page whiskey glossary. The glossary is a companion piece to our overview article about whiskey, Whiskey 101. Please contact us if you’d like to suggest additional terms. The Whiskey Glossary is just one of many Food Glossaries. Take a look at the entire collection.


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Canadians spell “whisky” without the “e,” as do the Scots and most other countries except Ireland and the U.S. (see whiskey). The Canadians produce both Bourbon-style whiskey, made with rye (e.g. Canadian Club, Crown Royal and Seagram’s VO) and Scotch-style whiskey made with barley (e.g. Canadian Mist). Canadian whisky tends to be smoother and lighter than American Bourbon. It is always wood-aged for a minimum of three years, often in casks previously used for Bourbon, brandy or sherry, to provide extra flavor components.


The wooden barrel in which whiskey is stored to mature.


A patent still, or continuous still, invented by Irishman Aeneas Coffey, a former government excise (tax) official. His invention allows the continuous distillation of wash. See Continuous Still.


Called variously a column still, patent still or Coffey still after its inventor, the mechanism has two columns. The two columns enable fractional distillation—a column still can achieve a higher level of vapor alcohol content than a pot still.


Corn whiskey is the least refined of American whiskey products: harsh and without complexity. It is made from a mash of least 80% maize (corn), distilled to not more than 80% alcohol by volume. It does not have to be aged and, if it is, by law it must be aged in new, uncharred oak barrels or used uncharred barrels (all other American whiskies must be aged in charred barrels, which provide extra flavor). Aging usually is six months. Moonshine is corn whiskey.


Barley or other grain is soaked in water, then spread to dry and malt (germinate). With Scotch, the malted barley is dried further over peat to provide flavor. It is ground to grist; grist is mixed with water into mash. During mashing, the enzymes in the malt (malted barley) break down into sugars. The liquid extracted from the mash, called the wort, contains the sugars that will be fermented and distilled into alcohol.


Spent solids of grain left over from the brewing process. Removed from the mash tun, these wastes are normally sold as livestock feed.


The impure spirit produced from the end of the second distillation.


An active period during the brewing process when yeast reacts with the sugar-rich wort.


See wash backs.


“New” whiskey that has been filled into wood casks prior to being matured.


The oily spirit produced at the start of each “run” from the stills.


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