Sorry Not Sorry - Debunking 5 Misconceptions About Whiskey

By Craig Ellis
Author Bio: Craig's love for all things whiskey began when he visited his first distillery, Talisker in 2006. During his free time, he likes to visit distilleries around the globe, planning his travel around these locations. Craig created The Pot Still in 2016 when he first started to collect rare and unusual whiskeys. His whiskey collection has grown and grown since. Craig writes and reviews independently and is not commissioned by any brand or distillery. Craig's views and opinions are his own.
Sorry Not Sorry - Debunking 5 Misconceptions About Whiskey

Whiskey Myths

Whiskey has been a beloved spirit for centuries, and it's become even more popular in recent years. But with its rising popularity comes misconceptions about the drink. There are numerous myths floating around about whiskey that make it seem intimidating or inaccessible to those who aren't already in the know. In this post, I'll be debunking five of these common misconceptions so you can feel confident enjoying your favourite whiskey!

Myth #1: All Whiskey is the Same

Myth #1: All Whiskey is the Same

Contrary to popular belief, not all whiskey is created equal. There are many different types of whiskey, each with its own unique character and flavour profile. The most common types of whiskey include bourbon, rye, Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, Canadian whisky and Japanese whisky. Each type has a distinct set of characteristics that make it stand out from the rest.

A Guide To Investing In Whiskey - The Pot Still

Bourbon is made primarily from corn and aged in new charred oak barrels for at least two years. It generally has a sweet and smoky taste with notes of caramelized sugar or vanilla. Rye whiskeys are made mainly from rye grain and have more spice than other whiskeys due to their higher concentrations of rye grain used in production. Scotch whiskies must be aged for at least 3 years in Scotland before they can legally be called “Scotch”; these tend to have strong peaty flavours with hints of smoke and earthiness as well as some sweetness on the finish. Irish whiskeys are known for being smooth yet complex with subtle honeyed notes that linger long after you take your first sip. Canadian whiskies are often light-bodied but flavourful thanks to their extended aging process which allows them to develop a wide variety of flavours over time including vanilla, maple syrup or fruitcake notes depending on how long they were aged for . Lastly there’s Japanese whisky which tends to be much smoother than traditional Scottish styles but still offers plenty complexity thanks largely to its use of malted barley instead regular grains like wheat or corn used by Western distillers .

By understanding the differences between these various types of whiskeys you can start exploring more varieties beyond just one kind such as bourbon or scotch!

Myth #2: The Age of the Whiskey Affects the Quality

Myth #2: The Age of the Whiskey Affects the Quality

When it comes to whiskey, age is not necessarily an indicator of quality. While older whiskeys may be more expensive due to their rarity, they are not always better tasting than younger ones. In fact, there are many factors that contribute to a whiskey’s flavour and complexity other than its age.

Whiskey Barrel Types

First and foremost is the type of ingredients used in the distillation process; different grains or malts can give a whisky unique characteristics depending on how long they were aged for and what kind of spirit was added before bottling. Also important is where and how it was stored; some casks impart more flavours when left in certain conditions over time while others may be too harsh if exposed to extreme temperatures or humidity levels. Lastly, there’s filtration which can help remove impurities from a whiskey but also strip away some of its character-so make sure you check whether or not your favourite brand has been filtered before buying!

All these elements play an important role in determining a whiskey’s taste so don't let yourself get caught up by just focusing on the age alone when selecting one bottle over another-there's much more to consider!

Myth #3: All Whiskey is Smooth

Myth #3: All Whiskey is Smooth

Contrary to popular belief, not all whiskey is 'smooth'. The mouthfeel of whiskey can range from light and easy drinking to dense and heavy depending on the type of spirit used in production. For example, Scotch whiskies tend to be heavier due to their higher concentration of peaty flavours while Irish whiskeys are usually much lighter with subtle notes of honey or vanilla that linger on your tongue after each sip. Bourbon generally has a smoother mouthfeel than other types of whisky due to its high corn content; however, it can still have some spiciness if it’s been aged for longer periods in charred oak barrels. Canadian whisky tends to be the lightest among them all thanks mostly because it’s made using a blend of grains which gives it an overall sweeter flavour profile compared to others.

Whiskey Tasting Notes - The Pot Still

In short, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to judging the smoothness or heaviness of a particular whisky; different styles will offer unique tasting experiences depending on what you're looking for!

Myth #4: All Whiskey is Strong

Myth #4: All Whiskey is Strong

Contrary to popular belief, not all whiskeys are strong. The strength of a whiskey depends on its alcohol content which can vary significantly from one type to another. For example, some Scotch whiskies have an ABV (alcohol by volume) as low as 40% while others may reach up 59%. Similarly, bourbon typically has an ABV between 40-50%, and Irish whiskey usually sits somewhere in the middle at around 43-46%. However there are other factors that also affect a whiskey’s strength such as barrel aging and filtration techniques used during production which can make even lower proof spirits feel more intense when consumed neat or with just a splash of water.

So while it's true that some types of whiskeys have higher alcohol contents than others, this doesn't necessarily equate to being “stronger” in terms of taste or intensity; it simply means they contain more ethanol molecules within each sip!

Myth #5: All Whiskey is Old-Fashioned

Myth #5: All Whiskey is Old-Fashioned

Contrary to popular belief, not all whiskey has to be enjoyed in an old fashioned way. While traditional whiskey drinkers may prefer the classic combination of a spirit, sugar and bitters served over ice, there are plenty of modern variations that can make for exciting new cocktails as well. The resurgence of craft distilleries in recent years has led to an explosion of unique flavours and styles which can be used to create original drinks that still pay homage to their roots.

How to Make An Old Fashioned Cocktail - The Pot Still

For example you could switch up the usual rye or bourbon base with something like Japanese whisky for a different take on the Manhattan, try using mezcal instead for a smoky twist on your favourite sour recipe or even add some absinthe into your old fashioned if you're feeling adventurous! There's no limit when it comes to creating delicious new takes on classic recipes so don't feel confined by traditional expectations - let your creativity run wild!


In conclusion, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding whiskey due to its long history of production. From confusing age with quality, to believing that all whiskeys have a similar mouthfeel or strength- it’s important to understand the nuances between each type in order to fully appreciate their unique characteristics. And while traditional methods can still make for amazing cocktails, don’t be afraid to experiment either; modern takes on classic recipes can offer endless possibilities when it comes to creating delicious drinks! Ultimately by understanding these myths and broadening your horizons when it comes to exploring different styles of whiskey you'll soon discover just how complex and rewarding this spirit really is. So go out there and give some new whisky varieties a try-you never know what amazing flavours you might uncover!

Tags: Irish Whiskey, Bourbon Whiskey, Scotch Whisky

    The Pot Still

    Founded by Craig Ellis to educate the world on all whiskey types. Follow The Pot Still for reviews, virtual whiskey tastings, and all the latest whiskey news.

    • New to Whiskey? - World Whiskey Intro
    • Pot Still Whiskeys - Irish made
    • Scotch Whiskey - A fan of smoke
    • Japanese Whiskey - Blended taste

    Posts by Tag

    See all

    Recent Posts

    Subscribe to our Blog!

    Subscribe to our Email Subscription

    Sign up to The Pot Still Newsletter and we'll email you the latest blog posts to keep you up to date with all things Whiskey, especially Irish Whiskey.