We all know whiskey, but learning how to distinguish a run-of-the-mill whiskey from a premium whiskey is an important part of the journey.
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Quality of a Premium Whiskey
Premium whiskey is the highest quality of whiskey, made from carefully selected ingredients, distilled with precision, and aged for a significant period of time to develop a complex flavor profile.
Premium whiskey often comes from high-end brands and distilleries that have a long-standing reputation for producing exceptional spirits.
Expect to pay a pretty penny for premium whiskey, since they need to sit far longer in barrels to develop their stunning flavor profiles. Plus, the use of premium ingredients such as specially selected grains and barrels drives the price up.
Premium whiskeys can come in a variety of styles, including bourbon, scotch, rye, and Irish whiskey. They are often sought after by whiskey enthusiasts who appreciate the depth and complexity of a well-aged whiskey’s flavor profile.
Below we’ll look at how premium whiskey is made, where you can buy it, the top five best premium whiskey brands, and three weed strains you should try pairing it with.
How Is Premium Whiskey Made?
Premium whiskey is made from a combination of carefully selected grains — usually corn, barley, and rye — that are ground and mixed together with water to form a mash.
The mash is then heated, and yeast is added to begin the fermentation process, which converts the sugars in the mash into alcohol. After fermentation, the liquid is distilled in copper pot stills to increase the alcohol content and remove any lingering impurities. The resulting spirit is then aged extensively in oak barrels, which impart flavor and color to the whiskey over time.
The aging process is really what sets premium whiskeys apart. They are typically aged for several years to allow the flavors to develop and grow more mellow. It’s common to blend aged whiskeys together to create a complex and balanced final product. The process requires patience, skill, and attention to detail to create a truly exceptional whiskey.
Where Is Premium Whiskey Usually Sold?
Landing a bottle of premium whiskey may be expensive, but it’s not particularly hard to find. Check out your local liquor store or specialized liquor store, as well as supermarkets and online alcohol retailers. Some premium whiskey brands also have their own brick-and-mortar stores where customers can purchase their products and participate in tastings or tours.
High-end bars and restaurants will often have premium whiskey on the menu as well, which will let you pay by the glass instead of by the bottle. Some premium whiskey brands also offer limited releases or special editions that are sold exclusively through select retailers or online auctions.
What Are the Top 5 Premium Whiskey Brands?
It’s tough selecting only five top premium whiskey brands, so don’t consider this list exhaustive by any means, but here goes nothing:
This Scottish distillery is best known for its single-malt scotch whiskey, which is aged in sherry oak casks for a rich and complex flavor profile.
Pappy Van Winkle
Produced by the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery in Kentucky, Pappy Van Winkle is a highly coveted bourbon whiskey that is aged for at least 15 years to create a smooth and flavorful profile.
Surprised to see a Japanese whiskey on the list? Don’t be — global whiskey is an increasingly common trend. This Japanese blended whiskey is produced by the Suntory distillery and is known for its balance of sweetness, smokiness, and spice.
Another Scottish distillery, Balvenie, produces a range of single malt whiskeys that are aged in different casks to create unique and nuanced flavors.
One of the most recognizable American whiskey brands, Jack Daniel’s, is known for its smooth and sweet flavor profile, which is achieved through the unique process of charcoal mellowing.
Pairing Premium Whiskey with Strains
Now for the really fun stuff: learning how to pair whiskey with strains! These are three excellent strains that make a good match for whiskey due to their effects and flavors:
Godfather OG Strain
The Godfather OG strain makes you an offer you simply can’t refuse: a balanced hybrid with sativa and indica effects to chill you out and conquer pain and anxiety. Plus, it’s got a complex and multi-layered flavor profile, much like whiskey, with notes of diesel fuel, fresh pine needles, and sweet, juicy grapes.
You may not immediately think to pair whiskey with a candy-flavored strain, but hear us out: smoking Runtz while sipping whiskey is like turning that whiskey into a cocktail. Enjoy flavor notes of citrus, fruit, and sourness, along with hints of woodiness and diesel.
Purple Punch Strain
Perfect for puffing as you sip an after-dinner whiskey, Purple Punch is sweet, delicate, and laden with notes of berries, grapes, and vanilla. Plus, its indica-heavy cannabinoid profile will leave you feeling blissed out and physically calm.