[hwis-kee, wis-]
whiskey [from the Gaelic for "water of life"], spirituous liquor distilled from a fermented mash of grains, usually rye, barley, oats, wheat, or corn. Inferior whiskeys are made from potatoes, beets, and other roots. The standard whiskeys of the world are Scotch (commonly spelled whisky), Irish, American, and Canadian. The Scotch Highland whisky (made in pot stills) and that of the Lowlands (patent stills) differ in the percentage of barley used, quality of the water, quantity of peat employed in curing the malt, manner of distilling, and kind of casks in which they are matured. Irish whiskey resembles Scotch, but no peat is used in the curing, and instead of the dry, somewhat smoky flavor of Scotch, it has a full, sweet taste. American whiskeys are divided into two main varieties, rye and bourbon, a corn whiskey that derives its name from Bourbon co., Ky. They have a higher flavor and a much deeper color than Scotch or Irish and require from two to three years longer to mature. Newly made whiskey is colorless, the rich brown of the matured liquor being acquired from the cask in which it is stored. Canadian whiskey has a characteristic lightness of body and must, according to law, be produced from cereal grain only. Whiskey was made in England in the 11th cent., chiefly in monasteries, but in the 16th cent. distilling was carried on commercially. No whiskey can be released from bond in Great Britain until it has matured in wood at least three years, and in practice most whiskey is stored seven or eight years before marketing. In the United States bonded whiskey must stay a minimum of four years in bond before it can be labeled as bonded rye or bourbon. The illicit manufacture of whiskey to avoid payment of excise taxes has been common. In the United States this is known as moonshining.

See M. Jackson, The World Guide to Whiskey (1988).

or whisky

Any of several distilled liquors made from a fermented mash of cereal grains. Whiskeys are distinctive because of differences in raw materials and production methods. All are aged in wooden containers. The earliest direct account of whiskey making is found in Scottish records from 1494. Scotch whisky (this spelling is also used by Canadians) is usually somewhat light in body, with a distinctive smoky malt flavour; it is made primarily from malted barley that has been heated over a peat fire, fermented, distilled, and blended with similar whiskies made by different distillers. Irish whiskeys, lighter-bodied and lacking any smoky flavor, are not malt-fired and may be mixed with neutral grain spirits. Canadian whisky, light in colour and flavour, is a blend of highly flavoured and neutral grain whiskies. In the U.S., the largest producer and consumer of whiskey, both straight (at least 51percnt single-mash) and blended whiskeys are produced, derived from both sour and sweet mashes. (Sour mashes are fermented with both fresh and previously fermented yeast; sweet mashes employ only fresh yeast.) Bourbon, first produced in Bourbon Co., Ky., is a full-bodied unblended whiskey derived from a sour mash of corn grain. Whiskeys are consumed both unmixed and in cocktails, punches, and other beverages.

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(1875) Group of U.S. whiskey distillers who defrauded the government of taxes. The ring operated mainly in St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Chicago and kept liquor taxes after bribing Internal Revenue officials in Washington, D.C. A secret investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department resulted in 238 indictments and 110 convictions. While not involved, Pres. Ulysses S. Grant was tarnished by the scandal; his private secretary, Orville E. Babcock, was indicted but acquitted on Grant's testimony. The Republican Party allegedly received some of the illegally held tax money.

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(1794) American uprising to protest a federal liquor tax. Farmers in western Pennsylvania rebelled against paying a tax on their locally distilled whiskey and attacked federal revenue collectors. After 500 armed men burned the home of the regional tax inspector, Pres. George Washington ordered 13,000 federal troops to the area. The rebellion quickly dissolved without further violence. The event established the authority of federal law within the states and strengthened support for the Federalists' advocacy of a strong central government.

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Evan Williams is a brand of bourbon whiskey which is bottled in Bardstown, Kentucky at the Heaven Hill facility. It is aged for a minimum of seven years and is sold for a relatively modest price.

Most Evan Williams bourbon is sold as the mass-market "Black Label" variety. Evan Williams also bottles Evan Willams 1783 ten-year-old bourbon in more limited quantities and a highly rated, ten-year-old single barrel bourbon sold in bottles sealed with black wax.

Evan Williams is the second largest-selling Kentucky straight bourbon. Founder Evan Williams began distilling in 1783 near Louisville, Kentucky. Evan Williams is 43% alc/vol (86 proof) unlike some popular whiskeys which are 40% alc/vol (80 proof).


  • Evan Williams Black Label
  • Evan Williams Blue Label (not available in the U.S.)
  • Evan Williams Green Label
  • Evan Williams Red Label (not available in the U.S.)
  • Evan Williams 1783
  • Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage
  • Evan Williams White Label
  • Evan Williams Egg Nog

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