Whiskey FAQ’s

by on November 10, 2017

Sometimes it seems like whiskey folk talk in a completely different language.  Here is our attempt to cover some of the terms or commonly asked questions we see!  These won’t be comprehensive answers, but should help give you a basic understanding.  Confused about something or have a question that wasn’t answered here?  Feel free to reach out to us and ask!

What is the BTAC?

The “Buffalo Trace Antique Collection” is an extremely limited set of whiskeys released every Fall.  George T Stagg, William Larue Weller, Sazerac 18 Year, Thomas H Handy, and Eagle Rare 17 Year are the whiskeys that comprise the BTAC.

What is a mash bill?

Simply put, the “mash bill” is the grain profile that a whiskey is distilled from.  American whiskeys are commonly distilled from a combination of corn, rye (or wheat) and malted barley.

What is bottled in bond?

“Bottled in bond” is a certification given to an American whiskey by the U.S. government if it meets a specific set of qualifications.  The bottled in bond act was created in 1897 to help ensure quality in the blooming American whiskey industry.  Click here full the full set of qualifications.

What’s the difference between Tennessee whiskey and bourbon?

According to the U.S. government, nothing.  “Tennessee whiskey” is a marketing term governed by the State of Tennessee, which has set qualifications that a product must meet to be labeled as such.  To be labeled “Tennessee whiskey”, a whiskey must be a bourbon whiskey distilled and aged in Tennessee that underwent maplewood charcoal filtration before being filled into barrels to age.

What is a single malt?

A single malt whisky is a whisky that was distilled entirely from malted grain at only one distillery.  This designation is most prominent in scotch, where distilleries use 100% malted barley.  However, there are some whiskeys that use 100% malted rye or a combination of malted rye and malted barley.

What is peat?

By definition, peat is a mass of partially decayed vegetation or other organic matter.  Its composition is specific to its region.  Peat bogs are common in the Scottish isles (especially Islay) and highlands, and in the American northwest.  Peat is commonly dried and used as a fuel source to dry the barley used for distillation in scotch distilleries.

What is chill filtering?

Chill filtering is the process of chilling a whisky after it has been aged before it gets bottled.  The whisky is chilled down to around 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) so that soluble compounds like fatty acids will solidify out of solution.  The chilled whisky is then ran through a fine filter to remove all solidified compounds.  CF is done purely for cosmetic reasons – so that a whisky will not get cloudy should a consumer chill it with ice or water.

Common Abbreviations

SmB:  Small Batch

SiB:  Single Barrel

ER:  Eagle Rare

BT:  Buffalo Trace

FR (or 4R):  Four Roses

MGP:  Midwest Grain Products.  Contact distillery in Indiana.

SAOS:  Smooth Ambler Old Scout

ORVW:  Old Rip Van Winkle

PVW:  Pappy Van Winkle

EW:  Evan Williams

JD:  Jack Daniels

BP or CS:  Barrel Proof or Cask strength

MM:  Maker’s Mark

WT:  Wild Turkey

NDP:  Non distilling producer

IB:  Independent bottler

RR:  Russell’s Reserve

OWA:  Old Weller Antique

W12:  Weller 12 Year

WSR:  Weller Special Reserve

PMP:  Poor Man’s Pappy (Commonly 60% OWA/40% W12)

NCF:  Non-chill filtered

NCA:  No color added

Often times, these abbreviations are combined together.  For example, MMCS would be Maker’s Mark Cask Strength.  JDSiBBP would be Jack Daniels Single Barrel Barrel Proof.  EWBiB would be Evan Williams Bottled in Bond

Let us know what we are missing!  This will be an ever-evolving guide to help fellow enthusiasts speak the jargon of the hobby!