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Choosing The Style Of Whiskey That’s Right For You

Are you a fan of responsibly enjoying whiskey? Are you someone who is interested in learning more about whiskey, and what types of whiskey you might enjoy? If so, then today’s post from Northstar Liquor Superstore is perfect for you.

At Northstar Liquor Superstore in Johnstown, we know better than most that when it comes to whiskey, there are thousands of varieties to choose from. Finding the one that you like the best can be challenging to say the least.

In today’s blog from the whiskey experts at Northstar Liquor Superstore, we will take it one step at a time by examining the different types of whiskeys, their profiles, and provide some examples of brands that are worth trying on your palate’s journey to finding the perfect dram for you.

To see our entire selection of whiskeys with your own eyes, stop by our Johnstown Liquor Superstore today — we warn you in advance, it’s extensive. To find out if we already carry, or can get, your favorite whiskey or other libation, give us a call, or fill out our online form and someone will respond to you promptly.


Are You A Scotch Person?

The Scotch drinker enjoys a complex, sophisticated, and elite style dram that isn’t for everyone. Does this make you an elitist or an Epicurean? We can’t say for sure, but we strongly recommend you hash it out with a like-minded Scotch drinker over a class or two while planning a future trip to your favorite Scotch producing region of Scotland.

Selecting The Right Scotch

Types of Scotch can vary greatly, not just depending on which region they come from, but also where within that region that the actual barley is malted, distilled, and casked. Because of this, make sure to ask an associate at Northstar Liquor Superstore about the specifics of the Scotch before purchasing a bottle, just to be sure.

Medium Body & Complexity

For a sweet, flavorful Scotch that will tend to be light on peat and smokiness while still maintaining numerous layers for your pallet to play with and discover, choose a Speyside or Highlands brand Scotch. These regions’ distilleries tend to be more fruit forward with notes of caramel and rarely exhibit the brine and salt of coastal distilleries. Glenfiddich and Glenmorangie are both great examples of this style.

Lighter Body & Clean

For a lighter, grassier, slightly toasty Scotch that typically has a smooth finish, go with something from the Lowlands region of Scotland. These Scotches often have slightly less barley content than their northern and coastal cousins, allowing for a lighter body and cleaner overall drinking experience without much heat. Auchentoshan and Glenkinchie are both excellent distilleries to sample from for this kind of a profile.

Heavily Peated & Briney

For a robust, aggressive Scotch that stands up straight on its own — and just might make you, too — go for something from the Islay, Islands, or Campbeltown regions. These areas are all coastal and tend to pick up a strong oceanic profile with strong seaweed and mineral qualities that Scotch drinkers tend to love or hate. The complexity and smoke that is pervasive in these kinds of Scotch typically appeal to people with experienced and adventurous palates. We recommend something from Lagavulin or Laphroaig for a peaty monster or something from Highland Park for a slightly sweeter profile.


Are You A Bourbon Person?

Bourbon is an American tradition that dates back to the Civil War and Reconstruction eras of United States history. Made primarily from corn mash — at least 51% — bourbon tends to have a sweeter, stickier profile than Scotch or rye whiskey. Bourbon drinkers come in all shapes and sizes with brands ranging from “must-mix-its” to “straight-sippers” to aggressive “throat-burners.” We’re pretty sure that there’s something for everyone in this diverse class of whiskey.

Selecting the Right Bourbon

Smooth & Tasty

For a smooth and flavorful bourbon that won’t burn too badly on the way down, stick with brands that tend to have less overall corn and more wheat grain in their malt. Gentle bourbons like this include brands such as Rebel Yell, Larceny, and Maker’s Mark, to name a few. These brands will tend to be more bready (from the wheat) and typically pick up flavors from their oak barrels pretty well, so expect some vanilla and caramel in there, too.

Sweet & Sticky

Traditional bourbon brands lean heavier on the corn element in their malting blend with some going so far as to craft 100% pure corn bourbons. Expect a pretty sweet drink from a high corn content bourbon with less of the cask notes making it through without deeper examination and drinking techniques. Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, and Buffalo Trace Straight Bourbon are all great examples of true-to-style, corn-heavy bourbons.

Hot & Spicy

Although traditional, sweet bourbons are typically made with some rye, as opposed to wheat, a rye bourbon — not to be confused with rye whiskey — leans heavier on the rye content than other bourbons. These bourbons bring a slightly more aggressive, pepper and grain-driven profile that takes some people a little while to get used to, but that many people deeply enjoy. We recommend brands like Bulleit or Four Roses for a true rye bourbon experience.


Are You A Rye Whiskey Person?

So what is the difference between rye bourbon and rye whiskey? Like rye bourbon must be at least 51% corn, no matter what, rye whiskey must be at least 51% rye. In some cases, only an expert whiskey drinker (are you one?) can tell the difference between the two. However, most rye whiskeys are crafted to be hotter, more aggressive, and more full-bodied than their sweeter, traditional bourbon brethren.

Selecting The Right Rye

Not to try and pigeonhole rye whiskey, but for the most part, the rye tends to steal the show (in a good way). So deciding what kind of rye is right for you has more to do with how much you enjoy pepper and spice. The more you do, the higher the rye content you want. Start with something simple, but classic, like Sazerac, and work your way up through Templeton, Bulleit “95” Rye, and eventually, you can take a shot at something like Old Pepper Straight Rye Whiskey.

Find Out What Kind Of Whiskey Drinker You Are At Northstar Liquor Superstore Today

At Northstar Liquor Superstore, we’re passionate about two things — quality libations and great customer experiences. While we won’t test you on your whiskey knowledge, we will give you what you need to enjoy your next dram. Stop by our Johnstown Liquor Superstore today and talk to one of our staff, or explore our extensive inventory, to find the perfect whiskey for you or a loved one.