Questions You May Be Considering
- What is a whiskey mash bill?
- How does a whiskey mash bill effect the whiskey?
- Why does the whiskey mash bill matter?
Mash Bill Explained
The mash bill is the classification/mixture of grains that were used to create the whiskey. Four grains are commonly used in whiskey: corn, rye, barley, and wheat. The mash bill of a whiskey is expressed in percentages; for example, 78% corn, 12% barley, and 10% rye is the listed mash bill for Elijah Craig Small Batch. Whiskey types are defined by the grains used in the mash bill, here is a list for reference:
- Corn – 51% or more = bourbon
- Rye – 51% or more = rye
- Barley – typically 100% = scotch
- Wheat – is only used as an additive grain (i.e. always less than 50%). Wheated-bourbons have a higher percentage of wheat in the mash bill.
Mash Bill Effect on the Whiskey
The mash bill is one of the most important aspects of the whiskey’s appearance, nose, palate, and finish – if not, the most impactful. Newer whiskey drinkers should pay close attention to mash bills to determine personal preferences. Variation in the use of grain is the distinguishing factor that creates different types of whiskey (bourbon, rye, and scotch).
Why You Should Consider the Mash Bill of Your Whiskey
If you’re dedicated to drinking whiskey, you should be consistently seeking the best mixtures of grain to create the perfect whiskey for your palate. Many consumers research the hops used to develop their favorite beers; whiskey deserves the same focus. The mash bill is a factor that makes whiskey unique and different than other spirits. Pay close attention when you’re drinking a rye whiskey to recognize if the rye content is considerably higher (i.e. Old Forester Rye is 65% compared to Woodford Reserve Rye which is 53%, which gives OF Rye bolder and spicier flavors).
Distillation of whiskey is similar to parenting; you’re constantly doing random shit trying to find the best balance and mixture of things to ensure your child doesn’t turn into a serial killer; or in whiskey’s case, you’re looking to create the best alcohol for consumption. Fortunately, whiskey drinking is far less expensive and exhausting than parenting a child. You can sit back, relax, and enjoy the many variations of whiskey these 4 grains offer through diverse mash bills..and if your child does turn in to a serial killer, let’s be honest, whiskey is the best and only option.
List of Recommended Whiskeys By Mash Bill
- Corn (bourbon) – Buffalo Trace, Elijah Craig Small Batch, Heaven Hill Bottled-In-Bond, Henry McKenna Single Barrel,
- Rye (rye whiskey) – Knob Creek Twice Barreled Rye, Michter’s Straight Rye, Old Forester Rye, Pikesville, Woodford Reserve Rye
- Barley (scotch) – Ardbeg Uigeadail, Ardbeg Wee Beastie, Laphroaig 10, Macallan 12 Double Cask, Monkey Shoulder
- Wheat (wheated-bourbon) – Larceny, Maker’s Mark, Pappy Van Winkel, Weller Special Reserve