Chances are, if you’re a cocktail hound, you’ve been sniffing out the best Old Fashioned (the number one selling cocktail in the world) for some time.

But what if you’re new to the world of whisky? Then let your odyssey begin here, because sales are soaring and the market will be worth more than £2.4 billion by 2022 – according to spirits specialists Edringon-Beam Suntory UK.

“Our forecast is that Scotch single malt and American whiskies will drive future growth, continuing to attract new consumers to the whisky category, while successfully appealing to existing customers with new expressions,” says Mark Riley, MD, Edrington-Beam Suntory UK.

Old fashioned classic cocktail drink in crystal glass on bar counter.
Old Fashioned classic cocktail (iStock/PA)

Feel a thirst coming on? Here’s how to get a foot on the whisky trail and appreciate one of the world’s most popular drinks…

How many types of whisky are there?

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you know me, you know what I always say “ Whisky is to be shared with friends” #openandshare is my motto. . When you get together with my friend @tonightspoison & @andyliunjny that is a must!!! Hehehe can you spy the 15Y old #compassbox Aleuthera in the picture ? What about the new release from @dewars 21Y ….. my first love with Japanese Whisky #yamazaki12 ….. Andy’s #tomatinwhisky @tomatinwhisky ….. and to break that seal for the @smwsamerica !!! Incredible time with an amazing 😉 friends !! How was your weekend ? . #whisky #whiskey #workharddrinkwhisky #whiskyculture #vip #scotch #whiskyfactory #whiskyporn #bekindtoeachother #whiskylove #whiskylover #instadrink #whiskygram #whiskygram #whiskylife #whiskystyle #instawhisky #openandshare #whiskygram #singlemalt #singlemaltwhisky #singlemaltscotch #distillery #whiskylover #instadrink

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Quite a few, but to keep it simple: Single malt, a blend, pure pot still whiskey (Irish), bourbon and rye.

What sets them apart?

It all depends on the recipe, how it’s distilled and period of maturation. The main whisky grains are barley, corn, wheat and rye. American whiskey is usually aged in new oak, while Scotch and Irish whiskies in aged barrels.

Single malt is on the up, how does it differ from a blend?

 

A single malt (barley or other grain) is a malt whisky made at one distillery. A blended malt is a mix of single malt whiskies from more than one distillery.

And what’s the difference between bourbon and rye?

The quintessential American whiskey bourbon must contain at least 51% corn, while rye must have at least 51% rye and both have to be matured for at least two years.

Need to know: Scotch whisky must be matured for a minimum of three years.

What’s the best way to appreciate this liquid gold?

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Caught in a moment of pure bliss and spending quality time with my Macallan Double Cask Gold! 😜 I think the Double Cask Gold is a superb whisky and highlights the wonderful characteristics of our American Oak sherry seasoned casks! 👍👌❤️ It bursts with lemon citrus, ginger, cinnamon and fresh orchard fruits! Just delicious! . ❓Have you tried it yet??. #themacallanHK #MACALLAN #hongkong . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #whisky #whiskygirlhk #whiskywomen #whiskystyle #macallan #cheers #slainte #fun #old #instagram #rare #luxury #collector #hongkong #lifestyle #dram #whiskyporn #macallandrams #friends #share #nosing #scotch #scotchwhisky #singlemaltwhisky #maltwhisky

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Experts suggest a tulip shaped glass or copita, so you can swirl the whisky to release the aromas, and as the nectar rises, the rim narrows to enhance the nose. To fully appreciate a whisky, only a splash of water should be added to open up the complex flavours and aromatics.

 

 

But if you want to break with tradition, try an old fashioned or rocks glass and prep a whisky cocktail – the Manhattan is also trending.

Where do most whiskies come from?

The main producers are Scotland (the world’s largest), Ireland, USA, Japan and Canada.

What’s their general style?

 

 

Speyside has the largest concentration of Scottish distilleries and are prized for their round, soft, fruity flavours. Think Macallan, Glenfiddich and Glenlivet.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Another regrettable #bottlekill – Lagavulin 1998 Distillers Edition (lgv 4/503), bottled 2014 at 43%. A beautiful #smokywhisky with a nice balance of #peatsmoke and ashes and oranges and farm – beautiful marriage of fruit and smoke. #lagavulin still produces some of the best whiskies on #islay, even if the quality has dropped a little in the past 3-4 years. Nose: Textbook Lagavulin with more fruit, blood oranges, backdrop of village and farm and old damp cabin and tobacco. Palate is crisp, precise, and again well balanced with some maritime characters, tar, ashes, tea leaves, and tobacco. Beautiful, not super complex but complex enough. It’s not a big #whisky, it’s a gentleman. The finish is long and lingering with ashes and tar, orange zest, and damp tobacco. The type of #singlemalt that does not try prove anything, yet it makes an impression. Dangerously drinkable, which made it a faster bottle kill!! . #whiskycollection #whiskyporn #whiskylife #whiskylover #whiskygeek #whiskyreview #whiskycollector #whiskyroom #tastingnotes #whiskygram #scotchporn #scotchcollection #dram #instadram #islaywhisky #lagavulindistillersedition #lagavulin1998

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Elsewhere, the Isle of Islay to the west is known for its rich, peaty, smoky style, such as Lagavulin, Laphroaig and Caol Ila. It’s like Marmite, you either love it or you don’t.

Again, Irish whiskey is soft and fruity. American tends to be sweeter, Canadian lighter. Japanese (Suntory and Nikka) is generally high-end and tastes soft and pure.

Cheers, slàinte or kanpai!

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