Explore our range
Whisky drinkers know a smooth whisky when they taste one. Often light and delicate, with a hint of creamy, smoky or citrus flavour, smooth whiskies are usually defined by the grain selected for distillation. Wheat tends to produce spirits with a certain soft, sweet quality, resulting in a smooth single malt whisky.
Another contributing factor to the smoothness of a whisky is the blending process. The goal of blending is to produce a whisky that’s exceptionally balanced, one that after sipping a single dram one feels a harmonious warmth spread across one’s chest.
Irish whiskey has long been lauded for its smoothness. However, many whisky-producing nations beyond the Irish, including Scotland, the USA and Canada encourage the addition of distinctive flavourings in their whiskies which contribute towards an overall smoother texture and familiarity with each dram.
The extent of the smooth nature of each single malt whisky is as much to do with the distillation process as it is to do with the proof of the whisky. The higher the proof, the milder the flavour is likely to be, contributing to a smoother flavour.
Filtration and maturation also contribute significantly to the smoothness of the whisky. If filtered through charcoal, for example, whiskies can have a gentler feel on the tongue. This is because impurities and heavier oils are removed.
However, the largest contributing factor to the smoothness of Irish whiskey – or whisky from across the globe, for that matter – is the length of time spent in the cask. Whiskies that have spent, one, two, four or ten years maturing will feature a smoother taste.
This, however, has one caveat. Oak is highly tannic. This means that the longer whiskies are left in an oak barrel, the more likely they are to develop an astringent taste, or the opposite of smooth.