American Whiskey Tequila Spirits Inventory Reduction
The United States of America is a country of great cultural diversity, influenced by migrating nations from across the world. As such, its whiskey industry is a fascinating and complex one, which represents the range of regional differences found there.
The Irish were the original pioneers of American whiskey, and when they emigrated in their thousands from the old country, they brought their skills, knowledge and distillation techniques with them, to give them something to remind each other of home in the New World. This is why American whiskey goes by the Irish spelling, with the additional ‘e’, and why many traditional American whiskies closely resemble the original Irish style.
Today, there are several different types of American whiskey, and the styles and production techniques are now set out in US federal law, cementing a set of characteristics and production methods to preserve and protect the industry.
Corn whiskey, which is made from a minimum 80% corn in the mash and aged for a short period, is probably the most historic of the American whiskey styles, but others like rye whiskey, which is made from a minimum of 51% rye and aged in charred barrels, are growing in popularity among a new generation of drinkers looking for something unique, interesting and independently produced. Alongside these styles, we find Tennessee whiskey, which uses maple charcoal for sweeter notes, the softer wheat whiskies, the world-dominating Bourbon whiskies, and others which are peculiar to specific states and regions.
Tequila is probably Mexico’s greatest gift to the world of fine spirits, and is also possibly one of the most underestimated and misunderstood drinks in the world. Widely used for shots and slammers, and more often than not associated with parties and hangovers, Tequila is in fact a wonderful drink full of subtleties and expression of terroir, that is highly rewarding for those who look into its finer points.
One of the special things about Tequila is the fact that it is capable of expressing the fine nuances and subtle notes of its raw material, far more so than other, similar spirits. That raw material is, of course, the Blue Agave - not a cactus, as is commonly believed, but rather a succulent quite like a lily, which grows in the deserts of Mexico mainly around the province of Jalisco. The Blue Agave takes a decade to mature, and during those ten years, it takes in many of the features of its surroundings, just like a grapevine would. This is why Tequila varies in flavor and aroma from region to region, from the earthier Tequilas of the lowlands, to the more delicate and floral examples from areas of a higher altitude.
The picking and peeling of the spiky Agave, and the distillation process of Tequila is a complicated one, and one which is carried out with enormous skill by the jimadors and master craftsmen who produce the spirit. Steam cooking of the body of the plant is followed by crushing, then fermentation and distillation completes the process. The end product is categorized according to whether or not it is made with pure (‘puro’) agave, or blended with other sugars, and according to how long the spirit is aged for.