Knowing the Meaning of the Writing on the Whiskey Bottle Label

Knowing the Meaning of the Writing on the Whiskey Bottle Label

Maybe you have idly read the writings on the whiskey label and were curious about what the writings on the whiskey bottles you saw meant or maybe you have your own thoughts on what the writings mean. Usually, some people think that the Black Label writing on Johnnie Walker's whiskey is the type of whiskey, it turns out that the writing is the name of the whiskey product made by Johnnie Walker, while the type is Blended Scotch Whiskey. Then there is also something wrong with the writing of Single Malt Whiskey which is assumed that the whiskey is a whiskey made from one type of malt, it turns out that what is meant is whiskey from malt made by a distillation place. There may be some other misinterpretation of the words on the whiskey bottle labels.

In addition to the price, alcohol content, and the number of contents of the bottle, there are 6 points that I think can be considered. If some of these points are not found on the bottle label, it doesn't matter, the most important thing is to know the price so you can pay, know the alcohol content so you know how dangerous the drink is, and know how much it contains. The other six points to consider in my opinion are:

1. Whiskey Name

The first part that stands out the most is the name of the whiskey product. In addition to the name of a product, sometimes manufacturers also use the name of the production plant/where the whiskey is distilled.

2. Whiskey Age

The figure stated on the age of the whiskey is the age of the youngest whiskey used in the whiskey. The age of a whiskey refers to the length of time the whiskey has matured in a wooden barrel/barrel/cask. It is also possible that whiskey older than the stated number was also mixed in the whiskey bottle. Whiskey producers can also not include the number/age of the whiskey but the age of the whiskey must be at least 2-3 years old or according to the regulations of their respective countries.

3. Type of Whiskey

To find out the type of whiskey, it will be divided into 3 parts, namely: **1.**The source of the whiskey obtained; 2. Types of grains or grains/cereals and processes used; 3. Country of origin a whiskey is made. Example of division: 1[Single] 2[Malt] 3[Scotch Whiskey] 1[Blended] 2[Malt] 3[ Scotch Whiskey] 1[Single] 2[Pot-Still] 3[Irish Whiskey] 2[Blended Scotch] 3[Whiskey]

For more details detailed check on each section below:

  • Single = Derived from one distillation place. Blended = Derived from two or more distillation places. Pure = Derived from two or more distillation stations but owned by the same company. Now the term Pure is no longer used by Scotland and Ireland and is changed to Blended. Only countries outside Scotland and Ireland still use it like Japan.
  • Malt = Derived from malt, namely barley seeds that are germinated and then stopped when the process is almost sprouted so that the fiber in the barley seeds turns into sugar. Grain = Derived from grains/cereals other than malt. Blended Scotch = Derived from a mixture of Single Malt Scotch Whiskey (a malt whiskey from one of the distilleries in Scotland) and whiskey from other Grains (can be more than one). Pot-Still = Derived from a mixture of barley and malted barley before being distilled with pot-still. In general, there are 3 distillation tools used, namely pot still, column still, and coffee still.
  • Whiskey = Irish spelling of whiskey. The spelling whiskey with the letter e is also used by whiskeys from the United States. Whiskey = Mention of whiskey from Scotland. The spelling whiskey without the letter e is also used by whiskeys from Canada and Japan. The choice of both spellings is also used by countries outside Ireland and Scotland to refer to the style of a whiskey made. For example, whiskey from India usually uses the spelling whiskey because it is produced according to the Scottish whiskey style.

4. Type of Cask/Barrel Used

Basically, whiskey uses wooden barrels of oak in the maturation process. For whiskey from Scotland and the United States, the whiskey must be matured in oak barrels, while Ireland and other countries can use wooden barrels of other woods as long as it can be used for the maturation process. Wooden barrels used do not have to be new, used wooden barrels of maturation can be used continuously except for wooden barrels for Bourbon because the regulations must use new wooden barrels. There are times when used wooden barrels from the maturation of other alcoholic beverages such as wine, rum, beer, and others are also used but only for finishing or the final maturation process. For example in the words "Finished in Portwood, Portcask" which means that after maturation in oak wooden barrels, the whiskey is then matured with used wooden barrels of Port Wine. The finishing process is also only carried out in a few months unlike the basic process of maturation of whiskey with oak which takes years of time.

5. Cask Strength/Single Barrel

Whiskey from the cask/barrel is packaged directly into the bottle without any additives and without being dissolved/added with water to lower the alcohol content. The alcohol content in this type of alcohol is very high, approximately 50-60% ABV.

6. Non-Chill-Filtered

Non-Chill-Filtered means that the whiskey has not undergone a low-temperature filtering process (Chill Filtered) with a temperature of 0°C to -4°C. This is done so that the whiskey remains clear even if it is thawed/added with water because whiskey will usually be cloudy/foggy/turn cloudy when added to water until the alcohol content is below 46% ABV. Therefore, don't be surprised/panicked that non-chill filtered whiskey will turn cloudy when water or ice is added.

In addition to the front label, sometimes there are other explanations on the back or on the packaging box that are clearer and more detailed.


In conclusion, a few words on a whiskey label can provide enough information to know what's in the whiskey. With this information, you can also make it easier to find and choose a whiskey from the many choices available.