How to Understand Whisky Labels

Nov. 9, 2022

What makes for a perfect label that highlights what is in that bottle of whisky you’re purchasing? The right label tells you everything you need to know about bourbon, scotch, oak barrels, production region, and age. The intricacies of whisky production and the information on a bottle's label, on the other hand, can assist you to pick a bottle that will best fit your tastes. 

Did you know that the drink is spelled both “whisky” and “whiskey”? This is a result of the nation of origin. The word for the beverage is spelled with an "e" in American and Irish regions but without one in Scotland and Canada!

Here are ways to understand the labels on your Whisky:


Whisky Labels

A whisky bottle has the following elements on the label and every element is important to understand:

BRAND – The brand name is the primary identifier for the whisky you want to buy. Whether you want to purchase from a brand you already know and trust, or to try something completely new, the brand name is important in identifying any Whisky products.
ORIGIN – The Whisky origin gives us a notion of the types of whisky that the region produces.
ESTD – As a result of our knowledge of the establishment date, we feel confident investing in whisky from a well-established and well-known company. This indicates that they have been involved in the whisky-making industry for a long time and have a wealth of knowledge about the process.
BARREL – The style of the barrel contributes significantly to the colour, flavour, and aroma of the spirit over the course of many years of ageing. Without them, whisky would not taste or smell at all like the delectable, fragrant spirit we all adore.

Does the number of years make a difference? 

Yes! Whiskies are affected by the number of years they spend in barrels, but in some regions, the climate also has a significant impact. In regions with a cold climate, whiskies must spend more time in a barrel to develop flavour and colour, whereas, in regions with a moderate or warm climate, this time is almost cut in half.

What do the numbers mean?

A distillery's barrel houses age millions of barrels as they produce aged whiskies. The barrels react differently to the different atmospheric conditions, so blending the whiskies creates a consistent flavour. As a result, bottle labels specify the minimum age of whisky used in blending.

To find out more about whisky labels, reach out to our team of experts here or request a quote online