What It Means When Whiskey Is Triple Distilled

The world of whiskey is so vast and complex that, for some, the very act of learning about the spirit is considered a hobby. There are many varieties of whiskey, as well as many methods of whiskey production that can impact the drinking experience. If you have ever looked at a bottle and wondered what the term triple distilled means, we have the answer for you. Triple distillation is a particular production style that often results in what some consider to be better flavors. Let's look at how it works and why it is worth trying.

Whiskey has two primary ingredients: Grain — usually barley, though others may be included — and water. To make the spirit, the grain is soaked in water, heated, mashed, fermented, and the liquid produced then finally distilled before being left to mature in barrels. This distillation step is meant to purify the whiskey and concentrate its flavors as well as its alcohol content. Each time the whiskey undergoes distillation, it rounds out the tasting notes and removes sharp, noxious, and unpleasant odors and flavors from the end product, making for a milder and smoother drink overall.

When is triple-distilled whiskey worth it?

As a variety of whiskey that involves more time and effort, triple-distilled whiskey is usually priced higher than other versions of the spirit. This means that for most budgets, it tends to be a splurge item or a special occasion buy. Even then, you may wonder if the resulting liquor is actually superior to single or double-distilled whiskeys. The answer is: It depends. For someone who likes a lot of character to their whiskey, it probably won't be, since this process will mellow a lot of the bite and quirks that the spirit might have otherwise. For those who want a whiskey that is easy to sip neat and that will appeal more broadly to guests when entertaining, this crowd-pleaser might be worth the extra expense.

It is worth noting, however, that triple-distilled whiskey should really only be invested in if you plan on drinking it straight or in cocktails where the flavor of the whiskey is extremely central, like a Boulevardier cocktail. In cases where you are using whiskey to cook, bake, spike your hot cocoa, or make a batched cocktail, the enhanced flavor won't be noticed. For these purposes, you are better off opting for a more moderately-priced bottle.