Glass of whiskey with ice
Single Barrel Whiskey Vs Single Malt: What's The Difference?
"Single barrel whiskey" and "single malt whiskey" may seem hard to differentiate, but the difference is pretty straightforward once you know what parts each phrase is referring to.
The whiskey process involves malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation, and maturation. Single malt refers to malting while single barrel deals with the maturation process.
Single barrel whiskey is whiskey that comes from a single barrel. During the maturation process, the whiskey is placed into
barrels or casks to age for any number of years.
Depending on many different factors, the whiskey in each particular barrel is going to taste somewhat different from its fellows despite being in the
exact same batch.
Single malt whiskey is whiskey that's only made from malted barley, water, and yeast. It has to all be one kind of grain; it can’t be made with malted barley and something else.
It also has to be made by a single distillery. A single malt whiskey can be blended from three different single malt whiskies, so long as they are all made by the same distillery.
The easiest way to demonstrate the difference between the two would be if you tried 10 bottles of a single type of single malt whiskey you would very likely get the same flavors.
However, if you tried 10 bottles
of a particular single barrel product, you could end up with wildly different flavors because each individual barrel has its own flavor profile.
If a bottle is labeled as "single barrel, barrel proof" it's entering the bottle exactly as it came
out of the barrel. Without the label, it’s likely to be mixed
with some water.