A Definitive Guide To Whisky Slang For Aficionados



Slang has always been a part of the whisky industry. Old-timers fondly talk about such terms being used in distilleries. Similarly, bars, too, have slang terms for the drinks and drinkers. And now, a whole new vernacular is emerging as whisky enthusiasts take to the internet. To a novice drinker, words like “sherry bombs” and “Hazmat” may seem like alien lingo.

In today’s post, we share our definitive list of whisky slang for you to savor along with your drink.

Angel’s Share

A small percentage of whisky evaporates from the barrel during the aging phase. This percentage lost to evaporation is called Angel’s Share, as the angels in heavens above too may get a whiff of the dram.

Barrel Pick

A label reserved for single barrel bottlings specifically picked up by commercial buyers. Some of these bottles might be sold in select stores or bars, but usually, these rarities are handpicked by private whisky groups.

Cask Strength

A whisky that has been bottled straight from the barrel without any taste or color alterations. Such drams are usually 100 proof or upwards.

BIN

An online term that sounds like the “recycle bin” icon on your desktop but means “Buy it now.” Collectors often use the term in the online secondary market. For example, when someone offers a bottle for sale on platforms like Facebook, Instagram or whisky forums, the first person to post “BIN” has the dibs on purchasing it at the stated price.

Bunghole

Bungholes are small openings in barrels through which the spirit is added and the finished product drained. Bungholes are filled by small, circular wooden blocks called “Bungs.”

Bunker

A private collection that is not on display is often referred to as the bunker. The term probably originates from the fact that most highly prized collections are stored in secured basements.

Butt

It’s a term used to describe a colossal sherry cask with a capacity of 500 liters or more. The term is also used for large barrels which originally contained another spirit.

Crotch Shot

A controversial yet popular phenomenon where collectors take pictures of an allocated bottle after exiting the store. The bottle is placed between the buyer’s legs, hence the term. Some online whisky groups find the practice tasteless. However, the braggadocio has many takers as well.

Dram

Dram usually refers to of Scotch whisky served neat. However, nowadays, “dram” is used in reference to all types of whisky.

Dusties

Vintage whisky bottles were so-called due to the obvious presence of dust on them after years of storage. But the term has evolved into a reference for all vintage whisky bottles, even the cleaned-up ones.

Dusty Hunting

As you may have guessed, the term refers to searching for vintage whisky bottles in the most unlikely places, such as unnoticed liquor stores, flea markets and garage sales. However, the practice has become rare since big scores have become increasingly hard to find.

Finished

The term is used when a whisky is aged in a barrel that contained a different liquid for the final few months of the aging process. The process adds unique flavoring to the finished product, hence the term.

Flip

A term for selling a coveted bottle, often bought at retail prices, at a higher price in the secondary market.

Hazmat

A reference to the protective Hazmat suits, the term is used for whiskies with 70% ABV or higher. Legally, you are not allowed to carry such bottles on flights due to the possibility that they can spontaneously ignite.

Honey Hole

A liquor store that continually stocks rare bottles but stays away from the limelight. Honey hole locations are usually a secret shared among enthusiast groups.

The Hunt

Refers to the time between late fall and early winter as most allocated whiskies are released in November or later in each year. In addition, it’s the time when collectors are actively hunting for limited editions.

In the Wild

Scoring a rare bottle from a regular liquor store shelf is often referred to with such terms. E.g., “I cannot believe I found a Glenlivet Triple Cask sitting in the wild.”

Peat Monster

A reference to heavily peated Scotch whiskies originating from the Islay region in Scotland.

Rickhouse

A warehouse where whisky barrels are stored for aging is commonly known as a rickhouse. Most, if not all, rickhouses are open-air and have wooden construction.

Shelf Turd

A whisky bottle you can easily find in liquor shops around you. However, the term is just a cheeky expression and does not signify low quality. Some shelf turds can even turn into rare collectibles if the bottles are discontinued.

Sherry Bombs

Scotch whiskies that are subjected to prolonged aging in sherry casks.

Sticker Labels

Decals placed on private barrel picks by the buyers. They often depict cartoonish tomfoolery or an inside joke within the whisky group picking up the barrel.

Tater

An apparent shortening of the word “potato”, the term refers to drinkers or collectors identifiable by their silly behavior.

Unicorn

Refers to a whisky bottle that is rarely seen, much less tasted. Yet, unicorns in the wild can make headlines and overnight millionaires.

Well, there you are, finally equipped for a proper induction into the world of whiskies. For more exciting content on your favorite drams, keep following us at The Whiskypedia.


 It Is not a glass of whisky. Please check the fact and mention correct measurement.

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