What? Single Grain means a Grain Whisky produced at a single distillery. Grain whisky can be made using corn, wheat and barley, so it could be called multi grain-single distillery, but that name is a bit of a mouthful, so Scot's distillers went for the name Single Grain. Grain Whisky is quite similar in terms of base ingredients to Canadian Whiskey and Bourbon, but Grain Whisky tends to be lighter than its American and Canadian Cousins. Single Grain whisky is generally produced in giant stills called column stills, that can produce hundreds of bottles every minute. Most Single Grain whisky goes into blends, although we have some cracking examples of aged Single Grain Whiskies.
Where? Grain Whisky is produced wherever there are blends, so Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, Japan, India and many more countries, but it is really Scotland where Single Grain as a stand alone product has come in to it's own, with a few other countries following with a few offerings.
When? In the 1830's, Aeneas Coffey (an Irish excise man turned distiller) perfected the Grain Distillation equipment that Robert Stein had been working on (Stein had been working at Cameron Brig Distillery in Fife, Scotland), and began the production of Single Grain Whisky. Many other alcohol producers in Europe embraced Coffey's revolutionary stills for production of Vodka, Gin and other distillates. In the 1860's, Andrew Usher and other whisky producers realised the potential for blending Grain Whisky and Single Malt Whisky to create blended whisky. It's only relatively recently that Single Grain has been released as a stand alone product.
How? Older Grain Whisky (15 years plus) is fantastic neat. A truly surprising drink to malt enthusiasts
Where To Start? Start with some older Grain Whisky (15 year plus), which for now at least, tends to be a good price for its age (in comparison to other categories). It's worth trying a few different distilleries, and seeing if one produces a style you like. This will most likely be influenced by the grain they have used