| Scotch whisky can trace its roots back to the ancient Celts of more than 500 years ago. The name they gave to it was ‘uisge beathe’ – the water of life. Certainly the whisky that they produced was stronger and much harsher than what is now produced today, as they only had knowledge of crude distillation processes. The production of Scotch whisky came about because there was no effective way of storing beer over a long period of time, and distilling a liquid into a spirit drink was a way around this. |
The earliest evidence of major Scotch whisky production was in 1494 when Friar John Corr received enough malt to produce over 1000 bottles of ‘aqua vitae’ (Latin for ‘water of life’). The large-scale production of it had begun to take place primarily because it was considered a good medicine, providing relief from a wide variety of ailments, and also warming the body on a bitterly cold Scottish winter night!
By the late 1600’s the government had realised the immense profit making potential of Scotch whisky, and began to tax it.
In 1831 Aeneas Coffey invented the Coffey or Patent Still which enabled a continuous process of distillation to take place. This led to the production of Grain Whisky, a different, less intense spirit than the Malt Whisky produced in the distinctive copper pot stills. The lighter flavoured Grain Whisky, when blended with the more fiery malts, extended the appeal of Scotch Whisky to a considerably wider market.
What exactly is whiskey you ask? Whiskey is, in its most basic sense, a spirit that is distilled from grain. Sometimes the grain has been malted, sometimes not. It is aged, often for long periods of time, in wooden barrels (usually oak). This barrel-aging smoothes the rough palate of the raw spirit and adds aromatic and flavoring nuances along and the base amber hue, all of which set whiskies apart from white grain spirits such as Vodka, Gin and Aquavit, which are distilled closer to neutrality in taste, and then generally not aged in wood.
Here are our top whiskey and scotch picks:
|·||Johnny Walker Gold Label||·||Glenmorangie|
|·||Jack Daniels Old No. 7||·||Jameson Gold|