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Monday, March 25, 2013

Whisky without an "E"

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Writing about the world’s best scotch whisky has its alter effects on you! You tend to keep thinking about it everyday. And because of this one fine day I sat and researched about it!  Here are my findings!


 Did you know that Scotch whisky is always spelt without an “e” ? Most other nations such as United States, Australia and Ireland call their similar spirits Whiskey. I being very bad in spellings found this very interesting decided never to add an “e” when writing to a Scotsman. Simple way to remember the spelling is if it comes from a country without an “e” in its spelling, then its spelt as Whisky. (eg Scotland, Japan, Canada).

Scotch whisky is a lot like distilled beer. It’s made using malted barley but no hops are added like you add to beer. It’s then distilled twice to create a smooth strong spirit that is aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 3 years before it can be called whisky. Traditionally these barrels came from the port-producing regions of Portugal and the Sherry-producing regions of Spain. As these became harder to obtain, Scotch distilleries turned to their American cousins in Kentucky to buy Bourbon barrels, which by law could only be used once before being discarded.
  
There are a number of classifications of Scotch whisky, but the main ones are: 
  • Blended Whisky: This is a mix of grain whisky and malt whisky, and makes up the majority of Scotch that is consumed around the world.
  • Single Grain Whisky: This is relatively rare and is made from unmalted grains such as corn.
  • Blended Malt Whisky: This is also sometimes known as “Vatted Malts” or “Pure Malts” It is made from blends of a number of single malt whiskies from across Scotland.
  • Single Malt Whisky: This is made, as the name suggests, from malted barley grains from a single distillery. They’re often sold with age statements (10/12/18 years, etc.), which means that they are a blend of single malts from the same distillery where the youngest whisky used is the age stated on the bottle, unless it is a single cask bottle where the whisky must all be from the same making.


If you were wondering, the term “whisky” is actually derived from the Gaelic words uisage beatha, which in turn came from the Latin Acqua Vitae or “water of life.” It’s thought that the name refers to the fact that these spirits were first used by monks for medicinal purposes. Very interesting history, isn’t it? Strangely the oldest reference to the production of whisky is not in fact in Scotland, but in Ireland, where it is believed that monks began distilling spirits as far back as the fifth century.

A staggering one billion bottles of scotch are exported from Scotland every year. America is the second-largest customer, importing an impressive 120 million bottles a year. This is still quite a ways behind the French, however, who are rapidly approaching 200 million bottles a year.

Ever wondered what’s the best way to drink whisky? Most distillers suggest adding just a very small amount of room-temperature water to the glass. This lowers the alcohol content slightly and allows many of the distinct flavors of the spirit to come to the front.

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