Whisky
Fact

1

Spirit destined to be whisky is not allowed to be called whisky until it is at least 3 years old. Until then it is referred to as ‘new-make’ spirit.

Whisky
Fact

2

Whisky does not age further once bottled. Therefore a whisky bottled in 1991 as 10 years old is not now 20 years old in 2011. However, whiskies bottled in decades or centuries ago can show some change, especially if the closure is not air-tight.

Whisky
Fact

3

The smoky, medicinal flavours in Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg, for example are, down to the barley being dried over a peat fire, rather than a smokeless, anthracite one.

Whisky
Fact

4

The colour of whisky is determined by the type and freshness of oak and what was previously in the barrel before being filled with new-make.

Whisky
Fact

5

New-make (whisky before it’s whisky) is completely colourless. It gains all of its colour through the maturation process in cask, aside from those that may have (permitted) spirit caramel added to them.

Whisky
Fact

6

E150, or spirit caramel, is allowed to be added to whisky to ‘adjust’ the colour of it. This will only, generally, take place in large commercial bottlings and allegedly rarely taints the flavour.

Whisky
Fact

7

Whisky is derived from the Scots ‘Uisgea Beatha’ (ouishky var, roughly, phonetically). This in turn is derived from Aqua Vitae – the latin for ‘water of life’.

Whisky
Fact

8

Whisky contains more than double the flavour components (congeners) of it’s nearest competitors – cognac and rum. Over 100 complex flavours versus 5 to 10 in vodka…

Whisky
Fact

9

The French drink more Scotch Whisky than they do Cognac.

Whisky
Fact

10

95-97% of all Scotch Whisky is maturing in American white oak ex-Bourbon barrels. The rest is doing so in mostly European ex-Sherry Butts.

Whisky
Fact

11

A Bourbon barrel has a 200 litre capacity, a hogshead 250 litres, whilst a Sherry ‘Butt’ and a Port ‘Pipe’ take between 500-600 litres of spirit.

Whisky
Fact

12

Most distilleries of old were previously known as breweries and converted when the farmers/brewers recognised the potential business of distilling.

Whisky
Fact

13

Phylloxera Vastatrix is a vine-killing pest that wiped out nine tenths of European vine-stocks in the late 1800s, including those used for Cognac. Scotland’s budding whisky brands soon picked up where the French left off…

Whisky
Fact

14

Up to 60-80% of the flavour of the final whisky is thought to be gleaned from the cask it matures in.

Whisky
Fact

15

Bourbon producers are only allowed to use brand-new (fresh) oak barrels. This leaves them a few second-hand casks knocking around…

Whisky
Fact

16

The evaporation of alcohol from a whisky barrel during maturation is referred to as the ‘Angel’s Share’.

Whisky
Fact

17

Whisky is Scottish. Whiskey is Irish or American. Maker’s Mark is an exception…’.

Whisky
Fact

18

Katie Tunstall was given a handmade guitar made from cask staves from her favourite Talisker distillery in 2009.

Whisky
Fact

19

Johnny Depp is a huge fan of the heavily peated and meaty Lagavulin, but is also Tee-Total. He enjoys a nosing of it now again!

Whisky
Fact

20

The American series ‘Mad Men’, set in the glamorous 1950s/60s has helped make whisky cool again. But then we know that already, right?

Whisky
Fact

21

Whisky is now made in over 30 countries, with fine drams emerging from Japan, India, Taiwan, Sweden, New Zealand, the USA and even England…

Whisky
Fact

22

The largest percentage of new distilling activity is in Ireland, with at least 6 new distilleries already producing and dozens more planned or being built.

Whisky
Fact

23

Johnny Walker was a grocer in Kilmarnock in the mid 1800s who specialised in blending tea, until he decided to try his hand at blending whisky too…

Whisky
Fact

24

Around 90% of all Scotch whisky consumed around the world today is blended Scotch whisky…

Whisky
Fact

25

Around 90% of most malt whisky distilleries production will go into blended Scotch whisky.

Whisky
Fact

26

Blended Scotch is the product of a proportion of malt whisky blended with a usually larger proportion of grain whisky.

Whisky
Fact

27

Blended Malt whisky is a blend of two or more malt whisky distilleries product.

Whisky
Fact

28

Single Malt whisky is the product of whisky made using 100% malted barley at a ‘single’ distillery using copper pot stills.

Whisky
Fact

29

Whisky must be bottled at at least 40% ABV (Alcohol by Volume).