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The history of Scotch is about 500 years in the making. Scotch has reached around 180 countries around the world. The number of bottles shipped every second is tremendous (about 53 bottles), and the industry is supporting more than eleven thousand jobs throughout Scotland. It all goes back to Friar John.
Looking into the Scotch tax records, there is a recorded entry on June 1st, 1495, “to Friar John Cor, by order of the King, to make aqua vitae VII bolls of malt.” The Latin term aqua vitae means ‘water of life’. The English then recorded the word as ‘whisky’.
The main difference is the location where Scotch and Whisky are made. The second important difference is the ingredients and spelling. Scotch is whisky and made in Scotland. While Bourbon is distilled from corn, Scotch is mostly made from malted barley.
Scotch is made in five regions in Scotland. These regions are Speyside, Islay, Campbeltown, Lowland, and Highland.
The Single Malt Scotch Whisky has to be produced and bottled in Scotland. It is made from 100 percent malted barley and has to be distilled in just one distillery. There are also single malts that come from just one barrel (single barrel), and then there are blends (made from different barrels within the same distillery).
Let me start by stating that there is no "right or wrong" selection of a scotch or whisky. It is a personal choice. Your journey might begin with a bar or with a recommendation by a friend. You should start with a spirit that is gentle and not overwhelming. You might want to initially stay away from a peated dram, looking for a smooth and sweet start. The price of the selection is not always a reflection of the quality of the pour. Breaking the bank and being disappointed is not worth it. Most stores have a substantial selection of small bottles, which will open the world of spirits for you.
Enjoy your journey!
Whisky in Gaelic reads ‘uisge beathe’, which means ‘water of life’.
The single malt whisky is not a product of just one single cask. It is the product of one single distillery but comes from several casks on that distillery.
The most crucial fact about Scotch is that it has to age for a least three years in casks in Scotland to be called Scotch.
There are about 20 million casks maturing in Scotland in 2021. With a population of about 5.4 million, there are about four casks for every person living there. These casks are produced by over 140 malt and grain distilleries, creating the largest concentration of whisky production in the world.
When you store and mature Whisky in these exceptional barrels, there will be about 2% evaporating over the year. I am sure that you have heard about the famous ‘Angel’s Share’.
I believe that the price of a bottle of scotch whisky is a very personal preference. You need to feel comfortable about the price, selection, and experience, and make sure that you don’t move ahead of yourself. My price limit is around $150 for a bottle, and I spend about $25 to $50 on average.
Blended Whisky has its own unique flavor profile. In the past, many of the single malt whisky was younger and considered intensive—it required the blending of 15 to 50 individual whiskies.
In 2020, more than 10,000 people were directly employed by the Scottish whisky industry. The tourism industry brings over 2 million visitors to the Scottish distilleries. The distilleries are the third most popular tourist attraction in Scotland.
The bottle size in the USA is 750 ml, and in the UK it is 700 ml. A lot of the Scotch I enjoy is between 40% and 49% ABV. Scotland is shipping 42 bottles of scotch whisky to 175 markets around the world, which comes to 42 bottles each second, and totals to over 1.3 billion bottles every year (according to the Scotch Whisky Association).
This is an interesting question. I always wondered what it was called when I saw my whisky running down the inside of my glass. We see the "legs" when we purposely, or by accident, swirl the whisk(e)y in the glass. The whisky flows down the inside of your glass. This was one of the many wonderful things I enjoyed watching when I started drinking and paying attention to whisky and bourbon.
The beautiful thing about the legs is what they reveal about the whisky. They indicate the strength and the character of the whisky. If the whisky runs down the glass faster, it will be an indicator that you have a lighter whisky. When you see the whisky taking its time to make it down to the bottom, you will have a more substantial and robust dram in your glass. There are also indicators regarding the strength of the whisky.
The message you can take with you is, “A young whisky runs fast and has thinner legs.
It is amazing to see how the color of the clear Scotch changes when it finally makes its way into the barrel. Over time, as the Scotch ages in the barrel, it gets darker.
You might have heard of the “Angel’s Share,” which is the amount of spirit that will diminish during the aging process. When reading about it, I learned that it is about 4% per year from the barrel. That is one of the reasons that a 30 year old bottle can become very pricey.
I have a bottle that my Dad gave me many years ago. It is still sealed and in a dark and dry place in my basement. I was recently asked, how long will the bottle stay that way? As a general rule, if you have a sealed bottle, it can last at least 10 years. Needless to say, many of the bottles that you can see at auctions today can be centuries old. It all depends on how you store your bottles.
We were recently asked what a Blended Scotch Whisky is, and what is required for it to be called that. “Blended” means that there is a mix of dozens of different malt whiskies combined with grain whisky, and this will create the desired blend.
When focusing on the individual percentages of each malt whisky, they may be small. Each of the blends contributes to the main blend with its own, often very unique, characters, resulting in the blend that you are looking for. The blender has to buy or produce different malt whiskies to get the same blend over and over again.
The interest in the scotch market in the USA continues to show a substantial growth pattern. We have recently launched a sub-website focusing on the Single Malt Scotch. We will start introducing new and upcoming distilleries and some of the more traditional single malts. Smaller distilleries, looking for establishing their brand in the USA, will especially benefit from the opportunity to introduce their products and distillery on the additional platform that The Scotch World is now making available.