So many people love scotch, but they don’t really know much about it. It is Scotland’s signature spirit, and it has a long and rather controversial history. It is an integral part of Scottish culture, and making it falls somewhere between art and science. If you didn’t know already, scotch was once illegal. The English Malt Tax of 1725 shut down most of Scotland’s whisky production, but it didn’t stop people from drinking the alcohol. King George IV loved this drink. The spirit back then was not quite the same as it is now. Distillers only started aging their whisky in the 19th century. The first written record of Scotch is a mention in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland on June 1, 1494. 1 in 50 jobs are supported by the industry today.
There is water in your whisky. Legally, Scotch must be distilled in Scotland from grains, water, and yeast, and aged for a minimum for 3 years in oak casks. Some whiskies are actually a few years older than they say they are on the bottle. The age statement on the label refers to the minimum number of years the spirit has spent maturing in barrels. Most whiskies, even single malts, are a blend of casks from different years. If you ever go to France, just know that they love their Scotch. They consume more Scotch than any other country. Not everyone can handle drinking whisky straight, and it doesn’t have to be taken that way. Adding water can actually allow its aromatics and the subtle nuances of its character to bloom. When Scotch goes into the wood barrel, it is clear. It gets its color from interacting with the barrel. The older the whisky, the darker it will be. A sealed bottle of whisky will last unopened for a century or even longer. Once opened, it stays fresh for about 5 years. Enjoy this lovely new knowledge, and drink responsibly.