You, as a whiskey connoisseur, know that your preferred beverage is exquisite. But how well do you know the alcoholic beverage’s backstory? If you’re a trivia buff or just enjoy learning interesting information, you’ll enjoy this list of interesting facts about whiskey. If you consider yourself a “part-time expert” on all things whiskey, you can still benefit from brushing up on the following nuggets.
Whiskey Vapour Causes Trees to Become Charred
Ever notice how all the trees near a distillery are pitch black? The neighboring distillery is the likely source of the sickness. Fortunately, it only alters the tree’s hue and not the tree itself.
The Term “Whiskey” Has a Wide Range of Meanings in the United States
In the United States, the term “whiskey” can refer to a wide variety of distilled alcoholic beverages. The term is so all-encompassing that it encompasses more than 40 subgenres of whiskey. Bourbon, rye, single malt, and wheat whiskey are just some of the varieties available.
Whiskey Does Not Spoil Easily
Don’t worry if you discover an old bottle of Glenfiddich in your parent’s cellar and have no idea how long it will last because whiskey doesn’t expire. The flavor of an unopened bottle won’t alter if it’s kept in the right conditions. If the bottle has been opened, and especially if more than half of the contents have been consumed, the oxygen inside will have altered the flavor within two years.
Because of this, whiskey is a better long-term investment than wine or other alcoholic beverages with a finite shelf life. When the most expensive bottle of whiskey sells for more than a million dollars, this information could prove useful.
Whiskey is Affected by the Weather
Do you know why Canadian whiskey tastes so different from whiskey made in warmer climates? The local climate also has a significant impact on the whiskey’s final flavor.
The Whiskey’s Flavor Can Be Inferred From the Design of the Still Used to Distill It
Whiskey’s core flavor can be gleaned from observing the stills, even though there are several contributors to the flavor. Whiskies made in shorter, wider pot stills are fuller and stronger, while those made in taller, narrower stills are smooth and mild. A boil ball placed in the still’s lower neck serves the same purpose, separating heavier from lighter material. Lighter, more floral, and fruity flavors are produced because the ball redirects part of the spirit into the pot before it reaches the neck.
Whiskey’s Flavor Can Be Altered by the Addition of Water
The water used in the distillation process can affect the flavor of whiskey just as much as the weather does. The low iron content of the water in the South makes it ideal for distilling premium whiskey and bourbon. Whiskey can become a dark brown or even black when diluted with iron-rich water. Jack Daniels ensures that the water used in their process is as pure and iron-free as possible by sourcing it from limestone caves.
Most Single Malts Are Blended
While the term “single malt” refers to whiskey produced at a single distillery, the vast majority of single malts are actually blended. While it’s common knowledge that most distilleries store their whiskey in barrels to mature, how much whiskey do you think is there? More than 2.3 million barrels of Jack Daniels are currently aging. More than 5.7 million barrels are now aging in the state of Kentucky. The whiskey barrels at most distilleries are heavily insured. Have you heard that Jack Daniels possesses the greatest stockpile of fireproof foam in the East? The distillery certainly wouldn’t want their priceless wares burned to the ground.
During the Time of Prohibition, Doctors Frequently Recommended Whiskey
Medicinal spirits, most commonly whiskey or brandy, could be prescribed by doctors who applied for permission to do so. Alcohol would be available at pharmacies (as medical marijuana is now). Approximately 64 million pints of alcohol were prescribed by doctors in the first year of Prohibition. With pharmacists increasingly functioning like booze stores, businesses were able to expand. For instance, between 1920 and 1933, the number of pharmacies in the Walgreen chain rose from twenty to almost four hundred.
Which is Correct: Whisky or Whiskey?
Irish and American whiskey drinkers favor whiskey, while Scots, Canadiens, Japanese, and the rest of the world utilize whisky. When the Irish began shipping whiskey to the United States, they sought to set themselves apart from the inferior Scotch being sold there, so they gave their product a second ‘e’ in the name.
Quinoa Can Be Used to Distill Whiskey
Do you, or do you know someone who, despite being health-conscious, enjoys unwinding with a shot of whiskey at the end of the day? If so, consider this a fact you’ll appreciate. Whiskey is often distilled from corn, rye, or barley. But did you know that quinoa, buckwheat, and faro can all be used to distill whiskey? These incredibly nutritious grains can be reduced to a smooth and tasty whiskey. Keep your eyes peeled; there are a few distilleries in the US that produce whiskey from quinoa.
Despite popular belief, whiskey wasn’t first distilled in Scotland; rather, it was likely in Ireland in the fifth century by monks. The first written record of aqua vitae in Scotland dates back to 1494, when an allotment of “eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor wherewith to make aqua vitae” was recorded in the Exchequer rolls, the royal finances’ accounting records.
Scotland is the World’s Leading Whiskey Producer
Despite whiskey being produced in countries as diverse as the United States, Ireland, and even Taiwan, Scotland has maintained its position as the world’s leading producer for well over a century. Scotland is home to more than 130 distilleries, some of which produce world-renowned whiskies like Johnnie Walker, Glenfiddich, and Glenlivet. There are four times as many whiskey barrels as people.
However, as we have seen, there are significant variations in whiskey production, particularly in terms of aging and mash bill. While barley was once the only grain used to make whiskey in Scotland, these days you can also find varieties made from wheat and rye. The label must carry a statement about the age of the youngest whisky component. Scotch whiskey may be broken down into just five types: single malt, single grain, blended malt, blended grain, and blended Scotch whiskey.