5 Things You Didn't Know About Whisky

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This historical drink has long been the indicator of status, scholarliness, or simply being a fine gentleman. Indeed, while distilled drinks have been around for several thousands of years, the fine whisky only got popular around the 15th century. Despite over half a millennium of immense popularity, there’s still much to be said about whisky – things you probably didn’t know:

Whisk(e)y

Can’t wrap the difference between ‘you’re’ and ‘your’ around your heads? Yikes! Not to worry. When it comes to whisky, either spelling works. The difference came about around the late 19th century when the Americans added the extra ‘e’ to separate themselves from the Irish. Apparently, that was around the time the Irish were making particularly subpar whiskys.

Bare Beginnings

Before the beer and whisky become what they are, you couldn’t tell the two apart! They pretty much start off identical. The difference comes from the fact that while beer is fermented, whisky is distilled. Other than that, both use the same basic ingredients. It’s all in the name – the word ‘whisky’ is simply an anglicized version of Irish Gaelic ‘Uisge Beatha’, meaning ‘water of life’ from its clearness. To capture the alcohol, the spirit is obtained through the distillation of beer.

Family Heirloom

A bottle of whisky could last as long as time. Well, at least a few hundred years, to be more precise. But not that it’s any good after five years once opened, but the Guinness World Record for “Oldest Whisky”, a bottle of Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky, was such a family heirloom. Passed across generations in an Irish family and said to be bottled around the early 1850s, the bottle recently snagged a impressive US$19,800 at Bonhams in London.

Fairly Frozen

Crave a particularly cold glass of whisky? Pop it in the freezer then, without the worry of retrieving a bottle of ice, since whisky can withstand temperatures of up to about negative 30 degrees Celcius!

On the Rocks?

When in doubt, simply remember neat single malts and blends on the rocks. The ice for blended whisky serves to mask its particular harshness, although whenever possible, it’s always better to always have it neat. Malt whisky, on the other hand, is simply not made for the ice cubes, which will take away a considerable percentage of the aroma, and not to mention, ruin the raw taste of the whisky.

You may also like:​ Guide: How to Buy Scotch Whisky

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