.One Busy Guy presents..
All About Scotch
Blended or single malt who among us doesn't enjoy a nice scotch and soda? We did our best to determine the origins and a bit of history on this pastime... here is what we discovered!
Apparently the first historical reference to whisky appears in Scotland around 1493. However, it is not until after 1500 that the 'Edinburgh Guild of Barbers' is officially licensed to sell whisky. Barley is a key ingredient in the making of beer and distilled spirits. Barley is conveniently well suited to colder climates and it is no mystery why it grows well in Scotland and Germany. In September of 1506 King James IV himself (yes, the bible guy) receives, on the 15th and 17th, a quantity of 'agua vite' (also meaning 'water of life').
Distillation was a process originally developed for creating wines and perfumes. Local monasteries adapted the process for the brewing of sacramental spirits. Especially in places where grapes were not plentiful.
In the Scottish province of Tain in 1614 the last will and testament of one John Denoon records a brewing apparatus as an asset to his estate. Some years later in 1644 the notorious Oliver Cromwell imposed a tax on malt (a key ingredient) that proves too difficult to collect. Very soon many households are producing whisky for their own consumption and many personal recipes have been discovered (they didn't want to pay the tax). This is pretty much how it went for the next 150 years!
Whisky is still basically a 5 step program: turn the barley into malt, add the unique spring water turning the malt into mash, add yeast and await fermentation, distill and purify, age three years. This is a terribly simplified version of what occurs but we hope you get the idea. All whisky is aged three years and cannot legally be termed so until that time (storage adds to the pricey nature). Each distillery employs a jealously guarded recipe creating it's own unique flavor, bouquet and consistency.
Our dictionary defines the word 'glen' as 'a narrow secluded valley'. As such 'Glenturret' is licensed in 1775, 'Glenlivet' applies for licensing in 1824. Other distilleries follow suit: 'Chivas' in 1839, 'Glenmorangie' in 1843, 'Glenfiddich' in 1886, and 'Johnny Walker' in 1909. These are but a few of many esteemed distilleries!
Scotch whisky is enjoyed around the world! It has set the standards by which other brands are judged. It is beloved by beggars and kings alike. It appears in popular song ('...mud in your eye...'). Whether blended or single malt it is created from age old recipes still in use today!
Special thanks to www.scotchwhisky.net for their enormous resources!