8 Fascinating Facts about Whisky

8 Fascinating Facts about Whisky

Whisky is the tipple of choice for many, but while you might know your malt from your grain or your rye from your corn, how much do you actually know about your usual down at the local? It’s been around for centuries and has been there for generation after generation when they need it most; it’s often known as the drink for every mood be you happy, sad or somewhere in between. Much like marmite, you either love it, or you hate it, and either way, we’ve listed some of our favourite facts you probably didn’t know about Whisky.

The oldest whisky in the world is over 150 years old…

The Guinness World Record names a 400ml bottle of Glenavon Special Liqueur whisky as the world’s oldest whisky. It is estimated to have been produced between 1851 and 1858 and was owned by a Family in Ireland until it was sold to London’s Bonham’s store, fetching an eye-watering sum of £14,850.

…But that does not make it the most expensive.

In 2018, the Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 60-year-old was auctioned in Edinburgh for £848,750. Part of the reason behind this price is that this particular whisky comes in an extremely limited edition bottle. Designed by pop artist Valerio Adami, only 12 bottles featuring this particular label were ever produced. Originally sold for £20,000, these bottles were already something of a collectable from day one. Much like the top-shelf stuff you save for matches, hatches and despatches, we strongly suspect this particular bottle is kept for very special occasions.

The best way to take your whisky is off the rocks, not shaken or stirred.

When it comes to drinking whisky for leisure, it’s certainly an each to their own kind of affair, but most agree that ice is not the answer. Whilst most of us relish in the idea of a cool and refreshing alcoholic drink, and it’s difficult to imagine a decent G&T without it, many claim that ice dulls the flavour of whisky, and that the rapid change in temperature both inhibits flavour and freezes the aroma. Alternatively, adding a small drop of cold water will both cool the beverage and prevent the alcoholic content from numbing your senses.

glass of whisky

Whisky is a sound investment.

Unlike other alcoholic drinks, including wine, whisky neither improves nor worsens with age, meaning under no circumstances will a bottle ever lose its value. The older the bottle, the less readily available they become, so hold the property investments and get yourself a couple of bottles of the good stuff to treasure for years to come. That said, willpower is a must…

The spelling of whisk(e)y depends on where it comes from.

When it comes to writing it out for your shopping list, the way you spell this spirit depends on where it comes from. As a general rule, it’s ‘I’ before ‘e’ always, but occasionally you can skip the ‘e’ altogether, but only if it’s from Scotland, Canada, England, Wales or Australia. Why those two places, and why the spelling has to change in the first place remains to be seen, but this could prove to be fantastic pub quiz knowledge for you to pull out the bag in front of work colleagues. Read more about the history of the variations with our Whisky vs Whiskey blog.

Whisky is more like your favourite beer than you think…

In fact, whisky begins life as wort, which is made out of all the typical ingredients you’d expect to formulate your preferred pint – malts, yeast and water. Not only does this consist of the same ingredients as beer before it is distilled, but it is also a concoction used to ward away any unwanted pests – although it’s probably best not to think that your drinking pesticide next time you have a couple after work.

Whisky means “water of life”.

In Gaelic, whisky translates to uisce beatha which means “water of life” which is perhaps something we can all agree on! Interestingly, when whisky was first circulated in Europe by Irish monks, no one could pronounce the name, so in what could be one of the earliest examples of slang, they changed the name to fuisce.

Angel tax takes 4% of all whisky distilled.

When whisky is distilled, up to 4% of it evaporates through the barrels. This is affectionately known as angel tax, and it is said that there are angels that steal a proportion of the whisky to make sure that it is good enough for us to drink – a test it seems to pass every time!  That said, the angels leave the good stuff well alone once it’s bottled – so rest assured you’re getting the full amount from our bottles!

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading some fantastic facts about one of your favourite spirits, and that you have something interesting to say next time a bottle is cracked open in your company. You can browse the bottles of whisky we have for sale via our website, along with an extensive range of other spirits, tobacco, pipes, cigars and accessories, and after a long, hard week of work, there’s no better way to relax!

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