Imagine a world in which whisky could be aged in mere hours, rather than the several years it currently takes. In theory, you could sit and enjoy a dram while a whisky was specially made and aged for you while you wait. Well, recently released documents, previously kept secret, have revealed that this could have been our reality, with scientists in the 1950s discovering a way to do just this!
According to the documents, which are now in the National Archives, a trial batch of this speedy whisky, made in 1951, worked well, producing promising results. This new form of whisky making was created by circulating the unaged (or immature) whisky through active chemicals. It was even believed that this process made the whisky taste better!
The process, invented by a Mr Menzies, the managing director of Fettercairn Distilleries Limited, in Kincardineshire, was stated to “reduce the maturing time from about five to ten years to a few hours”. Analysis of the whisky following the trial revealed that the spirit was similar to that of a pot still malt whisky. It featured a much higher alcohol content than well-known blends, at around six times higher.
However, fears that the innovation would undermine the industry led them to be quickly shelved, as it would have allowed easier imitation of top brands overseas. Concerns were raised especially for the Scotch whisky industry, with letters from the Board of Trade believing that “If the invention were to be taken up abroad, foreign distillers might possibly be able to destroy our exports by producing something nearly equivalent. These are gloomy prospects.”
What do you think about the potential for the whisky industry with these shelved plans? Would you try a whisky that was matured quickly or do you prefer the traditional methods? Let us know what you think on social media or in the comments. Don’t forget; if you are looking to enjoy a dram of your favourite whisky, however long it took to mature, then why not try it accompanied by a quality Romeo y Julieta cigar from Havana House!?