When you think of Scotland, and perhaps to a lesser degree, Ireland as well, which drink immediately springs to mind? Nope, not Irn bru, we’re of course talking about whiskey, the beverage with deep Scottish roots stretching back centuries upon centuries. Whisky is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the entire world, with the whisky brewing and distilling industries generating billions upon billions in profit every single year. There are many different types of whisky out there, but for many, you simply cannot go wrong with Malt whisky, evident in the fact that for centuries upon centuries, in times where computers now dominate most forms of business, the distilling processes and strategies used to create Malt Whiskies, are basically the same now as they were hundreds of years ago. Malt whisky however, has an incredibly interesting history and is actually one of the most interesting beverages to learn about. For that reason, we’ll now be taking a look at a few interesting facts about Malt Whisky, so you can sound smart the next time you order yourself a glass of the finest malt whisky on offer.
Irish roots? – Though Malt whiskey and Scotland go hand in hand together (Scotch whisky), in actual fact, the oldest records and references of whisky production are not from Scotland at all, but rather from Ireland instead. As it is thought that Irish monks actually used to distil whisky from as far back as the 5th century. The very first Scottish reference to malt whisky however, was found in documents known as the ‘Exchequer rolls’, which were special accounting rolls used for royal finances. In this document, in 1494, a special allowance was made for what was jotted down as ‘eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor, wherewith to be used to make “aqua vitae” which translates to water of life, which is how whisky was once referred to.
With or without the ‘E’? – Scotch Malt whisky is always, always spelled with no ‘e’ though there is no clear answer as to why. Other nations that brew these beverages however, spell them with the e. If you were to refer to Scotch whisky as Scotch Whiskey to a Scotsmen however, be ready to have your head taken off (or at the very least, have your error politely corrected).
There are different types of malt whisky – Malt whisky is quite a broad term as there are a number of different types of malt whisky, with the two most common being: blended malt, and single malt. Blended malt is made from special blends of different malt whiskies from all across Scotland, whilst single malt is brewed in one single distillery.
Still as popular as ever – Considering that Scotland is a relatively small country, the whisky producing business up there is incredibly lucrative. There are over 100 distilleries up in Scotland, and five separate regions for whisky production. These are:
- The highlands
- The lowlands