Random musings from an English expat in Spain slogging through the trenches of traditional and self-publishing. Following my attempts to eke a living through creative writing, graphic design, whilst writing the kind of novels I like to read.
booze is big business, the number of licenced micro distillers are
exploding on to the market from craft distillers. Before, you needed to
be backed up by millions, and could afford to wait four or five years
before you started seeing a return from sales, nowadays aging techniques
have cut down the waiting time to under a year and a half and the
options on the size of a still set up are smaller, thus making it
possible to have a start-up for well under a million, premises,
licencing and labour costs, notwithstanding.
In England and Wales, they may soon be having their own whisky
revolution, as some barriers are coming down and licences are being
granted to small scale distillers as low as 350 litres, which is well
below the archaic minimum, but there is the added problem of obtain an
excise warehouse (bond).
The Origin and History Of Scotch Whisky
Origins and History of Scotch Whisky go back hundreds of years and was
first distilled in Scotland, hence the name Scotch. The term whisky is
from Gaelic: 'uisge beatha' meaning, lively water. The process of
distillation has been around for centuries, from ancient Egyptians,
producing perfumes, to 3rd century Greeks distilling chemicals, but not
at this time for alcohol.
The spirit commonly made in monasteries, was widely known by medieval
Latin distillers as aqua vitae 'lively water', and also known as 'water
of life' because it was used for medicinal intendment: for longevity of
life, relief of palsy, colic and smallpox. In 1505, Edinburgh Surgeon
Barber's monopolies the distillation of aqua vitae, this fact again,
enhancing its perceived medicinal properties. King James IV was fond of
ethyl alcohol, and visited Dundee a year later paying a barber for a
supply of aqua vitae.
Scotch as it is usually referred was originally made from malt barley it
was not until the latter half of the eighteen century that distillers
started to use wheat and rye. Scottish whisky is divided into five
categories: single grain, blended grain, single malt, blended malt and
blended Scotch whisky. Whisky is kept in oak barrels and aged for at
least three years.
The first written recording of whisky was in the Exchequer Rolls of
Scotland in 1495. A friar from Lindores Abbey, Fife called John Cor was
the distiller. The etched entry was for eight bolls of malt and said to
be sufficient to produce over 500 bottles of aqua vitae.
The Union Act with England in 1707, raised taxes dramatically. The
popularity of whisky attracted the attention of the Scottish parliament,
introduced the malt tax at the end of the 17th century. Increasing
rates of taxation drove the distillers underground forcing over half of
the Scottish whisky output to become illegal.
Smuggling was standard practice for a 150 years with no moral imputation
attached. Clever ways were thought of to store and transport the
illicit spirit including storage space made available under pulpits and
transported in coffins, this all to allude the watchful eyes of the
Excise men or Gaugers.
By the time the 1820s came around over14,000 felonious stills were being
commandeered annually, almost half the whisky consumed in Scotland was
The Duke of Gordon a forerunner in the illicit and high quality
distillation of whisky propose in the House of Lords that whisky
production should be legalized making it profitable for the government.
In 1823, the British passed the Excise Act, legalizing distillation for a
license fee of 10 pounds; this eventually put an end to smuggling and
the making of the bootleg brew.
Geographically whisky is spelled differently with America and Ireland
adding an e changing it to whiskey, apparently to distinguish their
higher quality product from the poorer Scottish flavour at the time.
Today, Scotch whisky has evolved into one of the greatest spirits the
world over. Alexander Walker created a blended whiskey in 1820, in
Kilmarnock adding to the Origins and History of Scotch Whiskey and
becoming the best-selling brand of Scottish whisky today known as