World Whisky Day

Nine interesting facts to know on World Whisky Day:

1. The world’s oldest whisky is over 150 years old

Rumoured to have been bottled between 1851 and 1858, a 400ml bottle of Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky holds the Guinness World Record for ‘World’s Oldest Whisky’. Owned by an Irish family for generations, the bottle was auctioned at Bonhams in London and fetched a staggering £14,850.

2. Whisky – Just for the Scots?

To ‘e’ or not to ‘e’, that’s the question. When it comes to spelling, only refer to Scottish / Scotch whisky without the ‘e’…if its origins are rooted elsewhere, opt for ‘whiskey’.

3. Rare Macallan ‘M’ – the most expensive whisky ever sold

A Lalique decanter of Macallan ‘M’ whisky scooped the prestigious title of ‘world’s most expensive whisky’ when it sold at auction in Hong Kong for £393,109 earlier this year. The luxury decanter contains 6 litres of whisky which were drawn from Spanish oak sherry casks dating from the 1940s to the 1990s.

4. Whisky means ‘water of life’

Whisky in Gaelic reads ‘uisge beathe’, which translates as ‘water of life’. What more do you need to know?

5. Scotch whisky generates £135 a second

The export of whisky generates a healthy £135 a second for the Scottish government with just under 2,500 bottles of whisky being exported from Scotland every minute.

6. The Angel’s pinch 2% a year

Whisky stored in barrels gradually evaporates at a rate of 2% a year. This is referred to as the famous ‘angel’s share’.

7. Life begins at 40 for whisky!

Scotch whisky has to be bottled at a minimum strength of 40% ABV, meaning life really does begin at 40. Some whiskies can reach strengths of over 60% ABV…always read the label.

8. Three’s the magic number when it comes to whisky

Scotch whisky can only be called Scotch whisky when it has been left for a minimum of three years to age in casks, in Scotland. Some distilleries hold casks of whisky which are a grand 70+ years old.

9. Who invented whisky? The debate goes on…

Some say the Egyptians. Others say the Romans. In truth, no one is quite sure who invited whisky however the first documented evidence of whisky in Scotland refers to Irish monks and an order of ‘eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor to make aquavitae’ which is listed in the Scottish Exchequer Rolls of 1494.

Given our past discussions many Cats know these facts already – but for those who don’t.

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72 Responses to World Whisky Day

  1. nerblnob

    The “e” statement is well wrong.
    Canadian, Welsh, Tasmanian, English, Japanese and some American whisky are all e-less.

    Other than that, why quibble? It’s all good.

  2. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Scottish squatters along the Riverina introduced Scotch whisky into Australia in the 1850’s.

    It has long been my contention that these individuals never achieved the recognition they deserve.

  3. GeorgeL

    Modern singlr malt whiskies achieve the same flavour enhancing benefits of aging as the more traditional Scottish single malts through using smaller wooden casks which allow a greater degree of contact between the whisky and the wood (i.e. greater surface area of wood per litre of whisky). This is one reason why the relatively youthful Tasmanian single malts, such as Nant, Sullivans Cove and Lark, are knocking ’em dead on the global whisky stage.

  4. Bert

    Why should one drink whisky only one day a year?

  5. sabrina

    Buy Blue Label King George V online from Aldi at $399 only from this morning.

  6. lotocoti

    Boothby said it best:

    … in the modern world Scotch whisky is about the only thing left that brings guaranteed and sustained comfort to mankind …

  7. Dr.Sir Fred Lenin

    Ye’vegotta start early Sinc .s’only way to enjoyWhiskey,as Gran’dad used to say,” the only thing you put in Whiskey ,is more Whiskey” and he lived to be Sixty! Who needs Enbalming?

  8. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    the only thing you put in Whiskey, is more Whiskey

    There are two things, best taken naked, and one of them is whisky.

  9. JohnA

    Bert #1308385, posted on May 17, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Why should one drink whisky only one day a year?

    I believe the Mad Hatter had the solution:

    World Un-Whisky Day x 364
    World Whisky Day x 1

    And of course “un” is French for one, so one could enjoy one whisky – at a time.

  10. I just knelt and prayed toward Mecca.
    The prayer went somewhere along the lines of “Sucks be to you.”

  11. Infidel Tiger

    What’s the best brand of cola to mix with whisky? I’m partial to caffeine free, diet Dr Pepper, but it’s probably more of a special occasion mixer than one for everyday consumption.

  12. vr

    Trying to decide between Hibiki and Yamazaki, which one should I pick?

  13. Dr.Sir Fred Lenin

    Used to be an Australian whiskeuy called Corio I think it was a byproduct of the petroeum industry,tasted like it,now that was a “whiskey” that really needed Coke or something to make it drinkable.
    Vanished from pipub shelves years ago I think.probably confiscated for rocket fuel for the space programme.

  14. Dr.Sir Fred Lenin

    Hibiki and Yamazaki? Are they some kind of Sushi? Dont soind like Whiskey do they?

  15. incoherent rambler

    Yamazaki is a fine drink.

    Corio should not be confused with COR-10.

    They don’t make it anymore.

  16. vr

    Sir Fred — Japanese whiskeys and seem to be highly regarded by those in the know.

  17. Sinclair Davidson

    vr – why buy just one? Get both and let us know which one is better.

    Mrs D has said I’m just allowed one scotch today – so I’ve picked Talisker.

  18. GeorgeL

    Used to be an Australian whiskeuy called Corio I think it was a byproduct of the petroeum industry

    It’s nickname in the good old days was COR 10 (C.O.R. – Commonwealth Oil Refineries, a joint venture between the Commonwealth Government and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company) which was a lubricating oil (for motor vehicles). I suspect many people got well and truly lubricated on it as well.

  19. Infidel Tiger

    Mrs D has said I’m just allowed one scotch today – so I’ve picked Talisker.

    Firkin or hogshead?

  20. vr

    My best to Mrs. D.

    Have to choose, coz of duty-free restrictions.

  21. What’s the best brand of cola to mix with whisky? I’m partial to caffeine free, diet Dr Pepper, but it’s probably more of a special occasion mixer than one for everyday consumption.

    Infidel, indeed!

    I must admit, coke is okay with cheap blends, but I hope to god you’re not putting caffeine-free Dr Pepper in single malts! Isle of Islay single malts are superb if you can handle the strong peat.

    Hard to believe, I know, but this is my kinda thread 🙂

  22. ChrisPer

    Yes those Islays are strong smoke indeed. Its waaay too reminiscent (for me) of the taste after a rough 24 hours fighting bushfires.

    Lagavoulin is wonderful, Glenmorangie excellent, and Glenfiddich a staple. I look very happily forward to being able to taste them again.

  23. Aldi and Dan Murphy’s sold out of KGV – they just got the regular Blue Label… Pffft!

  24. Tel

    I was just reading about the “Angel’s Share” and where it goes.

    Apparently, those Angels live here on Earth in the form of a black fungus that looks like soot and lives on any surface near ethanol vapour. First discovered in the town of Cognac and now a regular visitor in Scotland. It’s harmless but very hardy and literally runs on fumes. Some people think it looks ugly and want the warehouses to pay cleanup costs.

  25. Tel

    I’m partial to caffeine free, diet Dr Pepper,

    That isn’t cola, but it might suffice to make J-Walker’s Red Label into something drinkable.

  26. Bertie_Wooster

    I’m partial to caffeine free, diet Dr Pepper,

    Christ what a bunch of plebs. Buy something that doesn’t need mixing.

  27. stackja

    #1308677, posted on May 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm
    I’m partial to caffeine free, diet Dr Pepper,
    Christ what a bunch of plebs. Buy something that doesn’t need mixing.

    Milk, water or orange juice?

  28. gabrianga

    Whisky is Scotland’s second biggest export with nasal whining Union representatives still holding No1 position.

    The scourge of the Red Clyde and their descendants are here in force.

  29. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Red Label into something drinkable

    Try battery acid.

  30. Oh come on

    Why has Sinclair put a photo of all those glasses of apple juice on the Catallaxy masthead?

    Or are they urine samples? Some of those people were very dehydrated.

  31. Clam Chowdah

    There are two things, best taken naked, and one of them is whisky.

    A macho myth. After sniffing then tasting a very good whisky neat, a few drops of water opens things up.

    Adding nothing

    Many whisky drinkers believe that you should not add any water to your whisky under any circumstance. This is because you are tasting the whisky in its true natural form with all of the original distillery characteristics and flavours from the cask in which it has been maturing. This view is now seen as out of date. However, we recommend always trying a whisky as it comes from the bottle in the first instance – then you can make up your own mind and take it from there.

    Adding water

    By adding a few drops of water to a whisky, you can open up different, new and subtle flavours that you previously had not experienced. This is especially true when drinking cask strength whiskies that have higher alcohol levels (these can be up to and over 60% ABV in some cases). With cask strength whisky the alcohol and resulting burning in your mouth can overpower even the most prominent flavours. By adding some water, this dilutes the alcohol and reduces its effect, giving both the prominent and more subtle flavours a chance to shine. Imagine drinking a fruit cordial or concentrate without any water and then with water – it is essentially the same idea. How much water you then add is entirely dependent on your taste.

  32. Clam Chowdah

    BTW, I’m having an 18 yo Auchentoshan today with a Bolivar Churchill.

  33. Oh come on

    When I was in the trade, the standard for Scotch tasting panels was 1 part whisky, 2 parts distilled water (the purest form) for the reason mentioned in Abu’s quote. No idea what they’re doing currently.

  34. Clam Chowdah

    This water in the dram thing reminds me… I was staying at a Scottish friend’s home in London and he pulled out a special bottle of whisky his father in law had gifted him. When I asked for some water, he scorned and shamed me, declaring that I was a “wee jessie”. Embarrased, I accepted a snifter neat. One sip and I was coughing and hacking, something that had never happened to me. I thought that was just a cliche from Hollywood films – the first time city boy drinker with tears in his eyes gagging and choking while all of the horny-handed sons of toil and cowpokes laughed at him.

    My friend laughed his arse off at this, calmed down, then took a sip and… hacked and spluttered. “What the fook?” he inquired as he grabbed the bottle and read the label through teary eyes. Of course, it was somewhere over 60% APV.

    We both dropped a few drips of water in our glasses after which thinks progressed much more smoothly, and if you are drinking something special, like this, then you need it to break open the bouquet and squeeze out the complex flavours.

  35. Oh come on

    Mrs D has said I’m just allowed one scotch today – so I’ve picked Talisker.

    An excellent choice. My favourite widely available single malt.

  36. Gab

    squeeze out the complex flavours.

    A Thermomix can do that.

  37. Clam Chowdah

    I like what you’ve done with these scatter cushions, Gab.

  38. Clam Chowdah

    Talisker, Oban, Bowmore 18 are my favourites.

  39. Gab

    Thanks, Abu. I do my best work after a dram or three.

  40. Oh come on

    My #2 is Lagavulin.

  41. nerblnob

    Used to be an Australian whiskeuy called Corio I think it was a byproduct of the petroeum industry

    Could be, the distillery was close enough to Shell but even closer to the Pivot superphosphate terminal. I can still remember the song. “Every drop sold is FIVE YEARS OLD!

    I’ll back Sinclair’s choice of Talisker. That’s my pub choice although I don’t have it at home. I got hooked when they had a promotion giving away branded tumblers for every two drams you bought, except they had to be bought on separate days.
    Smoky, not too much so, but spicy.

    I’ll repeat the missus’s tasting notes for a famous Islay malt: like drinking Listerine from an ashtray.

    Best I’ve had was an 18yo Springbank that I got for my birthday. I’ll have the same again this year son if you’re reading.

  42. Oh come on

    Although I must admit I’ve been in a brandy mood of late so have been preferencing that over Scotch recently. I go through phases. I know less about cognacs and armagnacs than I do about Scotch whiskies, but then again the brandy market is less fragmented/sophisticated than the whisky market.

    Australia is arguably the second best brandy making nation in the world. Here’s a well-kept secret – some of our more expensive brandies will give a VSOP cognac a pretty decent run for its money, and at half the price. Premium Angoves brandies were always very good drinking, although I haven’t purchased a bottle for a while (too much duty free cognac to get through) and I’m not even sure if Angoves is still around! Their VSOP was a fine drop, and set you back $35-40 from memory.

  43. nerblnob

    Oh come on, have you tried the five and seven star Metaxas? They are superb and should lay any myths about Greek brandy to rest. The Spanish also do some good brandy. I’ve also drank my share of Russian/Georgian “konyak” but couldn’t really recommend one.

  44. Oh come on

    As for prestige Cognacs – you need to know what you’re buying. Much of it heads to the enormous mainland Chinese market (where consumers often drink it mixed with copious amounts of ice tea – I shit you not) and the gangsta market in the US. Neither market is particularly discerning and both are primarily status-driven. Hennessy seems to be a favourite of both. For this reason, I shy away from it – possibly unfairly.

    Anyway, enough brandy talk on a whisky thread.

  45. GeorgeL

    Listen to Bill Lark, the “Grandfather of Australian Whiskey” being interviewed by Margaret Throsby.

  46. Oh come on

    Nerblnob – no, I haven’t. Used to sell it, never tried. Haven’t seen it for ages. I’ll look out for it.

    And it doesn’t surprise me that the Spanish make quality brandy; Spain is possibly the most underrated wine producer in the world.

  47. Andrew

    Sinclair, you should check out these guys if you haven’t already:
    Scotch Malt Whisky Society

    The whiskies there are all rare and they bottle at cask strength. Guaranteed to beat anything off the shelf at Dan Murphy’s.

  48. Oh come on

    I was recently at a Dan Murphys in a relatively affluent area and was surprised at their single malt range – it was paltry in comparison to its range of other alcoholic beverages.

  49. nerblnob

    Whisky’s just too expensive in Australia.

  50. Sinclair Davidson

    Whisky’s just too expensive in Australia.

    Try buying it is Scotland. I paid RM110 for a bottle of Glenfiddich in Malaysia. The same bottle was £45 at the Glenfiddich distillery shop and £50 elsewhere.

  51. Sinclair Davidson

    Andrew – I was able to drag Mrs D to the Isle of Skye to the Talisker distillery a few weeks ago. I don’t reckon I’m going to be able to convince her that I should be spending hundreds of dollars on a wee dram. It does look very nice though.

  52. Grigory M

    I used to buy duty-free Chivas Regal or Glenfiddich 12 year old at Sydney after flying in from overseas. My late father-in-law enjoyed it 50:50 with cold milk. Many times, at 9.00am or so, after I had just driven overnight from Sydney to his home on the Gold Coast, he would pour me a double scotch neat to enjoy before I caught a few hours sleep.

  53. Notafan

    I cannot drink whisky, an overdose at the age of 14 has caused a lifelong aversion.

  54. Oh come on

    Thanks for that site, Andrew. Looks very interesting indeed. Bookmarked.

  55. nerblnob

    Try buying it is Scotland

    Yes it’s expensive here too but I can still afford a dram when I go to the pub. Not so at one of Melbourne’s preposterous “whisky bars”.

  56. Andrew

    Sinclair: I understand completely. Until I finish my law degree I can barely find enough funds to get to the tastings let alone buy a bottle.

    I’m looking forward to (hopefully) a lawyer’s salary that allows me to indulge in these sorts of things.

  57. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    A macho myth

    Given that the setting was a pub on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, and the speaker was as Scots as haggis, I may be forgiven for believing him. By the way, the mailman’s camels have delivered fresh supplies of Tobermory, and there is a bottle of Tallisker on the shelf, that will be the last decision I make today.

  58. Motelier


    Then I am the ultimate libertarian…Pirates drink rum.

  59. Grigory M

    Pirates drink rum

    Ar there 😉

  60. Tel

    Pirates drink rum.

    The preferred term in polite company is “freebooter” which approximately translates as “free trader” or at any rate someone who does not respect the government-granted monopoly trade agreements.

  61. Motelier

    or at any rate someone who does not respect the government-granted monopoly trade agreements.

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm Do I need to look in the mirror?

    Perhaps other people should.

  62. nerblnob

    A macho myth

    Given that the setting was a pub on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, and the speaker was as Scots as haggis

    Scots are no more immune to macho myths than anyone else.

    Anyway, you can put any fluid or body part into whisky you wish to. The distillers are laughing all the way to the bank, as are the Hennessy people I imagine. A wee drop of water does it for me.

  63. Motelier

    Ar there 😉

    And the best is harvested, brewed, and distilled in Australia.

  64. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    A wee drop of water does it for me.

    Oh, I quite agree – BTW, the decision has been made. Tobermory.

  65. jupes

    Just celebrated the day with a glass of Johnnie Walker 21 yr old XR blended whisky.


  66. Menai Pete

    According to the Tom Ghent song Whiskey, Whiskey it is the milk of mercy

    Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge version:

  67. Clam Chowdah

    Scots are no more immune to macho myths than anyone else.

    Indeed. Per my anecdote, above.

    Many Scots believe Laphraoig to be the peatyest of single malts, too. There are ignorant people everywhere.

  68. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    the peatyest of single malts

    Which do you consider the peatyest of single malts?

  69. Oh come on

    You ignoramuses have obviously never tried the good stuff. Chivas Regal.

    And mixing it with Coke really brings out the caramelly overtones.

  70. Tom

    I love Chivas, OCO. But most other whiskies taste like petrol to me.

  71. nerblnob

    Chivas Regal seems to have a high single malt concentration. Not sure what’s in it but there’s bound to be a website that claims to know,

    Not all over proof whiskies are firewater. Glenfarclas 105 at 60% is quite drinkable neat, well, sippable, although I still add water.

  72. Sinclair Davidson

    I went to the Strathisla Distillery, one of the three where Chivas is made and went on the tour and tasting. Very good and very enjoyable. The single largest component of Chivas is a corn based malt – that by itself isn’t very nice. Neither Mrs D or myself finished that particular drink and the tour guide suggested that this was a common response.

    One of the challenges he was saying was that the individual malts that make up Chivas have changed over time as the distilleries have gone out of business etc. The job of the master blender to maintaining the taste.

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