How a monk changed the drinking habits
Dunfermline, Scotland 1494
A young monk named John Cor bought around 500kg malt. Enough to produce 400 bottles of a water like liquor. First it was named uisge beatha by the Celts in Scottland and Ireland. Later on the name changed to Whiskey how we know it nowadays.
Christian Monks started to destilling Whiskey already in the 5th century. One of them was the now famous St. Patrick. It where also the monks who brought the Whiskey across the english island. Whiskey became famous among the different clans in Scotland so that almost every clan had their own distillery where they produced Whiskey for their own usage.
With pioneers exploring the new world, whiskey found its way to America. Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virgina are home of the oldest US-American distilleries.
From illegal to legal
Eventough people were brewing Whiskey from the late 15th Century, it took almost 120 years till the first royal order to produce Whiskey was given. 1608 King James I. gave Sir Thomas Phillips the order to produce Whiskey.
From 1643 in Ireland and 1644 in Scotland a tax had to be paid on Whiskey. But nobody really cared about that, so anno 1661 Whiskey became illegal first in Ireland and some years later, in 1701, also in Scotland. For almost 200 a rebellion ocurred between the Tax collectors (gaugers) and smugglers.
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean – George Washington, also owner of a distillery – raised taxes on whiskey. This because the young country needed money after the War of Independence. Like in England and Ireland, a rebellion against tax collectors started. It was so bad that even the army had to be called. As a result, people moved towards West. Kentucky and Tennessee are still the most important producing states for Whiskey these days.
Thanks to the industrial age, the production of whiskey was always refined and different tastes found their way into the spirit.
During the american prohibition from 1920 – 1933 most of the small producer had to close their distillerys the same effect was seen in Scotland. The distillery Laphroaig was the only producer of Whiskey which was declared as medicine and available in pharmacies across the United States.
Whats your taste?
After hunderts of years Whiskey became one of the most known liqour world wide. And as much different distilleries existing there is also a wide range of tastes and types.
Blended Whiskey is a mix of different Whiskeys, becoming its own brand and having always the same taste.
A Rye Whiskey is made with at least 51 % Rye. Bourbon Whiskey on the other hand must be made with at lest 51 % Corn. And there we have also the Malt Whiskey witch has a minimum of 80% Malt.
Beside of these basics there are other types of Whiskey depending on the way they where stored (different types of barrels) or of a special year.
(Source: Mainly taken from Wikipedia)