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Whisky: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

Posted on the 08 February 2015 by Manofmany @manofmanytastes

Whisky: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

Always a tricky one if you are the kind of guys who regularly fumbles their and there. The Irish and the Americans call it whiskey (with the exception of Makers Mark), while the rest of the world calls it whisky. During the late 19th century the Scots were producing terrible whisky and so the Irish and the Americans added an "E" to differentiate themselves.

Whisky: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

Scotch whisky has to be matured in oak for at least 3 years to legally be called whisky. Prior to that it is simply called spirit. It's pretty much just unfiltered vodka before it goes in the cask. Australian law requires whisky to be matured for 2 years in oak.

The word whisky comes from the gaelic uisge beatha which means lively water or water of life. This clear spirit is obtained by distilling beer to capture the alcohol. Most American and Canadians even use hops, while the Scots, the Irish and the others around the world making Scotch style malt whisky don't use hops.

Whisky: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

Single malt is generally the good stuff because blends are let down by the cheapies like Bells, Chivas and Johnny Red. The difference lies in the base grain and the type of still used. Single malt is made in a copper pot still from malted barley grain and water and has to have been made and bottled by the same distillery. Blended whisky, as the name suggests, it is a blend of grain and malt whisky. The grain component is distilled in a Coffey still and the rule of thumb is that the cheaper the blend, the less malt whisky that it contains. A good example of this is Johnny Walker Red (cheaper end) vs. Johnnie Walker Blue (very expensive).

The simple rule is ice for blends and no ice single malts. Ice was introduced to whisky culture in order to mask the harshness of blended whisky and has no place in malt whisky appreciation. This is because it hides around three quarters of the nose (aroma) and ruins the structure of the whisky on the palate.

Whisky: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

Booze in Australia attracts one of the highest excise (tax) rates in the world. Currently every litre of pure (100%ABV) alcohol is taxed $79.22. This means that your average bottle of malt at 46%ABV has $25.50 tax and GST is taxed on top of this! As an example, your bottle of Johnnie Red at Dan's has $22.18 tax, leaving $12.35 to be shared between the producer, the wholesaler, the importer and the retailer.

Blended whisky is the most common form of Scotch whisky and one of the biggest selling alcoholic drinks categories in the world. Johnny Walker leads the pack with 19.7 million 9l cases or 28.1 million bottles. Glenfiddich is the biggest selling single malt at 1 million 9l cases or 1.4 million bottles, but to put it into context, there are 18 blended brands that sell more than 1 million cases, totaling 66.5 million cases or 95 million bottles, and the crazy thing is you probably have never heard of most of these brands. Diageo is the company that owns Johnny Walker and they are the world's biggest drink company. Their portfolio includes Smirnoff, Guinness, Captain Morgan and Gordon's Gin. Glenfiddich is owned by the Grant family, who are...surprise surprise...the richest family in Scotland.

Whisky: 10 Things You Didn’t Know
India drinks more whisky than any other country on the planet. They necked a staggering 2 billion bottles in 2012.

This refers to the whisky lost to evaporation from maturing casks every year. It's about 2% a year in Scotland and Tasmania, but can be as high as 15% in placed like Taiwan. Yes, Taiwan makes really good single malt believe it or not.

Whisky: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

Don't worry, reliable sources suggest that whisky magic is happening right here on our doorstep. Tasmania has no less than 9 distilleries and the island's flagship distillery Sullivan's Cove also hold the crown for the World's Best Single Malt. Better get yourself and the lads down to the airport.

If you can stop yourself from drinking your collection you'll find that the right whiskies are out performing most alternative investment indexes.

Whisky: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

The Whisky Club was created by Bertie Cason, one of the chaps leading the whisky movement down in Tasmania, and the Club offers members a fantastic combination of whisky education and a monthly supply of the world's finest and rarest single malt whisky.

To celebrate their 1000th member, the Club is giving away a year's supply of FINE and RARE single malt whisky specially selected by Gordon and MacPhail, the world's leading whisky specialist. This ultimate whisky collection comprises of twelve bottles covering all the regions and flavours of Scotland and it's probably the best thing you have ever seen....like a meat raffle only way better!

If you like, or want to like whisky, then visit www.thewhiskyclub.com.au and sign up.


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