A day when whisky lovers across the world unite to euphorically celebrate, and spread the gospel of the spirit of the Gods, World Whisky Day is one of the most important occasions of the year for all the dram devotees no matter their drink of choice.
Single malt or Blended, Scotch or Bourbon, Neat or Mixed; no matter how you prefer to drink ‘the water of life’, if you are a true whisky connoisseur, the depths of your whisky knowledge must always be bottomless.
This World Whisky Day, let us take some inspiration from Jack Daniel’s unparalleled love for whiskey, the man himself, who requested a dram on his deathbed, and his famous last words ‘One Last Drink Please!’ have forever been immortalized.
Whether it’s a spirited conversation with fellow whisky lovers, or the occasional bequeathing of knowledge you unleash on your group of friends, you must everything to know there is about the spirit that has always been there in times of peril, and celebration; exhaustion and exhilaration!
Here are 24 whisky facts a whisky lover ought to know of:
1. The Irish and Americans spell the word ‘Whiskey’ with an ‘E’, whereas the Scottish, Indians, Japanese, Australians and Canadians spell the word as Whisky without an ‘E’.
2. The word ‘Whisky’ or ‘Whiskey’ depending on where you are from, is derived from the Gaelic term ‘uisge beatha’ or ‘uisce beatha’ which translates to ‘water of life’.
3. India is the world’s largest whisky consuming nation drinking almost 48% of the whisky produced worldwide each year.
4. A separate report from 2015 claims Indians outdrank the entire world by consuming 1.5 Billion liters of whisky in 2014, with the second placed United States of America coming in at 462 Million liters. Even China, one of the world’s largest and densely populated countries could not come close to the Indian penchant for whisky as they could only drink 17 Million liters of whisky in 2014.
5. World Whisky Day was first celebrated in 2012, and it was founded by Blair Bowman. It is a day recognized by the Scottish Parliament in a motion in 2014!
6. The strongest whisky in the world is the Bruichladdich X4 Quadrupled with an alcohol strength of 92% ABV. It is a Scotch whisky distilled on the Island of Islay, and it is categorized as a ‘cask strength’ whisky meaning it is not diluted to decrease its alcohol strength.
7. While Scotch Whisky might be the world’s most popular type of whisky, it was the Irish and their Whiskey that arrived much earlier than their Scottish counterparts.
8. The Strathisla Distillery, owned by the Chivas Brothers is one of the world’s oldest and Scotland’s oldest continuously functioning distilleries established in 1786.
9. The Glenlivet’s founder George Smith’s single Malt Whisky was illegal before he applied for a legal license, and the illicit single malt was so popular that even King George IV had asked for it when he visited Scotland.
10. Most of the world’s highest selling whisky brands belong to India. In fact, in 2018 Forbes listed out the top 10 highest selling whisky brands of the world, of which 7 were Indian whisky brands.
11. The world’s highest selling whisky brand is none other than Officer’s Choice from Allied Blenders and Distillers, selling over 31.51 million cases in the year 2017.
12. The Bushmills Distillery established in 1608 in Ireland is the world’s oldest whisky distillery.
13. Jameson Irish Whiskey is the world’s largest selling Irish whiskey brand.
14. The Glenlivet is considered to be the ‘single malt that started it all.’
15. Scotland is divided into five distinct whisky making regions – the Highlands, the Lowlands, the Speyside, Campbeltown and the Island of Islay. Whiskies from each region boast a particularly distinct character and profile.
16. Chivas Regal created the world’s first luxury whisky, the Chivas Regal 25.
17. Single Malt Whisky does not mean a whisky that comes from a single barrel, or bottled from a single batch; it means that the whisky has been distilled, matured and manufactured at a single distillery.
18. Chivas Regal was one of the world’s first whisky brands to receive a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria herself in 1843.
19. American Bourbon whiskeys are made exclusively from Corn, whereas Scotch and Irish whiskeys are made predominantly from Barley, and smaller amounts of other grains.
20. Jack Daniel’s is the world’s top selling American Whiskey although it’s makers refer to it as a Tennessee Whiskey, and not Bourbon Whiskey.
21. Whisky and other alcoholic beverages were so popular even back in the day that the US Government lost an estimated $11 Billion in tax revenue during the Prohibition Era that lasted from 1920 to 1933.
22. The Royal Salute brand of whisky was created especially to honour and commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation in 1953. Since then, the brand has released commemorative bottlings for many other major Royal events.
23. The world’s most expensive bottle of whisky is called ‘Isabella’s Islay’, and it costs $6.2 Million. Although the crystal decanter covered in 8500 diamonds, 300 rubies, and nearly two bars of platinum are worth more than the spirit inside the decanter.
24. The tallest stills in all of Scotland are at the Glenmorangie Distillery at 26 ft. and 3 inches tall, while the lantern shaped stills at The Glenlivet Distillery are also renowned the world over.