Alcohol Education: 10 Mandatory Facts To Know About Scotch
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If you’re not a big drinker, you might have some preconceived notions about Scotch. For many, thinking about this Scottish whisky conjures up images of fancy, potentially monocle-wearing men sitting in high-backed chairs in front of a roaring fire, sipping drams while they discuss the news of the day. While you can spend a fortune on long-matured Scotch and it is imbibed by upper crust gentleman (and gentlewomen), it’s also well suited for all drinkers, novices and experts alike.
Now that you know that Scotch is for everyone, we want to let you in on some more Scotch facts. They’ll amaze, excite, and entertain you and you can find them all below.
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Like in most countries, Scotch whisky is spelled without an ‘e.’
Like most whiskies in the world, Scotch is spelled without an ‘e.’ Only the U.S. and Ireland spell it ‘whiskey’ and we honestly have no idea why. We guess we both just want to be different.
The first mention of Scotch was in the 1400s.
Drinkers have been enjoying Scotch for a long time. The first known mention of the drink was in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland from 1494. There, it wasn’t even called Scotch, it was referred to as aqua vitae (Latin for ‘water of life’).
Whisky is adapted from a Gaelic word.
While the first mention of Scotch is referencing Latin for "water of life,” the name whisky itself comes from the Gaelic phrase ‘uisge beathe’, which has the same meaning.
There are more Scotch distilleries than you think.
While Scotland is only a country of a little more than 5 million people, it has 133 Scotch distilleries. That’s an awful lot of Scotch.
There are more than 20 million barrels currently maturing.
With all the distilleries in the country, there are more than 20 million barrels in various stages of maturation. To put it in perspective, that adds up to four casks for every person living in Scotland.
Like bourbon, Scotch has specific rules.
To be called a Scotch whisky, the spirit must be made in Scotland (obviously) and must be aged for three years in oak barrels, must only be made from water and malted barley (and other cereal grains).
Scotch is much more than just single malts.
Scotch is way more than just single malt. The five different Scotch categories are single malt, single grain, blended malt, blended grain, and blended Scotch.
The biggest importer of Scotch will surprise you.
While the U.S. is the second biggest importer of Scotch, you might be surprised to hear that France takes the top spot. While the country is home to amazing wine (including champagne, vodka, and Cognac), it’s obvious the French must enjoy a dram every now and again as well.
While Scotch is enjoyed in drams, an actual dram is really tiny.
You’ll hear Scotch drinkers mention enjoying a ‘dram’ of whisky. They’re drinking a small glass of whisky. An actual dram is 3.88 grams or .13 ounces. That’s not even enough to wet your palate.
Last year, a bottle of Scotch sold for almost $2 million.
Back in October, a bottle of The Macallan Fin and Rare 60-Year-Old 1926 sold at auction for $1.9 million. That’s a lot more than your favorite $10 handle of whisky.
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