Some things you maybe didn't know about whisky

The French drink more Whisky than Cognac.

The phrase "The real McCoy" referred to whisky smuggled into the USA during Prohibition by Captain Bill McCoy.
... or maybe not ...

A famous black inventor by the name of Elijah McCoy earned about 50 patents, the most famous one being for a metal or glass cup that fed oil to bearings through a smallbore tube. Machinists and engineers who wanted genuine McCoy lubricators may have originated the term "the real McCoy." Elijah McCoy was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1843, the son of slaves who had fled Kentucky and died in Michigan in 1929. The McCoy lubricator was copied by many but the slogan used by the company that had the patent rights was that people should get "the real McCoy"

During Prohibition whisky could be legally obtained through a doctor, for "medicinal" purposes.

The "cup of kindness" in the song "Auld Lang Syne" refers to whisky..

Robert Burns, the famous Scottish poet and writer of "Auld Lang Syne" was once an exciseman..

Malt whisk(e)y is made in Scotland, Ireland, Japan and New Zealand.

The SS Politician went down off Eriskay in February 1941. A good fraction of her cargo of up to 50,000 cases of whisky was recovered by the islanders whose ingenuity at evading the Excise was immortalised in Compton MacKenzie's book (later filmed) "Whisky Galore". The whisky was distilled in 1938 and bottles were still being recovered from the wreck as recently as 1990.

Bourbon takes its name from Bourbon County, Kentucky, where it was first made.

Whisky may not legally be described as such in the UK until it has matured for 3 years.

In 1994 there were about 2.5 BILLION litres-pure-alcohol of whisky stored in bonded warehouses in Scotland. Allowing that the value of whisky is about 8 per litre of alcohol, that means stocks are worth about 20,000,000,000 at sale.

A single butt (barrel) of whisky contains some 500 litres of spirit. It will lose 1-2% alcohol per annum through evapouration as it matures. Such a barrel of good 15 y.o. malt will therefore contain some 400 litres (600 bottles) and thus be worth some 20,000 at shop prices.

The most expensive bottle sold to date (1994) was a bottle of 50-yr-old single malt which went for 47,000 at a charity auction in Milan. (they don't say which though bottles of 50 and 60 y.o. Macallan can fetch over 5000 at auction)

The oldest whiskies reported at recent auctions have been a Dalintober 40 y.o. (1868) which fetched 2,400 and a Dallas Dhu 64 y.o. (1921) which went for around 2,900. Whisky does not mature once bottled and very rarely improves in the wood once past 25 y.o. so these bottles probably have rarity value but not much else. The name "White Horse" comes from an ancient inn in Edinburgh's Canongate frequented it is said by Bonnie Prince Charlie's men. A white horse has long been a symbol of victory. John(ny) Walker was originally a licensed grocer in Kilmarnock before he, but principally his son, built up the business and the brand name.

It is reckoned that at one time there were over 40,000 whisky stills in Scotland.

The shape of the conventional whisky 'shot' glass, being wide at the top and tapering in towards the bottom was originally designed to disguise the taste of raw grain spirit in inferior whisky by dissipating its smell. Serious appreciation of whisky requires a tulip-shaped 'nosing' glass (illustrated) which retains the 'nose' or aroma of the whisky.





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