“Set up another case bartender! The best thing for a case of nerves is a case of Scotch.”
Scotch is a type of whisky made in Scotland. All scotch is made from barley.Every scotch falls into two main categories: Single malt and blended. A single malt scotch whiskey is made from one single kind of malted barley.
A blended scotch is made from mixing several single malt whiskeys that use different types of malt. When making a blended scotch the youngest single malt within a blended scotch must be aged at least three years.
The aging process takes place in oak barrels and are always required to take at least three years to age.
How to Drink Scotch
Scotch can be enjoyed many ways. It’s not uncommon for a dash of water to be added to a glass of scotch. Adding water can open up the whisky and allows the aromas and flavors to stand out. The amount of water to be added is a matter of personal preference.
Next time you have the chance to drink scotch, play around with the amount of water you add in order to find your preference. You can also drink scotch on the rocks, in a variety of cocktails, or simply straight.
The History of Scotch
Scotch whisky dates back many years. The first known record of distilling in Scotland dates back to 1494. This document can be found in the old tax records of the day called the Exchequer Rolls. The record states “Eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor wherewith to make aqua vitae”. Aqua vitae translates to water of life.
It was a term used in the day that referred to strong distilled spirits such as whisky or brandy. From the record it can be determined that 1,500 bottles could be made. This leads to a reasonable assumption that distilling and making spirits was already well-established. A large spike in illegal whisky distilling took place in 1644.
This was due to the drink being taxed. It’s estimated that around 400 illegal distilleries were in operation by the 1780′s. The government eventually wanted to make revenue off the taxing of scotch. To encourage legal and taxable distilling, Parliament passed the “Excise Act” in 1823. This reduced restrictions which in turn lead to a sharp decline in the illegal distilling of scotch.
In 1823 a new distilling process was developed called the Coffey Still. Scotch made from this process was much smoother than before. The second event was the Phylloxera bug.
This was a pest that feeds off the roots and leaves of grapevines. In 1880 the bug nearly destroyed the wine and brandy production in France. Naturally with less wine and brandy to drink people looked for other drinks to enjoy. This lead to an increase in scotch’s popularity.
How Scotch is made
Scotch is made from malted barley. Traditionally during the malting process the barley is dried using a peat fire. The smoke from the peat gives scotch flavor and aroma. After the malting process the dried malt is grounded and hot water is then added.
The mixture is then allowed to ferment. Once the fermentation process is complete distillation begins. Each distillery has different sizes and shapes to their pot still.
This can give the end product a different result depending on the pot still. This is very important when considering the characteristics of a particular scotch brand. After distillation it is time for the aging process. In order for a whisky to be called “Scotch Whisky” it is legally required to be distilled in Scotland and be aged at a minimum of 3 years.
However most scotches are matured for much longer. It is not uncommon for the aging process to take anywhere from 5 to even 25 years.
It’s also important to note that whisky, unlike wine, does not mature further once bottled.So there is no reason to keep a bottle of unopened whisky in order for it to age.