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Happy International Whisky Day!

Happy International Whisky Day to our unwavering confidant, be it rain or shine. One of the constants that’s always there for us through life’s highs and lows.

Whisky/whiskey, otherwise known as aqua vitae.
 

Can your love for our water of life match up to how much you know about it? Take this day to learn 5 things you probably didn’t know about it.

1. IT WAS INITIALLY WIDELY USED FOR MEDICINAL PURPOSES

A-choo
 

In the 13th century, its use spread through medieval monasteries, largely for medical purposes, such as the treatment of colic and smallpox. The art of distillation slowly spread to Ireland and Scotland no later than the 15th century, and the practice of medicinal distillation eventually passed from a monastic setting to the secular via other professional medical practitioners of the time, The Guild of Barber Surgeons.

However, the earliest mention of whiskey in Ireland comes from a 17th century annal called the Annals of Clonmacnoise. It attributes the death of a chieftain in 1405 to “taking a surfeit of aqua vitae” on Christmas Day…

2. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHISKEY AND WHISKY

Us wondering what the difference was back then.
 

To “e” or not to “e” – that is the question. To answer the question, both versions are correct. It actually all comes down to the country of origin. If you’re referring to one that’s made in either Scotland, Canada, or Japan, it’s whisky. But when it’s made in either the United States or Ireland, it’s whiskey.

The difference is only apparent in the spellings and not the pronunciation. So there you have it!


3. IT’S A CELESTIAL DRINK

Hallelujah.
 

Have you heard of “angel’s share”? The meaning is quite literal – it means the whisky we drink is shared with angels. Today, pretty much all whiskies are aged in wooden barrels and due to the porousness of the barrels, some of the liquid inside would disappear during the critical aging process. And because it evaporates into the heavens, it was dubbed as the angel’s share.

The amount lost is dependent on the ambient humidity. Drier climates tend to make the barrels evaporate more water, strengthening the spirit. On the other hand, moist climates cause more alcohol (instead of water) to evaporate, reducing the alcoholic content of the whisky.

Some companies have devised ways to tackle this problem: one solution is to use plastic wrap. This seems to eliminate or at least reduce the problem – much to the chagrin of the angels, we’re sure 😉


4. IT WAS FRANK SINATRA’S FAVOURITE ALCOHOL

As Frank was pouring out his troubles to a fellow entertainer, Jackie Gleason at a Manhattan bar in the 1940s, he told Jackie he wanted a ‘serious’ drink. Jackie then exclaimed, “Jack Daniel’s! That’s a good place to start.” And that was how his lifelong love for whiskies began.

In a later part of his life, when he told his doctor he drank a bottle of Jack Daniel’s a day, the astonished medic said, “My God, Frank! How do you feel in the morning?” To which he replied, “Hell if I know, doc, I don’t get up ‘til the afternoon.”

He loved whisky so much that when he passed away, he was buried with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, along with a few other of his favourite possessions, such as a pack of Camel cigarettes and a roll of dimes to call his friends with.

In other words, Frank was a functioning alcoholic.

5. THE MOST EXPENSIVE BOTTLE OF WHISKY SOLD AT AN AUCTION WAS $1.9 MILLION

On 24 October 2019, the Macallan Fine and Rare 60-Year-Old 1926 was sold for a record-breaking $1.9 million, making it the most expensive bottle of wine or spirit ever auctioned.

As the name suggests, the bottle of whisky was distilled in 1926 and only bottled after 6 decades of maturing in European oak. The 700 ml bottle contains about 45 pours of 15 ml each, amounting to a whopping $45,000 a pour for its new collectors.

Behind every sip of whisky you take is a story long told before. Here’s to this irresistible spirit for the feisty souls on International Whisky Day! 😉

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