Whoaaaa! It's July 27th so you know what that means! YEAH! NATIONAL SCOTCH DAY! You didn't know? Neither did I because it's another insane made up day by people for whatever reason. Either way, what kind of alcohol review page would I be if I didn't try to capitalize on this momentous and very historic day?
We've all heard of scotch and since you all have read every word of my site you know more than the average person. I wanted to take your knowledge up a tick by providing you, my loyal readers, with 10 unbelievable things about scotch. Let's begin!
Everyone is under the impression that scotch derives its name from Scotland. The name is actually derived from the Council of Scotts formed in 1247 AD where the Prince of Essos, Scottrius Baio V would serve his guests an aged alcohol so that they would lose their inhibitions and apply their votes in his favor. The morning after the meeting the members of the council could not remember the events of the previous day and coined the phrase, "Scottich" which is equivalent to "wasted" and thus the term shortened over time to become scotch.
Everyone assumes the age statement on the front of a bottle of scotch is in traditional years. In 1874, when trading with China was at an all time high, Scottish distillers would eventually grow to adopt the Chinese calendar which as we all know is 1/3 of a normal year. So that 30 year scotch you're drinking is actually only 10 years old!
You may notice a Sherry designation on certain scotches. Right before WWII broke out across Europe, distillers were experimenting with highly volatile compounds to speed up the aging process of the alcohol. A pioneer in the industry, Sherriff Nottingham, discovered that adding a non-lethal dose of arsenic on the front-end distillation process resulted in a 10 year scotch having the chemical properties (pH, alcohol percentage, etc.) of a 30 year scotch. Eventually it came to be known as the Sherry method!
Until 1995, Scotch had no regulatory requirements on the biological contaminants that went in on the front-end distillation process. Madeleine Albright, the British Prime Minister who enjoyed a healthy dose of scotch nightly, visited a distillery and found that a large concentration of insects would wind up in the malt and was disgusted. PM Albright would eventually hold an emergency council on the issue and regulations were passed the following day!
A well known thing in the scotch aficionado community, but unknown to rookies, is that when scotch is boiled a small percentage of the alcohol evaporates and you are left with...you guessed it...BOURBON! You literally have all the ingredients you need to make Pappy with a Macallan 10.
Scotch was outlawed in the United States from 1776 - 1812 because of Ben Franklin's relationship with France. Ben Franklin was of course a known womanizer but fancied cognac more than anything else. He used his position in U.S. government to achieve this ban so that he could partner with various cognac producers thus becoming one of the first "distributers."
You may notice some scotches have a smokey taste. In some scotch producing regions the malt is dried and smoked on modified smokers called, "stogies" and is then reintroduced into the distillation process.
It is often seen in movies and TV shows that a well-to-do man would enjoy a scotch with a cigar. The first person to do this was actually Clementine Churchill, famed wife of Winston Churchill, who was known for enjoying her single malts with high end Cuban cigars. It was not considered proper for a woman of that standing to enjoy a cigar so whenever she would nearly be compromised by his staff she would pass her smoke to Winston. One evening a photographer captured Winston with the cigar which would become his signature look that he ultimately adopted - all thanks to Clementine!
With the rise in popularity of scotch and whisky due to the millennial generation many counterfeit products are now hitting the market. The easiest and most known way to test whether your product is genuine is to do the lighter test. Try to light your scotch on fire - if it lights it's real. If not, well...you may want to pick a different store!
Until 1899 it was illegal to name a baby boy Scott in Scotland due to the massive amount of fathers upholding the tradition of naming their sons after the drink they used to cheer once the child was born. The ban was lifted due to the passage of the Freedom of Naming Act.
So there you have it! 10 unbelievable things about scotch. I would love to hear any things you may know that I am unaware of.