History of Scotch: Take Time Travel to the Remarkable Journey of your Favourite Malt Whisky!
Scotch, the competitive intoxicant drink actually goes by the name Scotch Whisky. Originated in Scotland, it has got that name. When you know that wheat not only serves the gut of a hungry human as bread, it also serves the alcohol palate of a h-angry human. You got that right when you already know that Scotch whisky is made out of wheat, and to be precise a grass variety.
Well, that's a lot to process in one single paragraph. A fan of whisky here, who doesn't like the taste though, is now even more eager to dig into the barrels of the drink, getting dizzy through its history. A brief point to be noted here that in this research process I came to know about some interesting cocktail mixes using Scotch, which will be shared at the end of the article.
Let us first clarify the toddler confusion of the commonality and the difference between Butterscotch and Scotch. They are definitely not the same. Butterscotch is made of less polished brown sugar and butter similar to caramel and toffee. It's the hardened version of them. Scotch is a type of whisky made with more authenticity in Scotland, while whisky is a similar drink made anywhere and everywhere. There is a special section in this article totally talking about it.
So, read on to know since when are we drowning in the sea of whisky.
Scotch's Remarkable Journey
The earliest mention of Scotch was in an order placed by the King and its receipt mentioned in the logbook. The popular accounts and finance handler of the Kingdoms, the Exchequer had maintained rolls of income and expenditure. It is in the year 1494, 1st of June, the receipt mentioned malt being given to a distiller to make barrels of "Aqua vitae". The word translates to "water of life".
Native Scottish are also referred to as the Gaelic who coined the origin of the term for whisky, the "water of life". Medicinal tonics and spirits consumed as intoxicating drinks have been the norm. But, making a drink out of the liquid used to make gunpowder ingredients moist, is the way of the Scottish legends. That was the first use of whisky before it was bottled up and aged in shelves to consumption.
Monasteries, the places where monks and nuns spend their lives away from the materialistic lives, were the places of Whisky distillation. Way to attain inner peace, which still applies to the hermit babas of marijuana high on the smoke of spirituality. These distillation centres were patronised by the kings and queens.
The Scottish king of the first half of the 16th century, King James IV, made this gunpowder whisky his most favourite drink. The wars of those times dethroned this king and coronated King Henry the VIII. The King of England now had a new rule. No more monasteries and no more free distilleries, so they did what they do best. They imposed taxes on malt and the skilled monks and nuns who if tried to open their own spirit making stations will be criminalised.
The first-ever malt tax was imposed in the year 1644. One thing for sure, we can learn from history is that, when the law is stricter, the people become smarter. It happened here once again when the people found new ways to illegally produce whisky. The whole place was divided into Highland and Lowlands when talking about whisky exports. The highlands usually escaped from the taxation but had distilleries infertile lands with plenty of water sources.
They had used more malt in the making of whisky and hence was considered better quality than of the lowlands. Lowlanders were monitored by the law, were given licences and are supposed to stick to the rules of quantity limitation of the drink. And hence they used more grain, which was devoid of such tax, in making whisky. Along came the Excise Act of 1823, by the Parliament of England, shutting down many Highland distilleries.
Whenever an act evolves, people come up with loopholes. The Highland distilleries owners agreed to pay the fine to the Crown to continue to operate their stills, now legally. For which the penalty was letting go of all the farmers, and farm help, who were left jobless and hopeless. These were the famous "clearances" of their estates.
Now the people who were let go had immense skills and managing abilities, so they joined hands in making this move. George Smith, a farmer in the year 1824 obtained the first licence apart from the estate owners. His company named Glenlivet Distillery was opened for the authentic making of single-malt Scotch. Many such independent distilleries and licences were sanctioned during that time. Many of which are still operational to this day.
The Scotch Whisky and its popularity went uphill from thereon. It was at these times, people also turned to be inventors. The pot stills which were the most commonly used ones came with a tedious task of cleaning them thoroughly after every batch. Sir Anthony Perrier was the first one to try a still of different shape, but he couldn't make the best out of his innovations.
But, Aeneas Coffey combined the designs of Robert Stein and Anthony, to create the patented Column Still. This invention solved the manual labour stress as it comes with little supervision and facilitates a continuous distillation process, undisturbed. Becoming the most economical invention in the making, this still was commercialised.