Life Water (Aqua Vitae)
The origins of Whisky are humble, namely the ‘miracle drug’ of life water.
Brewed by Irish monks from the 14th century onwards, it was mainly popular with the people of Great Britain.
As popularity continued to increase, the process was gradually improved and the whisky was born.
It is believed that ‘Whisky’ is a corruption of the Gaelic word Uisge.
A remnant of the Uisce Beatha, ‘Water of life’ or Life’s Water.
Whisky and Whiskey
The popularity of Uisge, mainly in Scotland, led to the coming of age of the drink.
This included a ‘new’ name: Whisky!
The Irish, in turn, baptized their products: Whiskey, with ‘e’.
In the meantime, the art of distilling spread throughout the world.
Partly because of the large number of Irish people looking for a new life in ‘the new world’, the US.
The spelling of whiskeys with different histories can still be found on the labels today.
The popular whiskey producing countries have retained their traditional spelling!
Like the Irish, the Americans use whiskey with ‘e’.
Scotch, Canadian and Japanese whiskies, on the other hand, without!
A popular term that is still often used in the south of the US, for example, is Moonshine.
This term dates from the time when the English court exerted influence on the distilleries through high taxes.
The (unwanted) result was that the activities were shifted to the night, so that the water vapor and smoke were not noticeable.
This illegally distilled drink was therefore given the name ‘Moonshine’.
Violence and prohibition
Much blood has been shed due to the persistent influence that governments tried to have in the unprecedented popularity of whisky. In the 17th and 18th centuries there were violent uprisings in England and later in the US.
This has been resolved in all cases by abolishing the imposed high taxes, the ‘whiskey taxes’.
After this the market calmed down again.
Due to the high consumption of spirits in the US, a social discussion arose.
This led to the founding of the ASL (Anti Saloon League) and eventually Prohibition in 1920.
This reclamation of government roads banned all drinks containing alcohol and would ultimately last for 13 years.
The result was the fueling of illegality (moonshine), violence and an enormous boost for organized crime.
The names are related to the raw materials used.
The names are related to the raw materials used. There are therefore different types of Whiskey / Whiskey:
- Grain whisky.
Fired from any grain or combination of grains.
- Malt whisky.
Distilled exclusively from malted barley.
- Single malt whisky.
Malt whiskeys from one distillery.
- Blended malt whisky.
Composed of different malt whiskeys from different distilleries.
- Blended whisky.
Made from various malt whiskeys and grain whiskies.
The Whiskey type is not only determined by the geographical location of the distillery, but also by the composition of the raw materials.
This name can also be found on the label of the product.
The official name for whiskey from Scotland.
Within this name, a distinction is made between geographical regions.
Differs from Scotch whiskey in that it has no smoky flavor and has also been distilled three times.
Originating from the US and characterized by the composition of the batter.
These are often blends with a corn-based batter.
It is permitted to add 9.09% to other drinks to achieve a desired taste.
- Dutch Single malt.
Fired from grain grown in the Netherlands.
If the Dutch single malt is distilled from organically certified grains, it can be called Organic Single Malt whisky.
All John B. whiskies are Dutch Organic Single Malt Whiskies.