Bottling a Dram: From Casks to Bottles

Whether you’re a whisky aficionado, or an aspiring connoisseur, the more you delve into the world of whisky, the more riveting anecdotes it will have to offer. One such often overlooked story is that of the whisky’s journey from casks to bottles. Though it is a celebrated fact that casks in which whisky is matured lends a distinctive quality to the much loved tipple, not many know that whisky was not sold in bottles until the 19th century. Back in those days, glass bottles were much like handwritten books, unique, beautiful but not affordable. And so, whisky was sold straight by the cask.

The traditional practice of selling whisky in its cask still rings true for  most of the single malt whisky sold in Scotland, where till date the best of Scotch is marketed using the phrase ‘by the cask’. But that’s a tale for another day. Coming back to whisky bottles, it was not until mid to late 19th century that whisky began to be bottled in bottling plants. And, the reason behind bottling whisky was not to add to its flavour profile. Instead, whisky’s journey from wooden casks to glass bottles was only an exercise in convenience of pouring it smoothly into a glass. Once the bottle manufacturing process was in place, many of the smaller distilleries across Ireland, and Scotland which had to shut down for reasons unknown, took to bottling whisky.

The Adelphi Distillery in Glasgow had pulled its shutters down in 1932, and by the 1970s, it had already been demolished. But, some 20 odd years later, Adelphi Distillery was revived and it stepped on a new terrain. It began bottling whisky, renaming itself Ardnamurchan Distillery in the process. Over the years, the bottles got fancier than their old, thick-glassed counterparts. And, this is how the amber liquor found a new home. Learn about the various ways to drink whisky and benefits of whisky. Additionally, read on what is whisky and how is whisky made.