World Whisky Day 2021: Learn about the origins of your favorite drink

World Whisky Day

For World Whisky Day 2021, the organizers are celebrating the 'World Whisky Weekender' event this year. If you, too, are planning to join in, it wouldn't go amiss to have some prior knowledge about the liquid sunshine.

The Origins of Whisky

Whisky is being distilled in Scotland for hundreds of years. Early evidence points towards Christian missionary monks who mastered the art of distillation for medicinal purposes. However, a parallel theory also propagates that the Highland farmers themselves discovered how to distill spirits. But there is a consensus on the Gaelic origins of the drink, then known as 'uisce beatha' which translates to 'water of life.'

When was whisky first distilled?

The first textual reference to whisky is dated in 1494. J. Marshall Robb writes in his book 'Scotch Whisky' about a reference in the Scottish Exchequer Rolls for "eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor wherewith to make aqua vitae."

A boll is a Scottish measure of not more than six bushels, and 'aqua vitae' is an archaic name for a concentrated solution of ethanol.

The earliest reference to a distillery occurs in the Acts of Scottish Parliament in 1690. It mentions the famous Ferintosh distillery, which was owned by Duncan Forbes of Culloden.

The first licensed distiller of Scottish single malt

Illicit liquor production had become commonplace throughout the Speyside area from the 1700s. But the activity was made redundant after the passing of the Excise Act in 1823. The new law provided legal ground for establishing distilleries through a license. However, the law was quite unpopular in the Highlands, and the distillers were not too keen on compliance.

It all changed when George Smith, operating a distillery in an Upper Drummin farm, became the first person in Scotland to apply for a license. In 1824, George and his youngest son John Gordon Smith established The Glenlivet distillery and started producing the renowned single malt.

So, that's how your favorite drink came into being. Over time renowned brands such as Chivas Regal, Johnnie Walker, The Macallan and many more emerged, bringing a diverse range of single malts and blended scotch whiskies for our tasting pleasure.

About World Whisky Day

The World Whisky Day was founded in 2012 by one of the leading whisky consultants – Blair Bowman. He envisaged the day as "a day that invites everyone to try a dram and celebrate the water of life." This year, the event is scheduled for an extended virtual celebration from Friday, May 14 – Sunday, May 16, as the "World Whisky Weekender." The event schedule includes various tutorials, talks and engaging conversations with whisky enthusiasts worldwide.

You can check out details at the official website of World Whisky Day.