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Ten surprising facts about whisky

For whisky aficionados, the following pages likely won’t be that surprising, but for those whose interest is in its infancy these facts could provide an interesting insight.

The whisky world is rich, diverse and interesting, and with so many styles and brands available, it can be easy to feel a little lost taking those first steps.

The following pages are intended with the whisky novice in mind, but there may be a few nuggets for the more experienced malt master.

The drink must be aged in oak barrels for at least three years before it may be called whisky. This mostly applies to Scotch but the majority of other whiskies use it as a general rule, too.

The Scots and Canadians spell it whisky; the Americans and Irish spell it whiskey. 

On average, 34 bottles of whisky are exported from Scotland every second. 

The word whisky comes from the Gaelic “uisgebeatha” meaning “water of life”. 

The earliest known record of whisky production dates back to 1494 but the word whisky was not seen until 1715. 

Charles Dickens spelt it whiskey in Martin Chuzzlewit but used both whisky and whiskey in The Pickwick Papers. 

A six litre Lalique decanter of Macallan whisky was sold at auction for a record $628,000 (£478,000) last year. That works out at about £800 a sip. 

In the 18th century whisky was also a name for a light horse-drawn carriage, probably more for the speed suggested by “whisk” than the drink. 

The revenue from these sales last year amounted to £3.86billion. 

The leading whisky drinkers of the world are the French, followed by Uruguay and the USA.

(Stats courtesy of the Daily Express).

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