The Scots have a history of distilling dating back to the late 15th century. Likely earlier but drunk scribing was apparently not a thing back then. Against all odds, Scotch has evolved over the past 600 years to be the whisk(e)y Friend of most of the world.
Against all odds? How so?
Well, the terrain isn’t exactly the most farm or transport friendly like the U.S. Midwest. Scaling ravines, winding streams, isolated islands, and rocky soil canvass the land. Let’s also forget any hopes of a South Beach tan…the weather forecast is sh* with a side of cabbage!
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In spite of these conditions, barley blossomed as a keystone crop in the region. It was a lifeline for the community, livestock, and naturally became the staple of whisky. The farm distillers excelled at the craft, making small batches for easy transport. After all, it was 2 American Ninja Warrior courses to reach the next Clan.
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Life was good until England began taxing booze in 1644. Like most new tax ideas, the Scots thought this idea sucked and went to great lengths to avoid taxation. They must have also been Facebook friends with a few Americans as they soon unfriended England for similar issues. As a result, illegal distillation was rampant.
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Having learned a lesson from losing America, the English lightened up on taxation and signed the Excise Act of 1823. With Highland Malt Whisky available for purchase and the Lowland use of the innovative Coffey Still, larger quantities of Scotch were sought after exports.
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As Scotch popularity grew, the 1880 phylloxera bug outbreak brought devastation to France’s wine and cognac supply, creating a consumer void. The Scots’ Whisky was happy to oblige these drinkers looking for a good buzz.
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Since this time has gone on to dominate the world as the preferred whiskey (or whisky) of choice. Wars, recessions, prohibition, Atari, AOL, MySpace. All have risen and fell while Scotch gingerly carries on through today.
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