Who drinks the most whiskey in the world? Trick question, it’s not Scotland or Ireland. It’s the US! It turns out that our country loves whiskey about as much as we love it, and we love that.
We could drink we mean talk about whiskey all day, so here are some cool whiskey facts for you to know.
1. The Oldest Whisky is. . .
We know people have been making whiskey for hundreds of years, but those earlier batches didn’t survive the test of time. Except for one very special bottle, that’s rumored to be the oldest existing Whiskey in the world.
That bottle is a 400 ML container of Glenavon Special Liquor Whiskey. We think it was bottled in the 1850s, which would make it 160 (ish) years old.
This little bottle is pretty famous – it was in the Guinness World Record book for (not surprisingly) “The World’s Oldest Whiskey“. And if you want a sip, that’s too bad. This bottle is privately owned and came at a hefty price.
It sold for over $16,000. That’s one expensive pour!
2. Raw Whiskey is Clear
If you took the whiskey right out of the still when it’s fresh, you’ll notice it doesn’t have any color. That’s because the caramel brown color doesn’t come from the alcohol itself, it seeps out of the wood barrels the whiskey ages in.
The darker and more smoked the wood is, the darker the color whiskey will be.
As long as there’s a brown/gold color, the darkness isn’t necessarily an indicator of quality or taste.
However, if you buy a really cheap whiskey, that color is probably faked. In those situations, the manufacturers use caramel, which is the same thing that gives Coca Cola its color.
If you see that in the ingredients, we suggest you don’t buy it – and just resolve to spend more money on better quality.
3. Is it Whiskey or Whisky? Yes.
If you type whiskey and whiskey into your computer, it’ll recognize both of them and won’t mark either as wrong. That’s because neither of them is wrong, depending on the region where the liquor is from.
While it doesn’t really matter, especially when pouring or drinking, here’s why the spelling changes.
Apparently, there’s a legend that says the Scottish people said that adding that extra vowel took up too much quality drinking time.
Whether that’s true or not, Canada, Japan, and Scotland all use the non-e spelling of whisky.
But if the bottle is from Ireland, America, or England, then you spell it whiskey, with the E.
4. You Can Put it in Your… Ear?
That’s right. Whiskey isn’t just for drinking. While we don’t recommend it, it’s possible to use Whiskey as an antiseptic/antibiotic.
In the old days (once they figured the whole contamination thing out) doctors would use whiskey to sterilize both their tools and a wound.
If you’re prone to swimmers ear, a few drops in each ear will dry any existing water right up.
That is if you don’t have rubbing alcohol available. Since it doesn’t have any sugars, that’s preferable to whiskey. But it’s good to know you have options if you’re stranded and happen to have a bottle with you.
5. Scotland/Ireland Who? The US Dominates the Whiskey Scene
Note that we’re spelling it with the e since whiskey from the states uses that rule.
Anyways, The United States is the country that consumes the most Whiskey out of the whole world. It may be that we’re a large country, but it seems we really love the taste of this brown liquor.
We’re also big on producing whiskey ourselves, we fall just behind Scotland when it comes to production numbers. And yes, a big part of that production comes from good old Jack Daniels.
When it comes to individual brands, they’re the biggest distributor in the world. At their factory, which, fun fact, is in a dry county, they produce enough whiskey to fill 1,000 barrels a day!
Broken down that’s over 200,000 bottles of whiskey from that little town in Tennessee.
6. The Angels Drink Too
While they might, we don’t know if actual angels drink whiskey. But that’s what they call it when a barrel starts to lose more whiskey than it used to.
Some of the whiskey will evaporate out of the barrel, which is normal. But older barrels cause more to evaporate. The amount that’s lost is called the “angels share” – as it’s getting evaporated up into the heavens.
But some of the whiskey gets sucked into the fibers in the barrel, which is called, appropriately, the “devil’s share”.
7. George Washington Made Whiskey
If all you knew about our first president was that he crossed Delaware and apparently never lied (not true), then get ready to learn.
Back in his day, he was the largest producer of whiskey in the States. He had his own distillery in Virginia, near his home. Records show that he was making 11,000 gallons at that little distillery, which was a production record at the time.
8. Whiskey and Beer are Brothers
If you’ve ever wondered what beer would taste like without hops . . . it would taste like whiskey! In fact, the raw products of the “mash” are virtually the same for the first two days they exist.
It’s the distilling and the aging that changes hopeless-beer into whiskey.
9. The Strongest Proof is “Cask Strength”
Most whiskeys and other aged liquors have to be watered down to meet legal requirements. But, in some places, you can buy higher proofs.
The highest proof you can get is “cask strength” which isn’t diluted at all. That will give you a strong buzz at 120 proof, or a little bit over.
These whiskey facts are great to pull out of your pocket next time you want to impress someone over a pour. You may not be able to afford the oldest whiskey in the world, but you can seem like you spent good money on your whiskey education.
Need some of the good stuff to pour and show your newfound knowledge over? Click here.