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Ra Cratur

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Joined: 08 May 2009
Posts: 48

Location: Thon pless

PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:25 pm    Post subject: Ra Cratur  Reply with quote

Ah've been hidin furrawhile (an youse buggers urraw sayin "Thank ****"). Weel tuff. Ahmur back anam gaunny interdooce yese tae whusky ( weel summaeyiz dinnae need onny interdoocin. Still:-

Laydeez an Gennelmen (for given values of the same) – I give you Whisky (note spelling). I'm not going to get all technical and give detailed instructions (if I did that you'd probably try to make your own). Governments frown on this (except in New Zealand).

First though, the UK government – such as it is – repeatedly goes on “campaigns” to ensure “responsible drinking” - laudable, no? No, definitely not laudable. All the various problems relating to alcohol which face developed nations were caused by two things – industrialisation of the process and governmental interference in the form of taxation.

What is whisky? Basically water and malted barley. All the different tastes found in single malt whisky (the best of the best of the best) are down to almost imperceptible ingredients such as the water used (distilleries are extremely possessive of their water sources),the peat used to malt the barley, the utensils employed to turn the malt and, finally the still used for the distillation. If a still needs to be replaced, even the dents on it are replicated. In Scotland, Coffin stills are not used to produce real whisky. All Scotch whisky comes from a pot still.

Whisky, before it's distilled is known as either “wash” or “beer” simply because that's what it is. The first stage in the making of whisky is producing a wash from malted barley and water. This wash is alcoholic but is not preserved in any way, being only an interim stage in the process.

As distillation is a very simple process I won't bother describing it, so I'll turn to asking why Scotch whisky is so popular. After all every country makes a native spirituous liquour but no other has had the depth of penetration in foreign markets. This is somewhat strange as, for many years the preferred tipple in Scotland (for the chattering classes anyway) was claret. The Enlightenment was fuelled by vast amounts of claret. Whisky (usually home-made) was the sole preserve of those who did hard, active W***.

Whisky first became “legal” in the 1820s with the introduction of the extremely unpopular Excise Act of 1823. The first of these legal distilleries was in Glanlivet, here's an excerpt from Wiki:-

Illicit distilleries were commonplace throughout the Speyside area from medieval times but were largely made redundant with the passing the Excise Act, in 1823.[12] It was under this legislation that legal distilleries could be formed, subject to holding a license. Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon, was allegedly instrumental in the passing of this legislation. Although there is no historical record of his involvement in the issue, his tenant, George Smith, who was operating an illicit distillery at the time, became the first person in Glenlivet to apply for and receive a license to legally produce spirit.[9] This would prove to be an unpopular decision, every other distiller was operating illegally at the time and hoping the new Excise Act would be repealed, something which would not happen if some distillers accepted the new law. Threats were made against George Smith, so  Gordon provided Smith with two pistols to be used to ensure both his own safety and that of the distillery.[9] In 1824, The Glenlivit distillery was established at Upper Drumin by George and his youngest son James Gordon Smith.[1][13]

These legal (and unpopular) distilleries weren't all that successful to begin with as the “illicit” distillers were more skilled and had various sites which could be used temporarily. Even so, by the late 1840s they were producing  (for the most part) an enjoyable beverage. By some happenstance they were just getting really established when their was a tragic occurrence in France – The Great French Wine Blight. This totally devastated the French economy and destroyed the trade in claret.

For a period of approximately 15 years there were, effectively no French wine exports. Whisky filled this gap  - legal whisky anyway. This was also the period of  bath-tub gin and similar toxic concoctions in the industrial ghettoes of England (the Scottish ones stuck to whisky- we knew how to make that).

But we still haven't seen why or how single-malt Scotch became the Rolls-Royce of spirits. While it wasn't down to “aggressive marketing” or advertising campaigns, I believe that the sheer geographic spread of the British Empire and the consequent geographical spread of Scotsmen (and Scotswomen) over an even greater area are responsible for this.

This can be partially shown by the spread of whisky distilling in the US. Most US distilling companies such as Jack Daniels or Jim Beam were founded by Scots or Irishmen. The biggest difference between single-malt Scotch and American stuff is the ingredients. For Scotch these are malted barley, a dedicated water supply and peat to malt the barley. Not ingredients easily obtained in the US.
Pňg mo thňn
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Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 676

PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jist a wee aside......

Directly below my office is a nice wee French restaurant run by a client and guid pal o' mine. As well as (obviously) selling French wines, he also has a range of French beers and ciders as well as a range o' French Whiskies!

And, tae tell ra truth, I reckon they're every bit as guid as the best o' wur ane single malts.
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Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 904

PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a wee aside here. Inra 80s an 90s ra Japanese wha is right drouths as far as whisky gaes, but huvny quite gotra hang o makin it, decidit tae buy a distillery ur twa inra hopes they cuid lurn ra sekrit. Howsumivver, they missed wan important wee point. They failed tae tie in ra Maister Distiller, ra ony man in ra pless wit kens exactly ra receipts used in ony given distillery's concoctions. So thur they wis wi loadsy incredibly expensive buildins an hardware an nae kloo wit tae dae wi it aw. As far as ahmur aware they still huvny managed tae secure ra servisses o a Scots Maister Distiller. Meanwhile ra owners ora Speyside distilleries wis laffin awra way taera bank.
I'm looking for a job with a sky high pay,
A four day week and a two hour day

Matt McGinn
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Fey Hag

Joined: 29 Apr 2009
Posts: 749

Location: Sealainn Nuadh Dawn's Birth Place

PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ra ainly bit uv Scottish history we a happy endin Confused

This Bothy's Clachan a Choin
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