Whisky fans are among the most passionate in the world. Ed Sheeran has a tattoo of Aberfeldy, his favourite distillery. Lady Gaga launched a make-up range inspired by her favourite tipple. It’s also rumoured Frank Sinatra was even buried with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.
Historically known as aqua vitae – the water of life – whisky has a long, rich heritage rooted in medieval Scotland and Ireland, and has today grown to become the world’s most popular globally-produced spirit.
But what exactly is it, and why is it so popular?
Whisky is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grains and is usually matured in wooden casks for several years. It’s made in many different countries around the world, with styles varying from distiller to distiller, but it always starts with three simple ingredients: grain, water and yeast.
From these three ingredients a world of flavour is born. Rye whiskies have signature bready, grassy and black pepper qualities while Bourbons ooze caramel popcorn, toffee and brioche notes. Even Scotch whiskies vary from mouthwateringly fruity single malts to rich, chocolate-spice sherry bombs.
There is so much variety in whisky’s flavour spectrum that it’s without doubt the world’s most versatile spirit. Whether you prefer to drink it neat, or add ice or water, even mix it in your favourite cocktail, there’s a whisky to suit every palate and occasion.