A haven for whisky lovers, The Balmoral hotel’s respect for the amber dram is evident. Our oak-panelled SCOTCH Bar is entirely dedicated to the spirit and counts over 500 varieties amongst its collection; at its helm is Cameron Ewen, Bar Manager and Senior Whisky Ambassador. To celebrate Whisky Month, the knowledgeable connoisseur shares some of the lesser-known facts about the traditional spirit:
1. Historically, whisky would have been a clear spirit. The malt spirit runs from the stills clear. This would have been how people consumed the drink until the 1840s when we started exporting. Casks were used to transport bulk quantities and it was noticed that the cask softened out the spirit and made it more complex, adding colour to the spirit. After this, whisky started to be matured in casks before sale.
2. In Scotland we lose about 81 bottles of whisky an hour. No, not through clumsiness or forgetfulness, but due to the natural evaporation whilst whisky is being matured. This phenomenon is known locally as the ‘Angel's Share’. There are 10 million casks maturing in Scotland and each of these will lose around 2% of its quantity annually.
3. Whisky production is on the rise. And not just by already established companies, either. In Scotland we have seen 120 distilleries licenced to produce whisky. Within the next five years we could see that figure exceed 150. We are also seeing expansions from distilleries like Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and Macallan who have or plan to double their production capacity very soon.
4. Some of Scotland's most well-known names began their careers as grocers. John Walker and The Chivas brothers both owned grocers and developed a skill for blending through the blending of tea. This was transferable to whisky and as their shops started to sell more spirits, the household names Johnnie Walker and Chivas Regal were born. These two brands would go on to be two of the best-known names in Scotch whisky.
5. The old adage ‘whisky should be served neat’ is changing. More and more whisky brands are encouraging consumers to experiment with their whisky, offering Perfect Serves – different glassware, accompaniments and quantities of ice. Whisky should be enjoyed however you like it!
Enjoy your next whisky at SCOTCH, our world-class whisky bar at The Balmoral, home to over 500 Scottish varieties, or treat a whisky-lover to our 100 Years of Whisky experience with a gift voucher redeemable over 15 months.