Whiskey: it’s the water of life. People take it straight, in cinnamon-infused shots, and in cocktails like the Rob Roy and Rusty Nail. Appearing as early as the 12th century in Europe, whiskey was produced in countries where grapes were scarce, made in monasteries and used medicinally. It was considered an antidote to colic, palsy, and smallpox, and prescribed as a solution for the preservation of life.

By the 17th century in Scotland, the government caught on to the popularity of whiskey, which had transformed from being produced primarily in monasteries to becoming a commonly distilled malt. The parliament decided to tax the beverage, forcing distillers to make whiskey underground and making smuggling an ordinary practice. Almost two centuries later, the Excised Act was passed in 1823, authorizing the distillation of whisky for a small license fee and a set payment per gallon produced. This effectively ended the practice of smuggling, paving the way for the start of the modern whiskey industry.

In America, whiskey became associated with trail-riding, rough and tumble cowboys who drank whiskey in saloons after long days spent on the trails. First produced in the States by Frontiersmen in Bourbon County, Kentucky, who had access to limestone-filtered springs, oak trees adequate for making barrels, and land suitable for corn growing, early settlers quickly mastered the art of whiskey distillation.


A Brief History of Scotch Whiskey

Bourbon: True American Spirit

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