Welcome to Whisky Shelter!

Hello There! Welcome to Whisky Shelter, your beginners guide to drinking whisky, the beverage we all love and admire. In this website you will find anything about whisky from how it is produced to how to drink it properly. Let’s begin our journey! Whisky is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grains of rich variety, consisting of wheat, rye, barley and corn. Whisky is mostly aged in wooden barrels, mostly made of charred white oaks. Whisky is a spirit that is regulated strictly with many classes, types and characteristics which occur due to the factors from the type of grain to the way of distillation process. Let us continue with the history of this magnificent drink, shall we?

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Whisky's Etymology

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The word whisky is originated from the Classical Gaelic word uisce meaning “water” which is still used in modern Irish. In Latin, distilled alcohol was known as aqua vitae (“water of life”) which was later translated in Irish as “uisce beatha”. The word evolved overtime, into the word we know and use today “whisky”. For all you are wondering if the words true spelling is “whisky” or “whiskey”, it is truly only a matter of regional language convention. It is just like the difference between “color” and “colour”. The spelling whiskey is common in Ireland and the United States, while whisky is used in all other whisky-producing countries.

A Brief History of Whisky

It is argued that the art of distillation dates back to 2000 BC, to Mesopotamia where the Babylonians distilled water to produce perfumes and aromatics. However, the first official distillation took place in the Ancient Greece in 1 AD, but not yet leading to an alcohol distillation. The first alcohol distillation took place in Italy in the 13th century. It was first distilled from wine and was used to cure diseases such as smallpox and colic. Right before the 15th century, the practice of distillation came to Scotland and Ireland where the goal was to produce "Aqua Vitae", the spirit we just talked about. It was produced for medical purposes. The first written record of ‘whisky’ appears in the Irish Annals of Clonmacnoise, where is was written that the head of a clan died after “taking a surfeit [excessive amount] of aqua vitae” at Christmas. With the king of Scotland liking whisky and ordering it from many chieftains, Whisky production moved out of a monastic setting and into personal homes and farms as newly independent monks needed to find a way to earn money for themselves. However, the distillation process was still in its infancy; whisky itself was not allowed to age, and as a result tasted very raw and brutal compared to today's versions. Renaissance-era whisky was also very potent and not diluted. Over time whisky evolved into a much smoother drink. In America during the American Revolution, whisky was used as currency. Given the distances and primitive transportation network of colonial America, farmers often found it easier and more profitable to convert corn to whisky and transport it to market in that form. George Washington even had a distillery in Mount Vernon to produce whisky.

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