As early as 1494, whisky was being distilled in Scotland. With such a long legacy, there’s plenty of history to explore.
In celebration of National Scotch Day, and to give you a few fun facts to share with your guests and friends, we’re sharing a few of our favorite pieces of scotch trivia. As with many old, distilled spirits, there’s always more to learn and uncover.
During Prohibition Doctors Could Prescribe Whisky
There were a few ways that drinkers with some extra cash could get their whisky fix during American Prohibition, one of the legal options was to get a prescription. While alcohol was used as a treatment for several issues at the time, savvy physicians looking to make some extra money would sell prescriptions for spirits to just about anyone. One of the most notable partakers was Winston Churchill, who’s card read, “This is to certify that the post-accident convalescence of the Hon. Winston S. Churchill necessitates the use of alcoholic spirits especially at meal times. The quantity is naturally indefinite, but the minimum requirements would be 250 cubic centimeters.”
Scotch Does Well In The Cold (And On Adventures)
When Ernest Shackleton was planning his 1907 expedition to the South Pole, he ordered 25 cases of Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whiskey. This addition (along with several other spirits) was considered a necessary staple to help keep morale high on the difficult, and at times boring, trip. When the crew was forced to abandon their plans and make an escape, they left behind several crates. In 2007, 11 of the remaining bottles were found frozen but intact in the ice.
Distilleries And Cats Go Together
In a distillery full of barley there’s going to be mice, and what better way to deal with them than having a few cats around? Just like how many ships and other businesses employed felines for their superior pest control capabilities, distilleries have had many furry staff members. Several distilleries have even had semi-famous cats that make it into their brand history. One particularly skilled hunter named Towser made The Guinness Book Of World Records after annihilating an estimated 28,899 mice during her 24-year career at Glenturret.
Scotch Has A Long History Of Tax Evasion
Starting in 1644, Scottish Parliament realized that there was a profit to be made off the burgeoning spirit industry and began levying heavy taxes. Almost immediately, distillers turned to smuggling—using a range of ingenious tactics to keep their spirits hidden from the excisemen. Even members of the church were known to help hide bottles of scotch under their pulpits. Right before the passing of the Excise Act in 1923—which made producing scotch legally profitable—up to 14,000 stills a year were being confiscated.
Have a favorite scotch fact we missed? Share it in the comments below!