9 facts about whisky you need to know


Make whisky your Mastermind chosen subject with these 9 facts that every whisky drinker should know...

1. The world’s oldest whisky is over 150 years old

Rumoured to have been bottled between 1851 and 1858, a 400ml bottle of Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky holds the Guinness World  Record for ‘World’s Oldest Whisky’. Owned by an Irish family for generations, the bottle was auctioned at Bonhams in London and fetched a staggering £14,850.

2. Whisky – Just for the Scots?

To ‘e’ or not to ‘e’, that’s the question. When it comes to spelling, only refer to Scottish / Scotch whisky without the ‘e’…if its origins are rooted elsewhere, opt for ‘whiskey’.

3. Rare Macallan ‘M’ – the most expensive whisky ever sold

A Lalique decanter of Macallan ‘M’ whisky scooped the prestigious title of ‘world’s most expensive whisky’ when it sold at auction in Hong Kong for £393,109 earlier this year. The luxury decanter contains 6 litres of whisky which were drawn from Spanish oak sherry casks dating from the 1940s to the 1990s.

4. Whisky means ‘water of life’

Whisky in Gaelic reads ‘uisge beathe’, which translates as ‘water of life’. What more do you need to know?

5. Scotch whisky generates £135 a second

The export of whisky generates a healthy £135 a second for the Scottish government with just under 2,500 bottles of whisky being exported from Scotland every minute.

6. The Angel’s pinch 2% a year

Whisky stored in barrels gradually evaporates at a rate of 2% a year. This is referred to as the famous ‘angel’s share’.

7. Life begins at 40 for whisky!

Scotch whisky has to be bottled at a minimum strength of 40% ABV, meaning life really does begin at 40. Some whiskies can reach strengths of over 60% ABV…always read the label.

8. Three’s the magic number when it comes to whisky

Scotch whisky can only be called Scotch whisky when it has been left for a minimum of three years to age in casks, in Scotland. Some distilleries hold casks of whisky which are a grand 70+ years old.

9. Who invented whisky? The debate goes on…

Some say the Egyptians. Others say the Romans. In truth, no one is quite sure who invited whisky however the first documented evidence of whisky in Scotland refers to Irish monks and an order of ‘eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor to make aquavitae’ which is listed in the Scottish Exchequer Rolls of 1494. 


Subscribe to Hot Rum Cow magazine before 29 January 2016 and you could win a bottle of Auchentoshan American Oak whisky!

Every new UK subscription (including renewals and gift subscriptions) registered by 29 January 2016 will be automatically entered into a prize draw to win a bottle of Auchentoshan American Oak. The Lowland single malt is triple distilled and matured solely in American bourbon casks. And, even if you don’t win the whisky, you’ve still got four issues of the finest drinks mag available to humanity.


Terms and conditions: Competition is open to UK residents aged 18 years and over and prizes can only be dispatched to a UK address. No purchase necessary – non-subscribers can enter by post. Write your name, address and ‘Auchentoshan Competition’ on a postcard and send to Hot Rum Cow, 54 Timberbush, Edinburgh, EH6 6QH. Proof of age required to claim prize. Only one entry per person. Prizes are non-transferable, non-negotiable and no cash alternatives will be offered. Editor’s decision is final.