In 2011, Ardbeg, a prominent Scotch whisky distiller, sent vials of its whisky to the International Space Station to mature. Those vials have been returned to Earth and subjected to taste tests alongside samples of the same whisky matured at Ardbeg's distillery. [more inside]
But as whisky scientists point out, it’s not really like that. Water has no influence on malt whisky flavour; barley can come from anywhere, provided that it delivers satisfactory spirit yield; and, in many cases, the newly made spirit is taken by tanker from its beautiful, peaceful, lonely distillery surroundings within a couple of weeks of distillation. It’s then aged in uglier, less peaceful but more logistically sensible locations in central Scotland.Flavour in malt whisky is attributable to the malt specification, to brewing and distilling practices and to wood-ageing regimes [more inside]
You eat too fast, and I understand why your antidyspeptic pill-makers cover your walls, your forests even, with their advertisements.
In 1891 author and lecturer ”Max O’Rell” (being the pen name of one Léon Paul Blouet) published an amusing account of his travels through the States and Eastern Canada - "A Frenchman In America" - that, along with the charming illustrations, reflect on then popular national stereotypes and character and is presented on Project Gutenberg in its entirely. (via)
How to drink whisky: "Master Blender Richard Paterson shows David Hayman how to drink blends". Paterson is the master blender who managed to replicate the lost (and then found) 114-year-old Whyte & Mackay whisky from the Shackleton South Pole expedition; also see Shackleton’s Whisky – Mackinlay’s Reborn for a review (previously on MeFi). At his blog, he's currently discussing whisky & food pairings. [more inside]
Previously on Metafilter, we unearthed hundred year old scotch. So let's talk about scotch. There's a lot to say. [more inside]
During his unsuccessful 1908 attempt to reach the South Pole, universal badass Ernest Shackleton left five crates of Scotch whisky and two crates of brandy buried in the ice under the floorboards of his hut at Cape Royds. The crates were dug up in February, and conservators are working on ten of the 114-year-old whisky bottles, some marked with ‘British Antarctic Expedition 1907 Ship Endurance,’ with an eye on replicating the long-lost blend. [more inside]
The world's next Coca-Cola or Starbucks is more likely to emerge from Asia, the Middle East or South America They comprise Juan Valdez Café, a Colombian coffee chain; Almarai, a Saudi dairy and fruit-juice company based in Riyadh; Patchi, a Lebanese boutique chocolate chain; ChangYu, China's biggest wine producer; and United Spirits, India's largest liquor group, which owns Scotch whisky Whyte and Mackay.
For those of you who are celebrating Tartan Day on April 6, a little primer on tartans. Tartans began in Scotland as woven wool patterns used as district identifiers, created using locally popular patterns and, originally, different natural wool colors. The word tartan originally just meant the style of weaving -- take the yarn over two cross strands, then under two, then repeat. Eventually the meaning changed to what we now accept, the patterns of colors in the weave, also called the sett. [more inside]
"The Billboard Liberation Front today announced a major new advertising improvement campaign executed on behalf of clients AT&T and the National Security Agency. Focusing on billboards in the San Francisco area, this improvement action is designed to promote and celebrate the innovative collaboration of these two global communications giants." [Via Threat Level.]
Bob Log III plays distorted trash grimey blues slide guitar with his hands, he drawls through a telephone attached to the bubble face of the motorcycle helmet he wears, and he drums with his feet. He is known to ask women to stir his scotch on stage with their breasts, which is sadly Not currently Safe for Work. Sometimes he asks them to sit on his knee, bouncing up and down on the blue glittery jump suit he wears whenever he plays. [more inside]
On the Limits of Self-Improvement, wherein Christopher Hitchens delves into "an entire micro-economy based on the pursuit of betterment."
Scotland shamed: Japan wins whisky challenge. The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre hosted a tasting in Toronto, and a 20-year-old Nikka Yoichi, distilled in Hokkaido, beat out a 16-year-old Lagavulin (my own favorite) and 12-year-old whiskies from Cragganmore and Balvenie (also excellent). This is reminiscent of the 1976 tasting in which California wines beat out French ones and put California on the map; can America someday produce a world-class scotch-type whisky (the preferred spelling in Scotland), or shall we simply continue to take pride in our bourbon and rye?
Weapons of Mass Drunkenness. The ever vigilante U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency has been monitoring the web cams at the Bruichladdich Scotch Whisky Distillery on Islay island, Scotland, to make sure the facilities are not being used to make chemical weapons. I, for one, am glad to know that my government takes the safety of whiskey distilleries seriously. [First link via Boing Boing.]
What's your favorite type of liquor? After the success of the beer thread, I figured some people might want to talk about their favorite scotches, bourbons, rums, tequilas, vodkas, and gins.