When it comes to vintage whisky, there is a lot that people don’t know. This article will open the cask on one of Scotland’s oldest running industries, here are some facts that you may not have known about vintage whisky.
Generates Huge Tax Revenue
Whisky is taxed by the Scottish Government; the exportation of Scotch whisky generates around £125 a SECOND. Just under 38 bottles of whisky are exported every second from Scotland.
In one single year, Scotland exports enough whisky that if laid case-to-case would reach from Edinburgh to New York 6 times. (That’s 99 million cases of whisky).
The older and rarer the whisky, the more expensive it is. Some bottles of vintage whisky reach staggering prices in auctions around the world.
A Single Malt May See Several Casks
People tend to assume that a single malt will only see one cask. In reality, many single malts see several casks before they are finally bottled.
There are specific rules as to what makes a single malt whisky;
- A single malt whisky simply means that it’s been made and matured in one distillery, before getting bottled at that same distillery.
- Single malts must also be made out exclusively out of malted barley (although caramel colouring is allowed).
- They must also must be aged for at least 3 years in oak casks that do not exceed 700L.
Scotland Has a Large Amount of Whisky
Scotland currently has more than 20 million casks of whisky which is maturing. That’s enough whisky for everyone in the country to get 4 bottles each.
Prices for Rare or Vintage Whisky Can Be Insane
Rare or vintage whisky can be eye-wateringly expensive. Whisky collectors are willing to part with huge amounts of money in order to secure some types of whisky.
The most expensive whisky to ever be sold was a crystal decanter of Macallan Imperial ‘M’ whisky. This sold in Hong Kong for $621,205 in 2015.
A Lot of Whisky is Lost During Maturation
Whisky stored in barrels will gradually evaporate, this happens at a rate of nearly 2% per year. This is famously referred to as the ‘angel’s share.’
It Benefits Local Employment
Many distilleries rely on locals for employment. This is great for the people living there as well as being an advantage to the whisky companies. In many cases, generations of the same family will all work for the same brewery. Workforces such as these tend to work in consistent styles which can be beneficial for the long-term production of the whisky.
It Must Come from Scotland
In order for a Scotch whisky to get its name, it must be aged in Scotland for a minimum of 3 years. Many prestigious Scottish whisky companies will not release anything below 12-years-matured. This keeps the integrity of the whisky, and the brand.
Blending Softened Older, Harsher Whisky
Blended whisky made an appearance back in the day where single malt was still a lot younger, and much harsher. Blended whiskies generally have anywhere between 15-50 individual types of whisky, this is up to the blender themselves what types are included and how many. There are 3 main types of blended whisky, these include;
- Blended malt Scotch whisky
- Blended grain Scotch whisky
- Blended Scotch whisky