It is among the oldest spirits known around the world, with roots tracing back as far as the 15th century.  Commonly associated with Ireland, the first written accord of whisky is from an Irish text, dated in 1405.  Since that time, of course, the grain alcohol spread across the globe. It was so popular, at one point in time, that it was even traded as a type of currency during the Revolutionary War, in North America.  Its popularity has persevered since that time, of course, as whisky remains one of the most commonly produced spirits around the world.

Known by different École emploi Bar à Montréal names in the regions where it is made, whisky is a relatively simple spirit.  Like all the others it is distilled and stored and aged, then bottled.  


Whisky stills are traditionally known as “pot stills” because the first whiskey distillers used a single heated chamber with a similar singular vessel to collect purified alcohol.  You put the base grain into the chamber and heat it, extracting the alcohol.  

The earliest forms of distillation appear to date back to the 2nd millennium BC.  Of course, things were very different at that time so distillation was only used to make things like perfumes—aromatics.  It was not until after 1200 BC that we first begin to find record of using this process to distill alcohol.

Of course, whiskey producers use column stills today, which are basically just a modern version of the classic single pot stills.


A proper whiskey can only be aged in a cask.  Once it is bottled it is no longer considered “aging.”  As such, the “age” of a whiskey is the amount of time it has rested in a barrel after being distilled (and before it was bottled).  Typically this amount of time is several years, as the duration directly affects how the whisky begins to exhibit the essence of its cask.  The type of cask, then, can dramatically alter the aroma and flavor of the final product.

In the cask, whisky undergoes six processes which affect flavor:

  • Extraction
  • Evaporation
  • Oxidation
  • Concentration
  • Filtration
  • coloration

It is important to remember that “age” refers to how long whisky is in the cask and not in the bottle.  An older bottle of whisky, for example, is not necessarily better than a younger bottle. It all depends on how long it was “aged” before bottled—something you can read from the label.