As people around the world charge their glasses in celebration of World Whisky Day, Powers Irish Whiskey Northern Ireland Ambassador Joe Magowan shares some facts you may not know about Irish Whiskey…
1. In Ireland whiskey is spelled with an ‘e’ before the ‘y’. This spelling was originally introduced in Dublin as a way of differentiating Irish whiskey from what was considered to be ‘inferior’ Scotch.
2. Irish whiskey is currently the fastest growing spirit category in the world. Several years ago there were only four active distilleries in Ireland. Now there are over 15 in operation or in development.
3. The Irish method of whiskey distillation is different to that of any other country. The quintessential style of Irish whiskey making is known as ‘pot still’ distillation. This is achieved by mashing a blend of both malted and unmalted barley. The liquid produced is then triple distilled in large traditional copper pot stills. The resulting whiskey is characterised by rich, complex flavours and a creamy mouthfeel.
4. The word ‘whiskey’ actually comes from the Irish ‘uisce beatha’, which originates from the Latin ‘aqua vitae’ meaning ‘water of life’.
5. The first mention of whiskey in Ireland dates back as far as 1405 – almost 90 years before the mention of the word was recorded in Scotland.
6. Midleton Distillery in Cork imports 125,000 American ex bourbon barrels for maturing its whiskey every year.
7. A portion of whiskey evaporates during the process of maturation. This is known as the ‘Angel’s Share’. Midleton Distillery estimates that they lose around 30,000 bottles worth of whiskey per day through the Angel’s Share.