American Whisky or Whiskey

This is a guest post by Roberta Kyle. Roberta was an enthusiastic bourbon drinker in the days of her mis-spent youth. In maturity her drinking habits have moderated, but her gusto for American whiskey remains un-changed. She still thinks Kentucky bourbon is the drink of the gods.

These days, Roberta roams the internet and various social media sites as Pinkpackrat and contributes to several blogs. Her personal blog is PinkPackRatAtPlay

3094933627 c2a4daf8ef American Whisky or Whiskey

More than the spelling changed when whisky became whiskey in America. The first record of a distillery is found in the Jamestown colony around 1620. An Englishman named George Thorpe figured out he could make a fermented mash out of Indian corn and wrote a letter about it to his cousin in England. Homemade beer and distilled spirits were very common in the American colonies as life was hard and water borne diseases common. Outbreaks of cholera and typhus were routine. Even children drank beer rather than water because it was safer. European visitors to Colonial America were often shocked at the amount of beer and home brewed whiskey consumed in the colonies . Americans are still among the world’s heaviest consumers of distilled spirits, though the 21st century American drinks only half as much as his 18th century counterpart did. Sometimes we still shock visiting Europeans though:-)

Rum was the drink of choice in New England, while whiskey made from maize or rye( both of which grew more easily in the New World than barley)was the choice of early Scots and Irish settlers. Many of these hardy independent Scots and Irishmen settled in Kentucky and Tennessee,where the best American whiskey is still made today.

A still was as routine a part of farm life in colonial times as a barn or a pigsty. What the family didn’t drink could be sold for much needed cash. Though corn and rye whiskeys were ,and still are, produced in many states, and there are still individual farmers producing their own “white lighting” or “moonshine”( albeit illegally), these days American whiskey production is highly standardized, regulated and highly taxed.

The best American distilleries turn out a fine product with a smoky, uniquely American bouquet and a sophisticated taste. Bourbon whiskey has a well deserved reputation for excellence. Straight Rye whiskey was popular a hundred years ago, but only a few brands are still made, the most famous of which is Old Overholt.

American Drinking Customs

Ideally, good whiskey should be drunk neat, without ice, but very few Americans drink it that way. We love ice and our cocktails and will mix good whiskey with the most amazing variety of other ingredients. While Mint Julips and Manhattans are quite delicious, some other American combinations are simply atrocious. Coca cola and Seven Up were never meant to be mixed with good bourbon in my opinion. But many of my compatriots disagree. Bourbon tastes best “on the rocks” with a twist of lemon and maybe just a splash of water. Savored this way it is a most pleasing tipple, whether at a cocktail party,as a pre-dinner libation, or a post prandial nightcap. Bourbon for breakfast is not recommended. However, it is far from an unknown American custom.

Recommended American Distilleries

Most American whiskey is classified as Bourbon and is made in Kentucky or Tennessee. The requirements for Bourbon whiskey are set by law. It must be made in the United States and must be, among other things, at least 51% corn and 80% alcohol by volume. Here is a highly subjective list of the best Bourbons and the distillers who make them.

Jack Daniels Sour mash bourbon, oak-aged and deep smoky taste.

Wild Turkey The best American bourbon since 1855

Jim Beam bourbon with a sweet, golden taste. This distillery also makes Old Overholt rye whiskey

Four Roses Less expensive, less subtle in flavor but very good quality

Makers Mark a boutique bourbon carefully made and sold in square, wax sealed bottles

Is Whisky Better Than Haggis?

In the first scientific comparison of whisky against other Scottish produce, I proved whisky is better than diesel.

With Burn’s Night just a day away, what could be more fitting than the scientific comparison of whisky and haggis?

To the best of my knowledge this is a world exclusive, never before has the question is whisky better than haggis? been posed.


whisky glass Is Whisky Better Than Haggis?

Calories (per 100ml): 220kcal

Fat (per 100ml): 0

Cost (per 100ml): £1.42 – £1,428.00+

Ingredients: Water, Barley & Yeast.


haggis Is Whisky Better Than Haggis?

Calories (per 100g): 270kcal

Fat (per 100g): 17.6g

Cost (per 100g): £0.35 – £0.75

Ingredients: Sheep’s heart, liver, lungs & windpipe encased in sheep’s stomach bag with fat, oatmeal & onions.

Yes, Whisky IS Better than Haggis

Whisky is 75% better than haggis. Sorry haggis and other sheep’s offal based foods, where whisky is aromatic you are pungent.

By method of scientific comparison I have proven whisky to be better than haggis. One is the water of life, the other tastes like a field of sheep smells. Whisky wins!

Keeping Whisky Safe

Keeping your whisky safe is important to anyone with even a half bottle of supermarket own brand whisky. You can imagine how much more important it is for distilleries! I shall do a series of posts about keeping whisky safe, starting with this one about keeping whisky safe in distillery warehouses.

warehouse locks Keeping Whisky Safe

Twin Padlocked Warehouse

The Challenges For Distilleries Keeping Their Whisky Safe

Quite apart from having to keep their bottled whisky safe, which I will explore in another post. Distilleries need to keep their maturing whisky safe in the warehouse. Distilleries need to keep their whisky safe from potential thieves, but also from the exciseman’s clammy hands!

The distillery must pay duty on all whisky taken out of the warehouses, the exciseman must ensure that this is adhered to.

The exciseman must be given access to the warehouses where the whisky matures. The distillery must also have access to their maturation warehouse. This raises the issue of mutual trust between distillery and exciseman.

Keeping Whisky Safe From Both Distilleries And Excisemen

The solution is actually very simple indeed. Each warehouse has two padlocks securing it. The distillery manager holds the key to one padlock and the exciseman holds the other. In this simple way both parties are assured that the other cannot remove the precious whisky that lies within the warehouses. The picture in this post was taken by my good lady wife at Glengarioch Distillery Oldmeldrum.

Whisky, Scotland’s Recession Buster

With the world’s economy in freefall it is very reassuring to see Scotland’s Whisky industry booming. The home market is sadly in decline, but the export market is skyrocketing.

whiskyboom Whisky, Scotlands Recession Buster

Barrels of whisky stacked high

Whisky Boom

The Whisky Boom has seen whisky sales in China increase 7000% (yes, seven thousand percent) in 7 years. Russians have also finally discovered that whisky is superior to Vodka and have swapped tatties for barley. The increase in sales is a beacon of hope for Scotland in today’s harsh financial climate.

Scotland’s Whisky being a recession buster, at a time when economic news is almost exclusively apocalyptic, has a sweet aftertaste.

Effects Of The Whisky Boom

There’s a fixed amount of whisky currently maturing in warehouses. This creates a problem when demand rises sharply. As demand rises so does the price, but a greater problem arises when distillers no longer sell their whisky to blenders but keep it to sell as single malt. This will have the effect of driving the price of even blended whisky up as blenders compete to buy casks.

Distilleries Reactions

Distillers are reacting to the Whisky Boom and it’s consequences in a variety of ingenious ways. The Macallan distillery has increased production by a third to 8 million litres per year. Ardbeg distillery previously had 10 years or older single malts, now has 6, 8 and 9 year old malts. Glenmorangie is increasing production by 50%, and Glenlivet by 100%.

photo credit


Whisky Powered Le Mans Car

We all know that Islay whisky is powerful stuff. But did you know that whisky can be used to power a car? Without modifying the engine? Neither did I.

Who Would Put Whisky In Their Car?

Bruichladdich lover and motor racing aficionado Tim Greaves, that’s who. James May and Oz Clarke were there as part of their “Great British Adventure” to witness the event.

Will Any Car Run On Whisky?

The short answer is I don’t know. I’m not about to try it though for two very good reasons:

  1. It’s “Vorsprung durch Technik”. Not “Vorsprung durch Whisky”.
  2. What a waste of whisky.

Please don’t try this at home. If anyone has a car and whisky they don’t want, sell the car and give me the whisky.

Is This Whisky Powered Car Any Good?

Well you could say that, it broke the record for the fastest lap around Germany’s notorious Nürburgring. If that is not impressive I’ll drink a bourbon. There’s a Bruichladdich sticker on the drivers helmet, but I couldn’t find out which fuel they used for the record.

You can see the record breaking Nürburgring lap here, the video is called “Lord of the Ring”.

Aberdeen Boffins Clean Water With Whisky

Who would have thought that a by product of our beloved whisky could be used to clean contaminated water?

Unique Use Of Whisky By-Product

Isn’t it quite amazing that a by-product of the whisky you drink can be used to clean up contaminated ground water? Even better is that the technology has been invented right here in Scotland where the world’s best whisky is distilled!

The by-product used in this technology is not named by the University of Aberdeen researchers. Whatever the by-product is, the researchers were supplied by the Glenfiddich distillery.

DRAM – Nice Name!

DRAM is indeed a stroke of genius for a name, much more catchy than its more formal title of “Device for the Remediation and Attenuation of Multiple pollutants”!

DRAM has received funding from Scottish Enterprise and by-product from the Glenfiddich distillery, so their Scottish and whisky credentials are rock solid.

In Tests DRAM Removed 99.96% Of Contamination

Sounds like an “and your whites were never this white” advert for soap powder, doesn’t it? But that is the success rate that DRAM acheived in early testing. We’re putting the .04% down to the angel’s share!

A full press release on DRAM can be found here, but I suspect you’ll prefer:

Maltmannie’s Thoughts On DRAM

Maybe we don’t know what the by-product is, but we do know this:

  1. The more whisky gets distilled, the more by-product there will be.
  2. The more by-product, the more DRAM.
  3. The more DRAM, the less contaminated water.

The solution for a cleaner planet is obvious, distill more whisky!

Is Whisky Better Than Diesel?

Coming from Scotland, I thought it would be fun to compare some of our national products against whisky. This is the first comparison of it’s kind, to my knowledge the question is whisky better than diesel? has never been asked on the internet.

I intend to rectify that right now. This is history in the making folks.


whisky glass Is Whisky Better Than Diesel?

Flavour: Delicious, extreme variation

Time to produce: 3 – 30 years

Cost (UK): £10 – £10,000+

Uses:Drinking, Cooking & Fuel


diesel pump Is Whisky Better Than Diesel?

Flavour: Vile

Time to produce: Millions of years

Cost (UK): £0.9 – £1.2


Yes, Whisky IS Better than Diesel

Whisky is 75% better than diesel. Sorry diesel and all other oil based fuels, you’re no match for whisky.

So, it’s official. The only thing that could make diesel any worse is the price. It’s not only nasty but it’s cheap! Whisky wins!

How Not To Drink Whisky Part I – Snorting

Now I’m no whisky snob, no really I’m not but I do get riled when I see whisky misused and abused.

The videos featured below contain some strong language, you would probably swear too if you had just snorted whisky.

In no way do I endorse or advocate snorting whisky, to me it is a total waste of good whisky.

Snorting Whisky

If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I wouldn’t believe it either. Look at the utter lack of appreciation for whisky this silly man has. He snorts whisky up 2 plastic straws into his nose. No whisky deserves to end like this, not even whiskey!

The only positive I have to say about it is:

It looks like this muppet learnt his lesson.

Global Whisky Snorting: Australia

It’s a world wide phenomenon apparently.

You’d think that videos like this one from Australia would put people off. The obvious pain that this aussie is in doesn’t deter him from snorting at his spoon again though.

Global Whisky Snorting: UK

Oh brilliant, one more reason not to go to a rugby boy party:
Whisky snorting rugby boys.

Al least the DJ has some sense:

Vicks inhalers are designed for snorting, whisky is designed for drinking

Global Whisky Snorting: USA

The USA seems to have the youngest whisky snorters in the world. This pair aren’t happy with snorting whisky from the bottom of a beer can. They turn the can round and down it in a oner immediately after. This of course proves that they are the biggest, bestest and cleverest of all their friends.

Explaining The Class System With Whisky

There’s nothing like a good debate over a dram or two. Recently two friends were at my place for an evening of catching up and whisky. One way or another the discussion came round to the class system. June didn’t understand the class system so we set out to explain it in terms of something she does understand: Whisky!

The Working Class As A Whisky

blend Explaining The Class System With Whisky

Working Class As Whisky

The working class’s equivalent in whisky terms is a blended whisky, plentiful and wide-ranging. From the Asda own brand to Johnnie Walker the whiskies are dependable, but nothing special.

The Lower Middle Class As A Whisky

laphroaig Explaining The Class System With Whisky

Lower Middle Class As Whisky

Laphroaig 10 year old is a great analogy for the lower middle class. A whisky that is relatively common and accesible, but has a good deal more reputation in the world of whisky.

The Upper Middle Class As A Whisky

quintaruban Explaining The Class System With Whisky

Upper Middle Class As Whisky

The distinction between lower and upper middle classes is often blurred, so we chose Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban to portray this subtle difference to June. The Quinta Ruban is matured in bourbon casks and “finished” in port casks, giving it that little extra edge over its contemporaries.

The Upper Class As A Whisky

125 13 Explaining The Class System With Whisky

Upper Class As Whisky

The whisky equivalent of the upper class is exclusive and inaccessible to most. The most fitting whisky we had to illustrate this was the 125.13 bottling from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. This whisky is from a single cask and is only available to Society Members, there were only ever 300 bottles of it and they are now all sold.

Summing up

I love whisky in general, the fact that there are classes of whisky doesn’t mean any of them are less worthy than others. Some whiskies are just a little more special, on that point we all agreed!

Hot Toddy, A Scottish Panacea

As a younger man, I often marvelled at the vast range of ailments my father would treat with a “hot toddy”. From a chest cold to sinusitis, if it affected his respiritory system he would prescribe himself a hot toddy. There are many recipes for hot toddy, but I’d like to share mine with you.

hot toddy 174x300 Hot Toddy, A Scottish Panacea

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What Is A Hot Toddy?

Hot toddy is a generic name for a hot drink made with a spirit, sweetener and hot water. Whisky, rum, brandy, grappa or pretty much any spirit can be used. Of course I would never advocate using anything but scotch whisky! No need for your best whisky here, indeed some would argue it is a waste of single malt. So the cheapest blended whisky your local shop stores will do just fine.

Generally it is drunk as a medicinal elixir, some people find cold weather a good excuse for a hot toddy too. I have a different personal favourite for a winter warmer, but that’s for another post. So without further ado I present:

HotWhisky’s Hot Toddy Recipe


  • 50ml Scotch Whisky
  • Half a lemon (or lime)
  • Two teaspoons of honey
  • Boiling water


  1. Squeeze the lemon (or lime) into a large mug.
  2. Put the honey and whisky into the mug too.
  3. Fill up with boiling water.
  4. Drink as quickly as possible.
  5. Go to bed.

Does A Hot Toddy Actually Work?

While I am in no way qualified to offer medical advice my personal experience is that it really helps me sleep. Normally I feel better the next day already, but I have a stock of the ingredients just in case I don’t icon wink Hot Toddy, A Scottish Panacea


Neither nor Maltmannie advocate self medication. We can advise on matters pertaining to whisky but for all matters medical consult a doctor or pharmacist.