Pennies from heaven ③~The story of whiskey told by the sommelier~

clear drinking glass with hard liquor

The second of the five major whiskeys, this time about Scotland.

Distillation technology seems to have come from Ireland. Like Ireland, it is a country of beer culture. Rich in good quality water, Jin, a spirited liquor, originated in England. There are two major turning points for Scotch whiskey.

The first is the liquor tax. At one point, the king at the time put a ridiculous tax on whiskey. There seems to be a theory that the tax rate was 15 times. For example with Japanese consumption tax, it is 1000 yen excluding tax and 15000 yen including tax. The purpose was to raise funds for the war with France. If this happens, the people will be charged a ridiculous tax if they make sake in a straightforward manner. With such a high tax, they want to make whisky secretly. That’s right. Moonshine had developed. More than half of the whiskey consumed at that time was moonshine. It is said that the manufacturing technology of moonshine companies developed greatly in this era, and the quality surpassed that of regular companies.

By the way, of course, there is no such high tax now. It is said that the reason for the revision of the Liquor Tax Law was that the king at that time would have loved moonshine whiskey, and that the king should not like moonshine, and lowered the tax rate.

The second turning point is the destruction of grapes. Wine and brandy were the main lovers of the upper European classes at the time. And a disease called phylloxera infects grapes all over Europe and drives them to almost annihilation. Wine production will no longer be possible. At the same time, brandy cannot be produced. As an alternative, whiskey has become explosively popular. After all, everyone wants to drink.

By the way, grapes native to Europe still have the risk of 100% infected with phylloxera. The lower part of the vine sapling is grafted with a tree native to the United States.

Of course, the quality of Scotch whiskey is high, but by chance, it has established its current position.