High Life

Single Malt Scotch

How much would you pay for the world’s classiest beverage?

“To Friar John Cor, by order of the King, to make Aqua Vitae, VIII bolls of malt.”

That’s from the Exchequer Rolls in 1494, the first mention of Scotch production. That was enough malt to make about 1500 bottles for Scotland’s royal household. It’s warm and calming sensation gave Scotch a medicinal aura, and so it was used to treat all kinds of ailments. Some still believe that today, but nobody believes you drink it only for a cure.


Scotch is regarded as one of the classiest beverages you can buy and its production is a complicated business. All for good reason, as good scotch can command some healthy prices. Before we get into that, we should go through some facts. Aficionados certainly know all this stuff, but for the rest of us:

  • Scotch can be made from malt or grain, or combinations of the two, but it can only be made in Scotland and as specified by law. So even if you exactly duplicate the process somewhere else, say, Japan, it is not scotch.

  • Scotch falls under the broad classification of whiskey (or whisky, if you prefer that spelling), so all scotches are whiskey, but not all whiskeys are scotch.

  • Scotch has no added substances other than water and caramel coloring.

  • Scotch must be aged in oak barrels no less than 3 years.  

“They say some of my stars drink whiskey, but I have found that ones who drink milkshakes don’t win many ball games.”

                                     –Casey Stengel

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