Whisky. For centuries, it was made by farmers in small sheds hidden throughout the Highlands and Islands. It was a way to use leftover barley that, once distilled, would not go to waste during long, wet northern winters.
Now aged for years—if not decades—in all manner of barrels, today’s drink bears little resemblance to the original spirit. Whisky has grown and changed, but the lineage has never been lost. And in recent years evolution has become revolution.
The Water of Life will explore where it came from and what makes it unique, but our focus will be on where it’s headed next. Most of Scotland’s oldest distillers are now part of huge global drinks conglomerates (e.g. Diageo, BeamSuntory, etc.). But Scots have always been fiercely independent and that spirit has bubbled up in the world of whisky. With a fanbase growing in numbers and sophistication on a daily basis, some distillers and independent bottlers have taken advantage of new revenues and new demand to push the limits of how a great whisky is made.
Whisky has become cuisine and, in some cases, art.