The Water of Life April 13 2019
The English word "whisky" is said to come from the Gaelic "Uisge beatha," which is translated as "Water of Life." It probably seemed to have the ability to revive the dead in 1494 (its first recorded mention in Scotland), and yes, if overindulged, to cause it. It's a metaphor, you see - one you can savor.
But as with life, whisky's fortune comes and goes. Distilleries are built, and distilleries are closed. Scotland's Campbeltown region used to be home to most of Scotland's distilleries, but American Prohibition, a taste for lighter whisky, and probably mismanagement caused most* of them to close in the early 20th Century.
But today, we are in the midst of a whisky boom, and new distilleries are being opened all over Scotland. They're hard to find stateside, as most remain small and are still in a growth mode, but they're there, and if you're even half the geek I am, you're probably looking to try them, too.
In that ... ahem ... spirit, I'm pleased to announce the 2nd edition of my Scotch Whisky map. I originally released this map way back in 2014, but a number of new distilleries have come online in the intervening time. The new edition includes all the single malt distilleries currently producing spirit for sale, and those I think will come online in the next couple of years.
Because I'm a designer, I'm also a tinkerer, and I couldn't just release the map without a few little design tweaks. Compare the original map at left to the new map at right and let me know what you see.
* One of my favorite distilleries, Springbank, is one of the only Campbeltown distilleries left standing, and to my knowledge, Scotland's only entirely self-sufficient distillery. It produces three distinct brands - its namesake "Springbank," which is unpeated, "Longrow," which is, and "Hazelburn," which is triple-distilled, as with many Irish whiskeys. Springbank malts its own barley, ferments and distills its wash on site, ages it in their own barrel houses, and bottles it where it's made.