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5 Interesting Facts About Whisky

ballantines glasses neat on the rocks whisky guide

Whisky is rightly seen as one of the world’s most iconic drinks – look at how many times it turns up in films and on TV. But there are many smart facts about it you probably don’t know. Wow your mates with this insider info. 

1 – The Origins of Whisky

For the earliest known mention of whisky, we need to go back to 1494, towards the end of the Middle Ages, when distilling was first mentioned in Scottish tax records. The Romans first introduced alcoholic drinks to Britain even earlier, back in the 13th century. They called distilled spirits “aqua vitae”, which means “water of life” in Latin. The next time you’re drinking a highball, keep in mind that over five centuries of history has gone into the making of it!

2 – The Invention of Blended Whisky

Blended whisky came about thanks to enterprising shop-owners. They’d top-up a customer’s bottle with whatever single-malt they stocked, resulting in a blend over time. People soon realised blending whisky could give improved flavours and blend-focused distilleries started to appear. The Ballantine’s blenders at our flagship distillery do exactly this, combining a secret array of malts that can’t be recreated by anyone else. A good bottle is like a great night out: combining different experiences to create something legendary.

3 – Make Your Own Whisky: Infinity Bottle

Great whiskies are made from a recipe, to produce consistently great bottles. But if you want to make your own unique whisky, why not start an infinity bottle? This means taking a bottle that is either finished or nearly empty and topping it up with a different whisky. This way you can create a bottle of gold that is truly you, like those resourceful shopkeepers from the early days. It’s a good idea to use similar flavours for each top-up, but whatever you choose, it’ll be original to you.

4 – Does Aging Whisky Make it Better?

A common misconception is that the older a whisky is, the better it is. In truth, the age of a whisky doesn’t make it any better than another bottle. All it does is change the flavour. For some, that provides a better taste but others might find it worse. It’s all subjective and the only way to find out what works best for your palate is to keep trying. Listen to your tastebuds and ignore the hype about older being better.

5 – How Many Whisky Brands are There?

Guess how many brands of whisky there are. You’ll have seen countless types so if you guessed “more than a few”, you’d be right. There are almost as many different whisky brands as there are species on Earth. Each is unique, but everyone has their own favourite. For us, the secret Ballantine’s blend hits the spot every time, no matter how you have it. On the rocks or with a mixer, the Ballantine’s blend is one in a million.

No other drink has a history like whisky. Many decades of knowledge and experimentation have gone into creating the rich, complex types we have today. There’s no right way to drink it, it’s all about what works best for you.


You already know we’ve nailed the Finest Whisky to ever grace a glass. But that’s just a little drop of what we’re about. Scroll on for the latest news and features from across the world of Ballantine’s whisky, True Music and much, much more.