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How We Put an ‘e’ in Whiskey-bookcover

By: Roy Court

How We Put an ‘e’ in Whiskey

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Have you ever wondered how whiskey came about? It has roots that go a long way into the past, and in this book, the author tells us how the various discoveries came together – first of all to obtain alcohol from wine, but in Ireland, where grapes do not grow, from ale. The monks who first carried out this experiment wanted alcohol for medical purposes because the monks in those days were also the physicians.Inevitably, the alcohol was tasted, and though at that time it must have been harsh in flavour, the feeling of well-being and warmth it created could not be missed. At first, it was flavoured with spices, notably saffron, which gave it a beautiful yellow/orange colour. Later it was discovered that storage in an oak cask not only produced the amber colour of whiskey today but did wonderful things to the taste. From then onwards, all additions other than water to adjust the alcoholic strength and some caramel to standardise colouring were prohibited by law.Whiskey distilleries were recognised by their chimneys indicating their voracious use of fossil fuels, but today distilleries are being converted to be 100% fossil-fuel-free and still produce the same beautiful amber liquid.

Roy Court was born in Scotland. After studying chemistry and mathematics in university, he went to work for associated British Maltsters in 1960, carrying out research work into malting and whiskey production. In 1963, he was appointed chief chemist for William Grant & Sons.

In 1965, he moved to Ireland to work for John Jameson & Son as a development distiller. The company merged to form Irish Distillers, and Roy filled a number of senior management roles.

In 1982, he left Irish Distillers to set up a consultancy business in the west of Ireland.

From then until the present, he has worked for a number of companies in the production of whiskey and other products and new product development.

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