Whisky, often known as whiskey, is a type of alcoholic beverage manufactured from fermented barley mash. Various grains, including barley, corn, rye, and wheat, are used for distinct types. Whisky is traditionally matured in wooden casks composed of charred white oak. Uncharred white oak casks formerly used to age port, rum, or sherry are also occasionally employed.Whisky is a highly regulated spirit with different grades and types all around the world. The fermentation of grains, distillation, and aging in wooden barrels are typical unifying elements of the many classes and varieties.
The art of distillation, as well as the prevalent European practice of distilling “aqua vitae,” spirit alcohol, mostly for therapeutic purposes, spread to Ireland and Scotland no later than the 15th century. Through professional medical practitioners of the time, The Guild of Barber Surgeons, medicinal distillation transferred from a monastery setting to the secular. The Annals of Clonmacnoise mentions whiskey for the first time in 1405, when a chieftain died from “taking a surfeit of aqua vitae” at Christmas. The first indication of whisky manufacturing in Scotland comes from an entry in the Exchequer Rolls for 1495, in which malt is given “to Friar John Cor, by order of the king, to make aquavitae,” enough to make 500 bottles. James IV of Scotland (r. 1488-1513) was said to be a big fan of Scotch whisky, and in 1506 the municipality of Dundee bought a lot of it from the Guild of Barber-Surgeons, who had a monopoly on manufacture at the time.
After the Acts of Union joined England and Scotland in 1707, taxes on distilled spirits skyrocketed. Following parliament’s divisive malt tax of 1725, most distillation in Scotland was either closed down or forced underground. To dodge government excisemen or revenuers, Scotch whisky was secreted under altars, in coffins, and in any available location. Scottish distillers, using homemade stills, began distilling whiskey at night, when the smoke from the stills was obscured by the darkness. As a result, the drink became known as moonshine. It was once estimated that more than half of Scotland’s whisky output was illicit. During the American Revolution, whisky was utilized as cash; George Washington ran a big distillery at Mount Vernon. Given the distances and inadequate transportation network of colonial America, farmers frequently found it more convenient and economical to transform maize to whisky and bring it to market in that form. It was also a highly sought-after trade item, and when an additional excise tax was imposed on it in 1791, the Whiskey Rebellion erupted.
The drinking of Scotch whisky was introduced to India in the nineteenth century. The first distillery in India was built by Edward Dyer at Kasauli in the late 1820s. The operation was soon shifted to nearby Solan (close to the British summer capital Shimla), as there was an abundant supply of fresh spring water there. In 1823, the UK passed the Excise Act, legalizing the distillation (for a fee), and this put a practical end to the large-scale production of Scottish moonshine. Aeneas Coffey patented the Coffey still in 1831, enabling for cheaper and more efficient whisky production. Andrew Usher began making blended whiskey in 1850, combining conventional pot still whisky with that from the new Coffey still. Some Irish distillers, who preferred their old pot stills, dismissed the new distillation technology. Many Irish people claimed that the new substance was not whisky at all. The French brandy business was ravaged by the phylloxera bug in the 1880s, which destroyed much of the grape crop; as a result, whiskey became the principal beverage in many markets. All alcohol sales were prohibited in the United States during the Prohibition era, which lasted from 1920 to 1933. Whisky recommended by a doctor and sold through licensed pharmacies such as Walgreens is exempt from federal prohibition.
Enrico Chioccioli Altonna, Master Distiller, finally exposes the big idea that has been fiercely concealed within the walls of the distillery between the hills of Tuscany for years. Their first whiskey will come in Florence soon, along with the new urban distillery.
The phenomenon of urban distilleries has emerged in recent years as a response to the growing popularity of the artisan drinks and local production sectors. These and other causes all contributed to the rise of distilleries and urban cellars. True cultural hubs that foster customer proximity by emphasizing transparency in the production process and frequently letting visitors to follow each phase, from ingredient selection to distillation and aging. And it is in the city that Winestillerry, Chianti Classico’s first and only artisan distillery, has decided to open the new Whiskey distillery. Florence’s first, within a few minutes’ walk from the historic center.
Master distiller of Winestilleries Enrico Chioccioli Altodonna defines his whiskey as an ode to the city of Florence. “I was in Brooklyn in 2014 among the King’s County Distillery Allambicchi to distill Bourbon.” The whiskey was the product that inspired me to pursue a career in distilling and transform my life. “We are finally ready to bring the first Whisky Distillery in Florence to our hometown, exactly 10 years after that extraordinary experience.”
As with all of the Gaiole distillery’s endeavors, it is not simply a product, but a work ethic that aims to set the groundwork for the future of Tuscan whiskey. The connection with the territory and the world of wine (family heritage for the Altodonna snails) remains very strong: their whiskey in fact uses exclusively Casks that have previously contained wine and that are inextricably linked to the viticole tradition of Tuscany for elevation, aging, or finishing.