Europe – A “New World” Of Whisky?

Europe is an old continent when it comes to history and also the art of distilling. Each country seems to have their own version of “aqua vitae” from the dill and caraway spiced akvavit in Scandinavia, to various fruit brandies in France and vodka in Poland.

When someone says whisky it is easy to immediately think of Scotch or Irish whiskey, but nowadays there’s a growing amount of distilleries in almost every European country. Besides Scotland and Ireland, whisky production could be considered a more recent addition to the spirit scene in the modern day and it isn’t surprising that many have looked to primarily Scotland for inspiration and guidelines. Most will mature their spirit for at least three years before calling it whisky and you will also find that many European distilleries also spell “whisky” without the e for this reason. Unless you are a German distillery in the area of Hessen where it is known as “whessky,”,as a play on the combination of both words.  When talking about European whisky, not including Scotch and Irish, it could be categorised as “New World” whisky, borrowing the term from the wine industry, meaning it is produced in countries that have started out by borrowing the techniques or traditions from other countries where it was first produced. But the European distilleries don’t just copy how whisky is made in Scotland – they also provide their own innovative techniques and ideas. In 2011 the Swedish distillery Mackmyra introduced their gravity distillery that would use the force of gravity throughout the whisky production whilst Scotland is currently awaiting the construction of its first gravity-led distillery at the Edinburgh based Port of Leith distillery.

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