10 Fun Whiskey Facts To Shake Up Your Knowledge

Want to know ‘can whiskey freeze’ for your next table quiz? Maybe you’ve always heard whiskey is good for a cough but need confirmation? If you’re after those fun facts about whiskey, you’ll find them here. It’s time to get to know your myths from your reality and the whiskey history behind whiskey production. So, let’s get into it.

1. For every one man in Cork, there’s four aging barrels of whiskey

Now this may surprise you, but there’s a simple answer—the Midleton Distillery. With over 400,000 people in Cork, and over 200,000 men1, that means that there are 800,000 barrels of whiskey aging somewhere in the region… hard to believe, isn’t it? At any one time, there are more than 1.4 million barrels of whiskey going through the maturation process in Midleton Distillery. These barrels of oak line the walls until they’re ready to be sampled, bottled and shared. If you want to get an appreciation for all it takes to bring whiskey from a spirit, through the whiskey aging process and beyond, why not take a tour of the Midleton Distillery? You can book it here.




2. Whiskey must mature for at least three years to earn the title ‘Irish Whiskey’


To be labelled an Irish Whiskey, barrels of the spirit must be spend a minimum of three years maturing on the island of Ireland. This law was established in 1969, having previously been set to five years in the 1920s3 after the initial prohibit era law of two years. Yes, it’s a complicated one, but all you need to know is that the law initially sought to kill the whiskey trade, but we’d argue that after some initial concerns, it made Irish Whiskey what it is today. Need to see the proof in the pudding to put some reality to this fun whiskey fact? This is how Jameson Irish Whiskey is made.


3. Whiskey freezes, but the temperature varies


Like any alcohol, whiskey has a lower freezing point than water. While it makes sense that different liquors would have different freezing points, different whiskeys do too. The point at which whiskey freezes depends on the alcohol content—for a whiskey between 40 and 50 percent ABV, the point of freezing will be around the -25 to -32 degrees Celsius mark, while a cask strength variety would take even more freezing power. While you might be tempted to see ‘will whiskey freeze and if so what happens’, decide wisely, lowering the temperature of whiskey beyond a certain point wreaks havoc with the flavour… and you wouldn’t want that.


4. Whiskey has special healing powers


Wondering will whiskey help a sore throat? A dram of whiskey, cloves, honey or sugar and a dash of lemon is everything you need to ward off the sniffles and get a good night’s sleep. While a whiskey on the rocks might be the perfect way to cheers to a summer evening, you can always have a dash of Irish Whiskey for cold weather and sniffly symptoms. If you’re feeling a tickle in your throat, this Hot Toddy recipe will have you back to normal in no time.


5. Whiskey got its name from the Irish language


If you’ve met whiskey enthusiasts before, you know that they owe the origin of the word ‘whiskey’ to Ireland. Originally derived from the Gaeilge ‘uisce beatha’ meaning ‘water of life’, as those who created it were very fond of the liquid. For those of you who are eagle-eyed and have noticed a different spelling variation, ‘whisky’, this can be attributed to the spirit from Scotland. While it originally stems from a difference in translated spelling, back in the 1800s Scottish whisky was of poor quality, so the Irish did all they could to distance themselves from it5. The more you know, eh?


6. Irish Whiskey was one of the earliest distilled drinks in Europe


You may know that whiskey distilleries have been active in Ireland for hundreds of years, but did you know that not only was Ireland on of the world’s biggest whiskey regions, it was one of the earliest distilled drinks in Europe as the monks returned home from the Mediterranean with the art in the 1200s6. While Irish Whiskey holds that title, Jameson Irish Whiskey holds a special one of its own—John Jameson was the first to find that triple distillation provided the perfect balance all the way back in 1780.


7. The first Irish Coffee was served in Shannon Airport


While whiskey cocktails have been created and crafted through the years and across the world, it was an Irishman Joe Sheridan, head chef in Foynes county Limerick, that invented and named the humble Irish Coffee. Back in the 1940s, a group of American passengers were tired and weary after a long trip so Joe Sheridan came to their rescue with the perfect mix—coffee and Irish Whiskey. Having tasted the creation in Shannon Airport, travel writer Stanton Delaplane took the Irish Coffee to the US, and the rest is history.


8. The Bow Street Distillery was a radiator for locals in the 1900s


While Irish Whiskey provided many jobs to farmers and factory workers in the 1900s, it provided something extra special to locals—heat. The exterior distillery walls of John Jameson’s Bow Street radiated heat from the distilling process, attracting some locals who were down on their luck and found warmth by the walls.


9. Ireland was once called ‘Whiskey Island’


Ireland has had a long and well-renowned connection to whiskey culture and the production of quality serves, and while our reputation is strong now, it is a far cry from where it once was. Ireland was once home to hundreds of distilleries, earning it the nickname “Whiskey Island”. Unfortunately in the 20th century, due to political tensions and governmental mandates, many of these once thriving distilleries closed their doors for good. Since the 1990s, Irish Whiskey has undergone a major resurgence having been the fastest growing spirit in the world with an annual growth of approximately 15-20% per annum.


10. Irish Whiskey isn’t all made the same, there are four types of Irish Whiskey


When you pick up a bottle or order a serve of Irish Whiskey, you’d think it’s just the brand name that would be different… but really, there are four types of Irish Whiskey—Single Malt, Single Grain, Blended and Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey (which some may know as a form of mash bill). These differences can be subtle or significant, and they’re known for impacting the tasting notes, but there’s a bit of explaining to do with them, so we’d recommend taking a look at this article which explains the four types of Irish Whiskey and you’ll have even know knowledge under your belt.

Now, did you know all of these or is there something you can take away? We’re big fans of learning something new every day and we raise a glass of Jameson Irish Whiskey to you, someone who is cut from the same cloth. It’s time to take that sip and smirk, knowing that your enjoyment is now infused with a dash of wisdom.