To really impress your spirit-imbibing friends and family members, you must know a thing or two about whiskey. It’s an easy way to skyrocket your dapper points. When you casually drop a line like, “There’s a smooth, floral finish, with a slight hint of toffee,” it just makes you that much more mysterious. So let’s see how much you know about whiskey—and then check how you rate on the Man Crates Whiskey Whiz scale.
QUESTION #1: WHAT DOES WHISKEY LOOSELY TRANSLATE TO IN GAELIC?
ANSWER: A tough one right out of the gate. We’re not just handing out easy A’s here. The word “whisky” derives from the Gaelic (a branch of Celtic spoken in the highlands and islands of western Scotland) “uisge beatha” or “usquebaugh” and means “water of life.” That’s right. Believe it or the Scots will fight you.
BONUS POINTS: The next time you’re out, ask your bartender for the water of life. If he says, “Coming right up!” you tip your hat to that good sir and nod your head with gusto. Bartender bonding is only one side effect of this most fascinating knowledge you now possess.
QUESTION #2: WHAT IS ONE HEALTH BENEFIT OF DRINKING WHISKEY?
ANSWER: The judges will accept several responses here. Whiskey is not a spirit for the faint of heart, but it DOES increase heart health. Bet you didn’t see that one coming. It also aids in weight loss, prevents and manages diabetes, eliminates blood clots, slows down the onset of dementia, fights cancer, and strengthens the immune system.
Its saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and carbohydrates levels are extraordinarily low—mostly because there’s not much to it other than a mega amount of alcohol—and it’s rich in ellagic acid, a power antioxidant. When enjoyed responsibly, it also turns you into Batman.
QUESTION #3: WHICH HISTORICAL FIGURE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR TAXING WHISKEY IN 1791?
(HINT: There might be a popular play about this guy in theaters now.)
ANSWER: Good old Alexander Hamilton decided to tax whiskey in 1791—and the Scots and Irish weren’t having it. They resented the tax because whiskey was an important economic commodity to them, so they began an uprising in multiple Pennsylvania counties. You really can’t blame them though. Who taxes the water of life? Rioting erupted in 1794 and though George Washington sent troops to put the kibosh on those riots, Hamilton’s tax was repealed 8 years later in 1802. Nice try, Alex. Maybe a personalized whiskey crate would have chilled you out a little bit.
The point of this little history lesson is to say that whiskey has a history of sheer badassery attached to it and now that you know it, you do too.
QUESTION #4: TO GET A FULL SENSE OF A WHISKEY’S FLAVOR, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO BEFORE TASTING IT?
ANSWER: It’s best to drink in the aroma with your nose first. Say, what? Stay with me. Flavor is a combination of senses, and for flavors that err on the side of complexity, your sniffer is a major part of the tasting process. Before you even let it hit your lips, stick your nose in the glass and breathe deep. Your nose informs your palate, so sniff more than once, as the first whiff will mostly be alcoholic. By the second and third, you’ll start picking up on the real deal flavors.
QUESTION #5: WHAT TYPE OF WOODEN BARREL IS MOST COMMONLY USED TO AGE WHISKEY?
ANSWER: Whiskey is always aged in wooden barrels, the most common of which is oak. The classic flavors that typically show themselves first in oak-aged whiskey are toffee, caramel and vanilla. Take a small sip, roll it around in your mouth, and before swallowing, pick out the various flavors.
HOW’D YOU DO?
If you weren’t already a raging whiskey fan, cheers to you for this being the start of your wild love affair. Now, let’s see where you rate on the Man Crates Whiskey Whiz scale…
5 Correct – You’re a Whiskey Connoisseur. We’re not worthy!
4 Correct – You’re a Whiskey Appreciator. You really know your stuff.
3 Correct – You’re a Whiskey Lover. You deserve your own personalized rocks glasses.
2 Correct – You’re a Casual Fan. Won’t take much to get you to “Lover” status.
1 Correct – You’re a New Sipper. We applaud your effort. Keep tasting.
0 Correct – You’re a Novice. No worries, just read up on more whiskey facts.
Remember, if feel like you’re a little late to the whiskey game, you’re not alone. At the tender age of 6, Jack Daniels ran away and learned to make whiskey from a Lutheran minister. Badass.