Blame marketing types—and lazy journalists—for a whopper that rewrites history. At Scotchwhisky.com, Iain Russell busts the myth that single malts couldn’t be had outside Scotland until the 1960s.
As early as the 1820s, the Scots were deep into pot-still-made single malts, ideally from the Highlands. When rich Brits developed a thirst for the stuff, it wasn’t long before Queen Victoria and her relatives started stocking up. During the 19th century, what was known as the “real mountain dew” (wait—what?) carved out a profitable niche for itself in England.
Why Bill Smith Grant is the man
But thanks to changing tastes and a 1909 court decision that let blends call themselves Scotches, single malts hit the skids, Russell recounts. Only The Glenlivet’s Bill Smith Grant kept ponying up to promote them. That paid off as Grant (above left) built a U.S. business—and the world fell in love with single malts in the late 1950s. The rest is, well, history.