Uisge beatha, literally 'water of life' in the gaelic tongue, is for many the King of spirits. As sophisticated as the finest brandies and, in its different single malt guises, far more varied, it provides comfort, celebration and a good deal of employment in remote areas (hard to imagine the island of Islay, for example, where much of this segment was filmed still being so populous without its distilleries).
Furthermore, whisky is a symbol of Scotland all around the world. The massive brand image campaigns of the Johnny Walkers, Whyte and Mackays, and Chivas Regals of this world continue to ensure its popularity.
The process of distilling is itself thousands of years old, and it is thought that the ancient Celts drank whisky, granting it the name uisge beatha, the word uisge gradually evolving into the name we know today.
The whisky that Scots were drinking a few hundred years ago is quite different to the whisky enjoyed in Scotland today. The discovery that whisky mellows in taste with maturity was not made until the mid eighteenth century, and before that time the 'water of life' was rather more nasty than that to which we're now accustomed.
Actor David Hayman, who fronts this section of Made in Scotland, is intrigued to find, from master blender Robert Paterson, that, despite his preconceptions, the blended whiskies can be as smooth and silky as the single malts. He learns the history of whisky, the true colour of the water of life and the correct way to taste and the need to treat it like a lady. The actor also samples a 40-year-old whisky and discovers where casks come from.
Plus there is one fabulous trick that no whisky lover, or anyone else, should miss.
- To watch the programme in full visit here