Tuesday, April 10, 2012


A few years ago one of my buddies loaned me a copy of How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The true story of how western Europe's poorest nation created our world & everything in it   by Arthur Herman.

I had been talking up Thomas Calhill's How The Irish Saved Civilization and Scott said yea, perhaps in the  Dark Ages, but the Scots gave us modern civilization. Herman argues that the Scots transformed the world, establishing the capitalist democratic system that we know today. He uses the work of  Walter Scott, John Stuart Mill and of course, Adam Smith to prove his point. To add to this he credits Scottish industriousness, self-reliance and common sense for the success of American commerce via folks like Francis Scott Key and Andrew Carnegie.

Scotland covets  the term "Scotch". For a whisky to be labelled Scotch it has to be produced in Scotland.  Excellent whiskies are made by similar methods in other countries, but they cannot be called Scotches.

The Scots claim that no other whisky can reproduce the tastes of Scotland. Now the Scots are pushing the envelope even further by taking Scotch to another level, going where no other whisky maker has gone before. The Ardbeg Distillery on Islay is maturing a new malt on the International Space Station. The experiment was unveiled at the Edinburgh International Science Festival today.

The ingredients, charred oak and the unmatured malt, were lifted to space last fall where they will remain for the next two years.

The zero gravity experiment might expand the flavor spectrum going boldly where no Scotch has ever gone before.

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