Posted 07 October 2019
In most countries, the law stipulates that whisk(e)y must be bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 40% ABV. This somewhat arbitrary figure came around due to a combination of political imperatives, wartime necessities and of course the old chestnut of taxation. It’s interesting to read about the historical changes in alcoholic strength (previous determined as ‘proof’), especially during the time of the First World War, when distilleries were licensed by the Ministry of Munitions. At one point, the alcoholic volume permitted dropped as low as 50 degrees under proof (28.6%) for whisky sold within munitions areas – no one likes a booze-based explosion. Similarly, at that time, a number of distilleries and munitions depots shared sited together – with a selection of distillation by-products utilised to support the war effort.