Posted 01 April 2021
There are 7,139 languages spoken in the world today, but fewer than a dozen off the beaten track number systems. The Oksapmin people of New Guinea use a base-27 number system - derived from more body parts than just their fingers and toes. The Welsh, for reasons that escape me, traditionally used a base-20 system, but added a twist, in that after 15 (pymtheg) each number beyond was represented as an addition. So, 1 on 15 = 16, or more complicatedly 1 on 15 on 20 = 36. Because, you know – reasons. Nevertheless, outside of these infrequent and often historic deviations, numbers are a universal language of our world. And in this same manner numbers and how we communicate about whisky is no different. Irrespective of location or language spoken, numbers, especially age statements are a commonly understood denominator that is often utilised (rightly or wrongly) to identify a whisky’s quality or perceived value.