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The English word Whisky comes from the Gaelic usquaebach, which means water of life. Whisky has existed for many years, dating back to at least the 12th century when it was distilled by monks on the British Isles. After Henry VIII abolished the monasteries in the 16th century, the monks were forced out into the general public and for the first time whisky began to be made secularly. In 1725 the English imposed a Malt Tax and many distilleries closed. Many other whisky makers fled into remote areas of Scotland and Ireland where they continued distilling illegally and tax free.
After years of making “Moonshine” (Scottish distillers worked mostly at night with only the moon to light their work) the British parliament finally legalized distillation in 1823 and whisky production began in earnest.
Whisky was still struggling to compete on the world stage against brandy, cognac and other eau-de-vies until the 1880’s when the phylloxera bug devastated crops of grapes in France that prevented the production of brandy. The world turned to barley based whisky to satisfy their thirsts and whisky became the drink of choice worldwide.
Today, whisky or whiskey is produced throughout the world under many different sub-categories such as Scotch, Bourbon, Irish Whiskey, Rye and many others.
The Burgundy Lion has the largest whisky collection in Québec and we are continually supplementing our collection with any and all whisky we can get our hands on. We welcome everyone to discover the wonderful world of whisky by choosing from our 300+ whiskies. If you’re a novice please feel free to ask the staff for advice on finding you the whisky that will most suit your particular tastes.
Cheers! Santé! Slainte! Kampai!