Magic and myth of whisky

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Jura-low-res-03_10_12 SUPPLIED There exists an agglomeration of strange and mysterious tales about the Isle of Jura, the most common being in relation to the Ankh cross that appears on bottles from the region.

Get your ticket to the FNB Whisky Live Festival 2012 in Durban and Johannesburg, and you could uncover some secrets and myths about your favourite whisky brands.

The Keepers of the Quaich

The Keepers of the Quaich is an exclusive non-profit society. One can only become a Keeper of the Quaich by invitation, and membership is reserved for people with a positive record of association with Scotch whisky. The society, established in 1988, by the major companies in the industry to build on the heritage and quality of Scotch whisky, includes leading representatives of the Scotch whisky industry, and those who have contributed to the successful marketing of Scotch whisky across the world. Members of this elite society have one fundamental trait in common: a love of Scotland and Scotch whisky.

Karen Chaloner and Sian Neubert co-founders of the Whisky Live Festival are two of the women to be recognised as Keepers of the Quaich because of their industry contribution and association with Scotch whisky.

The Ankh superstition

There exists an agglomeration of strange and mysterious tales about the Isle of Jura, the most common being in relation to the Ankh cross that appears on bottles from the region. This ancient symbol dates back to Egyptian times and has long been rumoured to bring good fortune. It is said that when pouring the Jura whisky, it must be done in the correct manner, by holding the bottle with the Ankh cross positioned in the centre of your palm.

Thirst for Whisky Spell

An ancient spell exists where a potential conjurer can make you really thirsty by putting a bottle of whisky under your porch, leaving it there for three weeks, and then throwing the bottle into a fire. This apparently leads to an insatiable thirst for whisky.

Jack's Lucky No 7

One of Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel's biggest mysteries is why he gave his product the name - Old No. 7. The official historian at the Jack Daniels Distillery today says it's the most asked question on factory tours. Over the years there have been many theories. Jack had seven girlfriends, or he believed that the number seven was lucky. Jack had honoured a merchant friend who owned seven stores that distributed his liquor. Jack had apparently misplaced a batch of whisky for seven years and, upon finding it, labelled it “Old No. 7.”

None of these stories, however, makes as much sense as the less-than-sexy explanation from Jack Daniel biographer Peter Krass. Simply put, Jack was originally assigned a district tax assessment number of 7. However, the IRS consolidated districts within Tennessee and arbitrarily assigned him the number 16. Jack didn't want to confuse his loyal consumers and he certainly didn't want to conform to the Government, so he began labelling his bottles “Old No. 7.”

More than 125 years later, this act of defiance still makes his label stand out.

The hairdresser’s drink of choice

Whisky or whiskey is known as “Usque Baugh” in Scotland and “Uisce Beatha” in Ireland. In both languages the name translates as “Water of Life”. Whisky was historically made in monasteries, and chiefly used for medicinal purposes, being prescribed for the preservation of health, and as a general cure-all elixir. The spirit's perceived medicinal benefits were formally endorsed when, in Edinburgh in 1505, the Guild of Surgeon Barbers was granted a monopoly over the manufacture of “aqua vitae” or Water of Life, reflecting the practice of barbers undertaking minor medical procedures. Few people know that these surgeons were the earliest form of hairdressers. The red and white light outside the traditional barber shop today still stands as testament to the bandages and blood from these surgeons and pioneer whisky drinking hairdressers.

Angel’s share

Angels are believed to “steal” four percent of the whisky in a barrel every year. It's said that they want to ensure it's suitable before we drink it. The “Angel's share” or “Angel's tax” refers to the four percent of whisky that evaporates every year as it matures in the cask. Once you've bottled whisky, the angels can't touch it as it no longer evaporates.

FNB Whisky Live Festival Facts

Consumers can book their tickets to Durban and Johannesburg via www.whiskylivefestival.co.za and click on www.Webtickets.co.za

* Please follow the festival on Twitter @WhiskyLiveSA and Facebook.com/FNBWhiskyLiveFestival

* To find out more about the festival as well as the various whisky workshops, visit the festival website - www.whiskylivefestival.co.za.

* The FNB Whisky Live Festival promotes responsible drinking. No persons under the age of 18 years old will be allowed into the Tasting Hall. Designated driver tickets are available with discounted food vouchers and a bottle of Valpré mineral water included in the ticket price. Various chauffeur drive services and drive responsibly initiatives will be on hand to ensure that everyone in your party is able to have a good time and a safe journey home. Part of the ticket proceeds will continue to be donated to The Foundation for Alcohol Related Research.

The FNB Whisky Live Festival 2012

DURBAN

Thursday, 1st November to Friday, 2nd November 2012

Durban International Convention Centre

18h00 - 22h00 Daily

JOHANNESBURG

Wednesday, 7th November to Friday, 9th November 2012

Sandton Convention Centre

18h00 - 22h00 Daily

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