The naming of whiskies is a difficult matter

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Whiskies are mostly named after either the distilleries where they were distilled or the company founder, be he Johnny Walker or Jack Daniels.

However, numerous whiskies are named after animals, which, frankly, does not always seem a good idea—yet Famous Grouse is a top seller, White Horse sells well, admittedly in foreign markets, and Wild Turkey is one of the best-selling bourbons. People will also fondly remember the Scots and Highland Terriers on the labels of Black and White, another rather forgotten whisky still selling well overseas.

However, some obscure whiskies from various countries have animal names that, frankly, would drive marketing chiefs to reach for the executive suite decanter. A German distillery, for instance, produces Blaue Maus (Blue Mouse) whisky as well as Gruener Hund (Green Dog). Maybe next year they’ll produce Purpure Katze (Purple Cat) to complete the line-up.

Belgium produces an interesting whisky called Belgian Owl in a distillery that obtained a lot of disused equipment from now-demolished Caperdonich at Rothes-on-Spey.

Three well-known Scotch whiskies have animal connotations, namely Sheep Dip, Pig’s Nose and Monkey Shoulder—although that William Grant blended malt is actually named after the affliction that in the past gave some distillery workers an asymmetrical appearance after years of hard toil on the malt floor.

Numerous whiskies are named after birds. A Scotch whisky sold in Kazakhstan rejoices in the name Noble Eagle. A well-known bourbon is Old Crow, another is called Eagle Rare, there is an Australian whisky called Lark and an Irish one called The Wild Geese—although it is not named after the birds, but the Catholic nobles of Ireland (and other parts of these islands) who had to flee abroad after King James II (or James VII of Scotland) was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690.

Two whiskies from the Czech Republic have curious names, namely Gold Cock and Hammerhead, although, going by its label, the latter doesn’t seem to be named after the shark species.

Finally there is a pot-still whisky distilled in a 2005-opened distillery in Madison, North Carolina, called Catdaddy. It sounds like an over-the-top rapper, but in bygone times Catdaddy was local vernacular for really good moonshine. Anyway, it sounds a lot better than Purple Pussy.

 

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