Famous quotes about Scottish whisky

We've picked out some of our favourite quotes about whisky, including ones from authors, former prime ministers, playwrights and movie stars.

Published 16th Mar 2016
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

Whisky has been the muse of many a writer, an escape for many a politician and the inspiration of many a film star.

There have been many discussions - written and spoken - about our national drink, sparking more than a few classic quotes, including our own favourite:

"Today's rain is tomorrow's whisky." 

Which we find to be a near on perfect way to make peace with the Scottish climate and sum up the dynamic opportunism that's a key part of the Scottish national spirit.

Here are a few more of our favourite quotes about Scottish whisky:

“The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learned to like it.” - War time prime minister, Winston Churchill, displaying his trademark wit. 

Picture: Flickr

Picture: Flickr

“A good gulp of hot whisky at bedtime - it’s not very scientific, but it helps.” - Alexander Fleming, the Scottish inventor of penicillin, offers his remedy for the common cold. 

“I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.” - Supposedly the last words of famous actor Humphrey Bogart.

Picture: Wikimedia

Picture: Wikimedia

"Set up another case bartender! The best thing for a case of nerves is a case of Scotch.” - Not just a bottle but a case, American comedian and writer W. C. Fields is our kind of man.

“Whisky, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then it’s time to drink.” - Japanese bestselling author, Haruki Murakami, beautifully describes whisky in his novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

“I like my whisky old and my women young.” - Swashbuckling movie star Errol Flynn, hits out with a typically roguish quip.  

Ardbeg reveal Spectacular Feis Ile whisky and Ardbeg Day theme for 2024
Picture: Flickr

Picture: Flickr

“Whisky nosers, as they called themselves, eschewed what they saw as the pretentiousness of wine vocabulary. While oenophiles resorted to recondite adjectives, whisky nosers spoke the language of everyday life, detecting hints of stale seaweed, or even diesel fuel.”
― Author Alexander McCall Smith, when writing on Edinburgh's top amateur sleuth, Isabel Dalhousie, in The Sunday Philosophy Club, describes what makes whisky so widely appealing.

“Whisky is liquid sunshine.” - Sounds about right, George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright.

“The light music of whiskey falling into a glass—an agreeable interlude.” - Though James Joyce was referring to Irish whiskey in his novel, Dubliners, we think this definitely applies to Scotch too.

"We borrowed golf from Scotland as we borrowed whisky. Not because it is Scottish, but because it is good." Horace Hutchinson, English amateur golfer who played in the late 19th century and early 20th century, shows appreciation for another Scottish export.

Writing of whisky in his Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1577, Raphael Holinshed observed that - “Being moderately taken it cutteth fleume, it lighteneth the mynd, it quickeneth the spirits, it cureth the hydropsie, it pounceth the stone, it repelleth gravel, it puffeth away ventositie, it kepyth and preserveth the eyes drom dazelying, the tongue from lispying, the teeth from chatterying, the throte from rattlying, the weasan from stieflying, the stomach from womblying, the harte from swellying, the bellie from wirtching, the guts from rumblying, the hands from shivering, the sinews from shrinkying, the veynes from crumplying, the bones from akying, the marrow from soakying, and truly it is a sovereign liquor if it be orderlie taken”.

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“The proper drinking of Scotch whisky is more than indulgence: it is a toast to civilization, a tribute to the continuity of culture, a manifesto of man’s determination to use the resources of nature to refresh mind and body and enjoy to the full the senses with which he has been endowed.” David Daiches was a Scottish literary historian and literary critic, scholar and writer, who clearly had a great understanding about whisky.

"There were years when I was a beer and tequila guy, then I got real fat. And then I found that you could actually go on a diet and drink scotch.

"Then I got hooked on scotch, and if you get hooked on scotch, then everything else just tastes wrong.” American comedian Ron White explains the serendipitous circumstances under which he discovered whisky. 

Igor Stravinsky, Russian pianist and composer, discusses his love of whisky - “My God, so much I like to drink Scotch that sometimes I think my name is Igor Stra-whisky.”

“Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky, and a dog to eat the rare steak.” - Johnny Carson,  Late Night host, gives his thoughts on what is best in life.

Douglas Laing launches Strathearn - their inaugural single malt whisky 
Picture: Wikimedia

Picture: Wikimedia

"Lord, give me coffee to change things I can change, and whisky to accept the ones I can not!" - Anonymous, though we pretty much attribute it to that pub board we saw that one time. 

The ‘Big Yin’, Billy Connolly, could provide over a hundred quotes by himself, but the following quote manages to capture the spirit (no pun intended) of Scotland’s Hogmanay celebrations, as well as the national fondness for whisky - not forgetting those sly attempts to sneak a drop of alcohol before we’re old enough to drink: “Now I don’t know if you remember the first time you ever tasted whisky and the tremendous shock to the nervous system it is. In Scotland this usually happens around the age of four - not because your parents give it to you but because there are these parties at New Year...”

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