A look at the connection between Jazz and whisky

By Mxolisi Mhlongo

Whisky and wine have always been typically associated with Jazz. This might be simply because of the agenda-setting theory by the media for advertising purposes. But we can’t really speculate because Jazz became popular in the 1920’s and whisky in 1494.

Jazz lovers always claim that Jazz was born in a whisky barrel but according to Dutch author Hans Offringa, he claims “The great clarinetist and bandleader Arty Shaw once wrote ‘Jazz was born in a whisky barrel’, and there are particular links between whisky and jazz. Both were crafted by people under the suppression of a neighboring majority that looked down on the craft as well as the craftsman’.

Offringa firmly believed whisky is a drink you should enjoy with all your senses. Your taste, your smell, your vision – enjoying the beautiful golden colour and the tears that run down the inside of the glass, the sound of the cork popping and the spirit pouring into the glass.

Actually some of the greatest songs that were ever written were about whisky. So why is whisky so special? We’ve gathered a few facts about this particular gentlemen’s drink.

Its name has meaning: Whisky in Gaelic reads ‘uisge beathe’, which means ‘water of life’.

2.     A single malt may see several casks: It’s a common misconception that single malt whisky is the product of one cask. In fact, it is the product of a single distillery and may actually come from several casks therein.

3.     it generates huge tax revenue: The export of whisky generates a healthy £125 a second for the Scottish government. Just under 38 bottles of whisky being exported from Scotland every second. Laid end-to-end, the 99 million cases of Scotch exported each year would run the distance between Edinburgh and New York – six times.

4.     It must come from Scotland: Scotch whisky can only be called Scotch whisky when it has been left for a minimum of three years to age in casks, in Scotland. Some casks hold whisky for considerably more time than this though.


KAYA FM reflects the lives of the predominantly black, urban listener between the ages 25 – 49 living in Gauteng. The station broadcasts both music and talk. KAYA FM 95.9 broadcasts in English on the FM frequency signal 95 (Dot) 9, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The current listenership stands at 462 000 per average day and 841 000 per average 7 days. The music format offers a diverse and soulful mix of adult contemporary music to smoother sounds like R&B, World Music and Soul and Jazz. Visit www.kayafm.co.za for more.