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Why did the Queen use whisky instead of champagne to launch her new warship?

Stashed in: Alcohol!, Europe, Royals!, Boats, Great Britain, Whisky!

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This is only the second recorded use of whisky to launch or name a new vessel, according to the Royal Navy. Traditionally, champagne has been used to inaugurate new ships while home-brewed beer is spilled on submarines. In Admiral Nelson’s era, at the peak of British naval power, brandy or madeira was probably used, the Navy said. The first time whisky was used was at the launch of the HMS Sutherland in 1996—for the record, it was Macallan Single Highland Malt whisky.

The Queen used a bottle of Bowmore Surf from the 235-year-old Bowmore Distillery on the island of Islay because it was the first distillery she had ever visited in an official capacity back in 1980, the Navy said. More likely, however, the choice of a whisky had a wee bit more to do with politics and the upcoming Scottish referendum on independence in September.

The naming ceremony was held at the Rosyth dockyard in Scotland, and the British prime minister took the opportunity to affirm the value of the United Kingdom staying together, and of course of having expensive and over-budget British military projects as clients for Scottish industry. Six shipyards and more than 10,000 people at more than 100 companies across the UK were used to build the HMS Queen Elizabeth. “It’s a really exciting day for Scotland, a great day for the United Kingdom and a sign of things to come if our country stays together,” David Cameron said.

For the Queen, the issue doesn’t make too much of a difference. She will stay on as head of state even if Scotland gains independence.


*Note: Irish and American varieties of the liquor are referred to as “whiskey” while Scotch whisky is spelt without the “e.”

Fascinating! Should Scotland be independent?

To be young and Scottish this summer is to be swept up in the thrall of a once-in-a-lifetime choice: a September referendum that will determine whether Scotland sticks it out with the United Kingdom or jettisons a three-century-old partnership and goes it alone. The outcome holds vast repercussions for Britain and for the United States, which wants to keep its closest and strongest ally united.

With less than 100 days to go, opinion polls show that most Scots agree, even among the 16- and 17-year-olds who will be allowed to cast a ballot for the first time. But in the gothic streets of Edinburgh, it’s the pro-independence forces­ that seem to have the upper hand in energy and enthusiasm, a disparity that’s most apparent among youth.

In seeking break with London, young Scots take the lead via @washingtonpost

Sounds like the population is pretty evenly split on which outcome they want, actually.

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