How widespread where malt whiskies in 19th century America?
I would like to know that too. My impression is, not very. I just wrote an article in which I pooh pooh Fritz Maytag's contention that 100 percent malt rye whiskey would have been common or typical in the 18th century. Part of my reasoning is that every bourbon recipe we know about, including the one Mike V just found from 1800, calls for 10 to 15 percent malt and cooking the mash to complete the starch-to-sugar conversion. America doesn't have a tradition of all-malt brewing or all-malt whiskey-making, so I doubt it ever did.
For that matter, how old is all-malt distilling in Scotland, Ireland and Wales? Does it go back to the beginning or is it a relatively recent phenom?