In the Gaelic language, the tongue of the native Highland Scot, Scotch whisky is known as uisgebeatha, which means “the water of life.”
The original Scots, a Celtic race, came across the North Channel of the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland to settle the mainland of northern Britain. Between A.D. 500 and 843 they slowly integrated with the Picts and various other indigenous tribes.

The practice of distillation is said to have been introduced in Scotland by St. Columba and his followers, who brought Christianity to the Hebridean island of Iona in A.D. 563. These monks and friars came over from Ireland, where it is claimed that St. Patrick had introduced the practice of distillation more than one hundred years earlier.
Distillation had been practiced by the church from earliest times although, as was the case in mainland Europe, it was used largely to produce brandy from wine and mead from fermented honey. Once it was discovered that barley would ferment to produce ale, it was a natural progression to move on to distillation. The production of whisky from malted barley most likely started around the eleventh or twelfth century, by which time both the Scots and the Irish had become rather skilled in distillation.

Scotch whisky has come a long way since the early Christian missionaries began to distill uisgebeatha in their monasteries and distribute it around the Highlands of Scotland. Today its distillation has developed into a world- wide industry, with the single-malts and blended whiskies produced in Scotland traveling to the far corners of the earth.
Scotch whisky is Scotland’s largest net export earner, and it accounts for 80 percent by value of all exports of alcoholic drinks from the United Kingdom.
Approximately 70 million cases of Scotch are distributed annually throughout the United Kingdom and international markets, and the demand is growing steadily as Asian, African, and Eastern European markets become aware of the pleasure of Scotch whisky.


Pot stills like this have been used for hundreds of years and are still the main way scotch is distilled.

Read about the Crafting of Glenfiddich
Spirit safes, used to sample the run are locked up at all times and only opened in the presence of a revenue or customs officer.

Next Page>   More!

Home • Genealogy • PhotosE-mail MikePowered by FFG