You may have listed "some" Scottish distilleries, but you omitted "the
best". The Isle
of Islay, (Western Hebrides, Argyll) has 7
distilleries - Bowmore, Laphfoaig, Lagavulin, Bruichladdich,
Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, and Ardbeg.
The annual "Whiskey Festival" has started, and goes on to the end of next
There are parades, concerts, dances, tours, fishing tournaments
and much more. Its
a magnificent island, rich with history - a
couple of hundred Sinclairs,our branch emigrated from there in the
1840s. We'll be travelling there after the 2000 Gathering. You
could join us, and discover for yourself what the best really tastes
The pleasing feel of a proper glass of malt no ice a touch of water, my
favourite Glendronach, at the end of a day warmed by the hand the rich aroma
in your nostrils can take away the cares of the world.
Whisky is inextricably woven into Scotland's history, culture and
customs. Drunkenness is not. Distillation was known in the ancient Orient,
but true whisky is a purely Celtic contribution.
No one can say when Scotch Whisky was first distilled. The origins of
distilling are lost in the soup of pre history, distilling was attempted in
Asia as long ago as 800BC, and to have found its way to Europe via Egypt.
The Ancient Celts practised the art and had an expressive name for the
ardent liquid they produced - uisge beatha - the water of life. To the Celts
its power to revive tired bodies and failing spirits, to drive out chills
and rekindle hope was a veritable gift from God.
In 432 AD. Saint Patrick, a native of Scotland was sent to Wicklow to
spread Christianity and introduced distilling to the pagan Irish.
The earliest documented record of distilling in Scotland is in 1494AD,
when an entry in the Exchequer Rolls listed "Eight bolls of malt to Friar
John Cor wherewith to make aqua vitae" (water of life). This was sufficient
to produce almost 1500 bottles. Distilling must have been well-established.
Whisky was lauded for its medicinal qualities, it was decreed for the
conservation of health, the prolongation of life, and for the relief of
colic, palsy, smallpox and what ever else ailed you. Scots used whisky from
cradle to grave.
Whisky became an ingrained part of Scottish life - a reviver and
stimulant during the long, cold winters, and a feature of social life, a
welcome to be offered to guests upon arrival at their destinations.
The Duke of Gordon, on whose land some of the finest illicit whisky in
Scotland was being produced proposed in the House of Lords that the
Government should make it profitable to produce whisky legally.
In 1823 the Excise Act was passed, which sanctioned the distilling of
whisky in return for a licence fee of £10 and a set payment per gallon of
proof spirit. This legislation laid the foundations for the overtaxed Scotch
Whisky industry as of today. Scotland biggest foreign exchange earner.
In USA whisky 13.14 % of the spirit market with a Sterling value £283.72
In the European Community excluding UK 33.13% market share value
All Scots whisky (also spelt whiskey in American) is made from grain or
malt (sprouted grain), or from both, and water. All Scots distilleries have
access to spring water that passes up through granite or limestone.
Whisky-making begins when whole grain is steeped in water promoting
germination. Starches are converted to fermentable sugar by malt: For
Scotch, self-generated malt is produced by arresting germination of the
barley; for most other whiskeys, malt is added to the basic grain mixture.
(In the production of Scotch, the malted grain is dried at this juncture,
over peat fires from which the characteristic smoky flavour of finished
whiskey is developed. It is then lightly milled. Hot water is added to the
malted grains, and the resultant mash is stirred or shaken until the sugars
present are dissolved. Wort, a liquid is produced, then strained into
fermenting vessels; fermentation is then activated by the introduction of
yeast, which converts the sugars to alcohol and the mixture to a crude
whiskey, called wash, with a low alcohol content. The wash is distilled,
after distillation, the still-colourless whiskey is put in charred wooden
barrels and left to mature, mellow, develop colour, and purge itself of
The current distilleries of Scotland
Aberfeldy, Ardmore, Auchentoshan, Balblair, Banff, Ben Nevis. Bladnoch,
Brackla Brora, Bushmills(Highland whisky made in N Ireland), Clynelish,
Dallas Dhu, Dalmore, Dalwhinnie, Deanston, Edradou, Fettercairn, Glen
Deveron, Glen Garioch, Glen Mhor, Glen Ord, Glen Scotia, Glencadam,
Glendronach, Glenesk, Glenglassaugh, Glengoyne,
Glenkinchie, Glenlochy, Glenmorangie, Glenturret, Glenury Royal, Highland
Knockdhu/An Cnoc Ledaig/Tobermory, Littlemill, Lochranza, Lochside,
Millburn, North Port,
Oban, Pulteney, Rosebank, Royal Lochnagar, Scapa, Springbank, St.
Magdalene, Talisker, Teaninich, Tomatin, Tullibardine
Ref: The Original Scotch. Michael Brander [Hutchinson, London 1974: ISBN
0 09 120720 7]
HM Customs & Excise Export Statistics 1998 HMSO London
Encarta 98 Encylopedia 1998 edition