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The origins

The Origins

Legal distillation of whisky is rather recent. Official start date of production of legal whisky in Scotland is the promulgation of the "Excise Act" by the Duke of Gordon in 1823. But of course, Scotland did not wait till then to produce their national drink.

History of distillation begins in the ancient Egypt. This technique was used mainly for the production of perfumes.

First traces of distilled barley go back to the XIIth century. In those times, whisky was not considered as a pleasure like nowadays, but people thought it was a marvelous medicine, helping to heal all kinds of diseases. It was used as an ointment and as well as a drink.

The famous historian and chronicler Raphaël Holinshed wrote the following about the results of distillation of malted barley in his "Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland" in the XVIth century:

"Being moderately taken,
it slows the age,
it cuts phlegm,
it lightens the mind,
it quickens the spirit,
it cures the dropsy,
it heals the strangulation,
it pounces the stone,
its repels gravel,
it pulls away ventositie,
it keeps and preserves the head from whirling,
the eyes from dazzling,
the tongue from lisping,
the mouth from snuffling,
the teeth from chattering,
the throat from rattling,
the weasan from stiffing,
the stomach from womblying,
the heart from swelling,
the belly from wincing,
the guts from rumbling,
the hands from shivering,
the sinews from shrinking,
the veins from crumpling,
the bones from aching,
the marrow from soaking,
and truly it is a sovereign liquor
if it be orderly taken."

Origin of the name "Whisky"

The name of the "water of life" produced in Scotland and Ireland comes from the Celtic, which has been official languages for ages. Before bearing the name of "whisky" (or whiskey if it is produced in Ireland or in the United States), the drink was called "Uisge Beata", which means "Water of Life" in Celtic. The name evolved to become Usquebaugh, then Uisge and finally Whisky.

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