Sunday, September 23, 2012

“What whisky will not cure, there is no cure for.”

What is whisky relative to other things? Where does it stand in its significance?

Perhaps one could make the argument that whisky does little justice to the more profound realization of the human condition. After all, what possible depth could be garnered from when a man looks deep into a woman's eyes and says: "Yes madam, I am drunk. But in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly." *(See quote below)  What merits do such events have in contrast to a long history of revelation and experience?

Distillation has been a technology that was passed around between the Babylonians, Greeks and Latins up until the 12th century where it was finally used to distill wine in Italy. Like all other drugs, alcohol's use was primarily medicinal as it was used to treat colic, palsy and small box. It was 100 years later that the Irish (from whom the proverb title of this post comes from) transferred the distillation process to the Scots. Because the islands had few grapes to make wine with, barley beer was used instead, resulting in the development of whisky.

In Scotland, the first evidence of whisky production comes from an entry in the Exchequer Rolls for 1494 where malt is sent "To Friar John Cor, by order of the king, to make aquavitae", enough to make about 500 bottles. Between 1536 and 1541, King Henry VIII of England dissolved the monasteries, sending their monks out into the general public. Whisky production moved out of a monastic setting and into personal homes and farms as newly independent monks needed to find a way to earn money for themselves.

And so, the history of whisky tell us that it carries powerful significance indeed. Beyond the words of *Theodore Roosevelt, the history of whisky is a history of great human beings. One cannot separate the wheat from the chaff in this regard. They are one and the same.

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