Keep it Firkin simple
The Editor was adamant, keep it short and simple. "No waffling. Do you hear me? I know what you’re like. And definitely no flowery language. I don’t want tasting notes sounding like a perfumer’s convention… it smells like a black hyacinth as it gleefully plays across the tongue.”
“Keep it Firkin simple!”
“Yes, ma'am… I’ll keep it simple” I wrote back with my fingers firmly crossed.
So keep it simple I will.
The Short History of Distilling
So here we go: The short History of Distilling and the creation of that wonderful elixir in one, two, or simply a few sentences.
The Chinese discovered the art of distilling. But, in their quest for Mandarin nirvana (as they all wanted to be highly thought of bureaucrats) they passed the idea off as a bad joke and sold it to the Arabs.
Preparing the ingredients while distilling 'baiju', the traditional Chinese spirit
The Arabs adored it: what beautiful perfume it created. The Europeans purloined it via the Spanish and found that drinking the elixir gave them a much more pleasing effect than dabbing it on their necks. The Irish perfected it and passed it over to the Scots, or was it the other way round... either way we get to enjoy both types of whisky.
An early drawing of an (easily recognisable) still from an Arabic text
The Scots instantly took a shine to it and promptly invaded England. The Poms took offence at the Scots and their vile liquor and swiftly invented soda water to water it down. And then, even more promptly, invaded the world.
Have archaeologists discovered Friar Cor’s whisky still at Lindores Abbey?
So there you have it. A short history of the world, how distilling was discovered and how it ended up… here endeth the Firkin lesson. If you'd like to read more, you might enjoy this article about the coolest monk in history: Friar John Cor.
Another tale from the Firkin Founder Mike Collings and Graham Wright of the Odd Whisky Coy.