This week marks the 525th anniversary of the development of Scot’s whiskey. Although we are not certain of the exact date, it was this week that commemorates the written evidence of its existence. I published this post last year, but I think some of you may have missed it. Here it is again.
The anniversary of the first written record of Scotch Whisky appears in Exchequer Rolls of Scotland in 1495, and Friar John Cor is the distiller. What is not recorded is how the folks at the time reacted to this new development. Just in case time travel becomes a reality, here is a list of Things Not to Do as you visit this new development. The hope is it will keep you out of trouble or, more importantly preventing you from causing a tear in the time continuum that might preclude the development of this beneficial elixir. (gasp) So if you are going, take this list and be careful. You will have the benefit of all humankind in your hands.
10 If you witness the mention of Scotch whiskey in 1495, do not ask for your portion on the rocks. If you do, at best, no one will understand you. At worst, your host will think you odd but will add some stones to your chalice. (Ignoring the fact that you don’t know where these rocks have been, Hido, you need to smile and drink your portion. Yeah, overlook those little floating bits at the top.)
9 If you witness the mention of Scotch whiskey in 1495, do not forget to tip Tiny the WWF champ who is an usher at Lindores Abbey in Fife. If you do, at best Tiny will make sure you miss the tasting by ten minutes. At worst, Tiny, who just finished losing his jousting match, will view your oversight as a vote for his opponent. (Now you have gone and done it, Hilton. Tiny is still trying to recover his self-esteem, and that piece of silver would have gone a long way. Might as well relax during the spinning body drop. It only hurts for a little while.)
8 If you witness the mention of Scotch whiskey in 1495, do not be confused by the description ‘aqua vitae VIII bolls of malt.’ and ask out loud, ‘where’s the Scotch whiskey?’ If you do, at best, everyone will be confused. At worst, the guards will take you to the tower for a few questions like, ‘How long have you practiced witchcraft?’ (Might be best to tell the guards you have the flu and were out of your head with fever, Hiram. That rack looks like it might be painful.)
7 If you witness the mention of Scotch whiskey in 1495, do not attempt to get on your horse to ride back to the inn after you’ve sampled a few flagons of Brother John Cor’s invention. If you do, at best, you’ll realize it is not the thing to do. At worst, you and your horse will eventually be pulled over by James IV’s guards and booked into the dungeon. (Apparently, there is a law against riding under the influence (RUI), Holland. Now you are going to have a permanent record on file.)
6 If you witness the mention of Scotch whiskey in 1495, do not ask for chips and salsa to go with your portion. If you do, at best, you’ll get a joint of mutton. At worst, the king’s chef will demand to know how to make this chips and salsa thingy you requested. (Looks like this guy is a relative of Tiny the way he keeps swinging that butcher knife around, Holman. You know how to make it right? If not, you know how to run, don’t you?)
5 If you witness the mention of Scotch whiskey in 1495, do not volunteer when Brother John Cor talks about a smoke. If you do, at best you’ll have helpers to fetch the peet. At worst, everyone else knows John Cor is not talking about a doobie but needs more peet to fire up his malting operation. (That peet operation is dirty and sweaty, Homayoun. You gotta dig bricks of it and carry it five miles to the abbey. You want to avoid this if at all possible. Of course, now it is too late. Better hit the time machine and disappear.)
4 If you witness the mention of Scotch whiskey in 1495, do not ask for a jug to go. If you do, at best John Cor will think you are joking. At worst, he will try to find something to house the scotch. (Sadly, all he can find is an earthen pot that was used to feed the dog, Honon. Your first sip at home will let you know that the dog’s primary food source was whatever the humans didn’t want. Your scotch now has the essence of hog entrail with a finish of fish head.)
3 If you witness the mention of Scotch whiskey in 1495, do not suggest putting the whiskey aside for twelve years. If you do, at best, all the king’s men will laugh you off the island. At worst, John Cor will. take your suggestion, and there will be no scotch before it’s time. (Your only worry now, Hormheb is how to avoid ten thousand archers, lancers, swordsmen, catapult operators, and knights for the next twelve years. Yeah, I didn’t think you wanted to try. Hit the way back machine.)
2 If you witness the mention of Scotch whiskey in 1495, do not try to explain soda to John Cor. If you do, at best, he will be confused. At worst, he will be offended that you think his product needs enhancement. (You can stop singing the song ‘Scotch and soda, mud in your eye, baby do I feel high, oh, me oh, my,’ Hosea. John is still not going to unlock that dungeon door.)
1 If you witness the mention of Scotch whiskey in 1495, do not put on a tartan kilt without knowing its history. If you do, at best, no one in the abbey is at war with the clan represented by what you are wearing. At worst, you picked the tartan of the most aggressive clan on the island. (You have two choices, Houman. Either pick up that broad sword and start defending yourself or drop the kilt and try to convince those advancing Scots that you were just joking. Maybe the fact that you don’t wear underwear under a kilt will underscore your claim of a joke.)