Today in Catholic History – The First Recorded Batch of Scotch Whisky

On 1 June 1494, Monk John Cor of Lindores Abbey recorded the first known reference to Scotch Whisky – “To Friar John Cor, by order of the King, eight bolls of malt wherewith to make aqua vitae .” “Aqua Vitae” or “Water of Life” was the name given to the local spirit. In Gaelic “aqua vitae” was “usquebaugh” which later became “uksy” and then “whisky”. Historians believe that “aqua vitae” was a term used by Saint Patrick both to refer to baptism as well as alcoholic spirits.

A boll was an old Scottish measurement about six bushels or 56 pounds. The amount of malt mentioned would be enough to make 1,500 bottles of whisky.

It was common for Benedictine monasteries to distill spirits which were seen as beneficial for health. For example, Benedictines in France were producing such spirits as Chartreuse. It was believed that whisky was an effective treatment for colic, palsy and small pox.

The Lindores Abbey was destroyed by the supporters of John Knox in 1559. But today special bottles of Scotch Whisky are being sold to raise funds to preserve the remains of the site.

Benedictine Abbey of Lindores
The History of Whisky


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