Sample Text from Bearshead Insider's Guide to Single Malt Scotch Whisky,
Chapter 3, The History of Scotch Whisky, Page 21:

LICENSE TO DISTILL

The “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 brought this bloody chapter to an end: James II fled to France and was succeeded by his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband and co-regent William of Orange. Needless to say, the next bloody chapter began almost immediately!

The Highlands were still largely Catholic and loyal to James II, so his supporters, the Jacobites, started to rebel in 1689 with several skirmishes, the most notable of which, for our purposes, was the burning of the Ferintosh Distillery on the Black Isle.

Loyalist and Protestant Duncan Forbes of Culloden had been distilling on his rich farmlands for some time, but after the destruction of his distillery he was granted the first license to distill in Scotland in 1690. As reward for his loyalty and compensation for the loss of the old Ferintosh, he was exempted from paying any duty.

Not surprisingly this led to the new Ferintosh selling more whisky than the rest of Scotland put together - 90,000 gallons per year - a situation that persisted until 1784 when the Government bought back the right to levy duty for £22,500, a tragedy for the drinkers of the day memorialized by Robert Burns:

“Thee, Ferintosh! O sadly lost!
Scotland lament frae coast to coast...
For loyal Forbes’ chartered boast is taen awa!”

There is of course a delicious irony here: The old distillery was destroyed because its proprietor was loyal to the Crown. His compensation made him incredibly rich at the expense of the Crown and from the very people who had attacked him in the first place!

Duncan Forbes' son, also Duncan, inherited Ferintosh and Culloden House. Although he was living very well on his duty free whisky sales he still felt the need to protect his income by discouraging ALL other beverages. He used his position as Lord President (Attorney General) to lobby “with fierce diatribes” against TEA- even going so far as trying to have it banned by Parliament!

Lord President Duncan’s alcohol consumption was legendary, but typical of the era: at his mother’s funeral he and his brother were so drunk “that they allowed the funeral procession to start, leaving corpse and coffin behind.” All of which makes one wonder about the laws passed forbidding distilling for anyone but the aristocracy.

Copyright 2015, James Forbes & Bearshead Productions.

Sample Video from Bearshead Insider's Guide to Single Malt Scotch Whisky,
Chapter 4, The Details, Page 65:

 

 

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