Whiskered Monks and the Origins of Scotch Whisky

Jun 1st 2016

Whiskered Monks and the Origins of Scotch Whisky

Once upon a time in the twelfth century there live a monk by the name of Bernard. He lived in a place called Thiron in France, and I guess he got so sick of dealing with people that he founded an order of monks who live like hermit. But somewhere along the way, one of their number hit upon something special --something that might make it easier to deal with the world -- and gave a gift to the world: Scotch Whisky.

But first, a little bit about the founder of the order: Bernard of Thiron. Surviving artistic depictions show him with a mighty fine beard, and in fact, the other monks of his order were so convinced of the awesome powers of his beard that they kept its hairs as a magical healing agent. 

They even say that when he died, his beard gave off a pleasant smell. And as further proof of his beardedness, here he is in stained glass with the beard that won first place at the Renaissance Games seven years running. He's also holding a little church in his hand, which seems kind of weird, but we think its the trophy for best beard.

So back to the gift:Scotch whisky. It's a pretty good bet his followers were bearded as well, and while there's no evidence they put his miraculous healing beard hair in the mix, it's certain they had some pretty fragrant beards once they were were done with a few glasses of their perfect creation.

On this day. June 1, in 1495 one of Bernard's monks, a distiller named John Cor, apparently created the first batch of Scotch by order of the king.

Is it just a coincidence that the clean-shaven James IV of Scotland grew a mustache, and then his son, James V, and great nephew, James VI (later James I of England), were always shown with beards? Or was it the Scotch that brought it out in them?

So pour yourself one today and say happy birthday to Scotch: brought to you by (and helping revive?) bearded guys. And when your own beard is soaked in whisky,  we've got just the thing to get it nice and clean again.