Books

Scotch – Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart

Scotch

The Whisky of Scotland in Fact and Story

Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart

  • First published 1951
  • Reprinted 1952
  • New Edition 1959
  • Printed in Great Britain by Robert Cunningham and Sons Ltd, Longbank Works, Alva, Scotland

What they say

The Water of Life – such was the original Gaelic name for whisky, a succinct expression of the worship which the Highland spirit has always inspired, from those misty days when it was the coveted brew of mountain tribesmen, to its now acknowledged eminence, liquid gold, the tax-gatherer’s joy, “like magic in a pint bottle”.

The author, who has known Speyside from boyhood, tells his story of the whisky world with a wealth of knowledge and anecdote. Like many another of Highland blood, he mourns the eclipse of the great malt whiskies, and writes nostalgically of them and the men who created them with loving care beside the waters of Spey and Livet. Those early distillers were the founders of the present tradition of “Scotch”; earlier there had been a century, rich in legend, of struggle between the faithful henchmen of worm and cauldron, and the watchful “gaugers”.

The invention of the patent-still brought the potentialities of world dominion. The foundation of whisky’s empire were laid, and the expansion carried out, by men of colourful personality and formidable dynamism – John and Thomas Dewar, James Buchanan, Alexander and John Walker, John Haig. Sir Robert has many tales of these great figures.

To round off his “personal history”, he tells of the consolidation of the Distillers Company Ltd, of the fortunes of whisky during Prohibition, and of the state and condition of its empire in the abasements and upheavals of our times.

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