A burning issue has always been the origin of distilling alcohol and when whisky, or any other spirit, was first distilled on these isles. No doubt you have an opinion on this; would you give us the pleasure of sharing this opinion? Does the honour go to Ireland or Scotland? Or even Wales? And how long back in time can we go before solid facts turn into gossamer-thin myths?
Eagerly awaiting your insight,
O, Most Venerable One --
I hope with all sincerity that your aged bones and sinews have been rejuvenated by the benefit of restful sleep and a sweet drop of Heaven's Honey
I cannot pass up the opportunity to ask of you a three-pointed question:
1. Of all the distilleries you have witnessed reclaimed by nature, dismantled, or merely closed, which have caused you the greatest surprise?
2. Surely some of them showed great promise in their day (and your relative youth). (?)
3. Of those distilleries extant today, which seemed of old not worthy or likely of long life?
Sir Alfred, I await your comments with patience, and bid you Good Evening, with a Peaty Blessing for your Tired Soul
On the one hand you seem to expect me to be a historian, which I am not.
On the other, you seem to think I may have some philosopher's stone, through which I can predict the future from my own time.
Which was, of course then, but is also now.
I must desist. I leave history to scholars, and to those scribblers who profess to know everything, but in reality know nothing.
Who, I ask, draws the line between scholars and scribblers?
As for the future - how can I say what might be, or what might have been?
I am only a poor deceased scribe, an enthusiast for whisky, and I must confess whisky made in Scotland.
But beyond that Sirs, you ask too much.
I'm sure there are others in this virtual world of wraiths and where-to-fors who can answer your questions.
For me - ask me something more interesting, to stir my sleepy limbs from their wakeful never-ending night of day .....(etc. etc.)
Alfred Barnard (whisky writer - deceased)
You will pity the poor author, who write though he might, is spurned by those who fail to read closely what he has to say.
Like some faded canvas in a poorly lit gallery, only those who take the time to study the work will be fully rewarded by the revelation of what it contains.
Thus, to my woeful self-pity, has it been with my humble contribution to the lore of the art of distilling. So many readers, but so few who have read !
And the same I fear with young Aeneas MacDonald who's work of 1930, 'Whisky', I have recently obtained.
Is he one of your great new authors ? His work is sound, and certainly deserves a careful and close study, if anyone has the time to devote to it.
For my part, I will carry it to my grave !
Can you recall the name of the newest distillery you visited in 1887, whose high production volumes you found were achieved by excellent management and the 'rotational operation' of some 7 potstills in their still house?
Since you haven't written the follow-up of your tome in your advanced years perhaps you are having too much whisky, OLD friend, rather than not enough
Reading your work thoroughly, one comes across the mention of a 'ballroom' in a few descriptions. What exactly is a 'ballroom' asked one of the contributors on another internet whisky forum? And why does it have this peculiar name?
Would there be a chance of enlightenment from you on this?
You do me a disservice.
Why should I spend what limited hours I have, my vapours passing like spirit through an exciseman's safe, answering trivial schoolboy questions, which the schoolboys could answer if they read the text closely.
Sirs - don't give me your 'Please Sirs...' or that snivelling schoolboy cant - ask me what I have not told you - or what is really hidden in the ancient handshake of my grasping text.
Like an honest spirit measure, what I have written is truly on the level, so all will be squared.
As it as, of course, in the ballroom. Where squares were dreamn't and danced. Here figures were cut with grace and beauty. Dancing with the Duke and his people, so influential in the West, at Burnside, is such a sought after memory.
But the other Ball Rooms - or Running Rooms ... I don't have to explain this - it is about the rule and the measurement - and unless you make fun of me, the answer, whether at Yoker, Hazelburn, Dailuaine, or Balmenach, will be the same. And you should be able to find it .. if you look ...
So please gentlemen, find a more even playing field for us to meet on…
With sincere best wishes,
Alfred Barnard (RIP)
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