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Record of Sixteenth-Century Still Discovered in Scotland

Friday, July 19, 2019

Aberdeen Scotland Whiskey StillABERDEEN, SCOTLAND—The Drinks Business reports that Claire Hawes of the University of Aberdeen discovered a record for a still in Aberdeen’s municipal registers that dates to 1505. The still was used to make rose water and “aquavite,” or "water of life," the word used in Middle Scots for whisky. Jackson Armstrong of the University of Aberdeen noted that the reference is the earliest known record of an apparatus for distilling aquavite, and is contemporaneous with the founding of the university and the local growth of humanism, science, and medicine. Other early stills were used to prepare spirits for the preparation of gunpowder, he added, but because the Aberdeen still was also used to prepare rose water, it may have been used to produce spirits for consumption. The earliest known reference to aquavite itself dates to 1494. For more on Scottish archaeology, go to "Letter from Scotland: Living on the Edge."

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