Nobody knows exactly when distillation came to Scotland. Distillation has been probably invented in the midle east (in Alexandria about 900 a.Chr. with sure, maybe in egypt around 3000 b. Chr.). The word alcohol itself derives from the arabic. In medival times there were some studies of the alchimists and the elements of fire, water, earth and wind have their validity until today. The father of distillation was Arnold de Villa Nova, a moor scholar from Avignon and Montpellier. The oldest traces of distillation in Scotland were found on the Isle of Rum in 1986. Here has been brewed an alcoholic beverage about 6000 years ago. St. Columbanus also known as St. Patrick brought distillation from Ireland to Scotland. The first places were whisky has been distilled in Scotland could be Islay and Campeltown.
The word WHISKY derives from uisge beathe (from the celts) and usque baugh - maybe in the 12th century by the soldiers of king Heinrich II. The called it then usky and wusky. The first official mention of the word wusky/usky was in 1609 at the funeral of a clan chief. The word WHISKY itself appeared for the first time in 1736. Frater John Corr from Lindores Abbey in Fife got in 1494 eight bolls of malt to make aqua vitae. From this malt he made about 1500 bottles auf aqua vitae. The formal acceptance of the word WHISKY was in 1755 when Dr. Samuel Johnson spoke in his dictionary from usquebaugh - an aromatic distillat. After the uniting from Scotland and England in 1707, whisky became the national drink of the scots.
All the distillation started on small farms during the period of the seasons. After the harvest the farmers tried to distill the barley which was not needed for food an so they got something to keep them warm in the winter and also to swap. There is also today the silent season during the summer. The reason is the better control of the yeast in the cooler season.