There is debate about whether whisky is derived from “usquebaugh”, or scot’s gaelic uisge beatha, but both mean “water of life”.
The Phoenician Sailors used distillation to make sea water drinkable. Boiling the salt water, condensing the steam to make fresh water, leaving behind concentrated salt water. Whisky making uses the same process, but we drink the condensate, rather than the distillate.
It is generally agreed that Dalriadan or Dal Riata (as it was called in Ireland) was the kingdom of the Scotti, who migrated from County Antrim in Ulster to Argyll and eventually gave their name to Scotland. These monks brought distillation with them when they came to Caledonia to convert the Picts to Christianity in the fourth and fifth centuries A.D.
The earliest Scottish record, in 1494 is of the sale of 1,120 lbs of malt to one Friar John Corr to make aqua vita, the latin for usquebaugh.
Taxes were applied to whisky production in 1644, and the rest as they say…