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Issue 117 - The Whisky Girls

Whisky Magazine Issue 117
February 2014


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The Whisky Girls

Discover the women behind the spirit

Why do we consider whisky to be a man's drink? Perhaps, because almost exclusively whisky is named after men. However times are a changing with bottles and labels now becoming more feminine and flavoured whiskies are on the increase. Without Sumerian women inventing beer and Mesopotamian women inventing early distillation techniques, whisky may not have come along.

In this book the author details the production and consumption of all kinds of whisky by all kinds of women and explains why 1600s Scottish aqua vitae makers were accused of witchcraft and why 1800s Irish tax collectors targeted female whisky makers.

‘This book gives credit to the women who perfected the recipes we enjoy today and helped build iconic brands worth billions of dollars. They may not have a whiskey named after them, but the world of whiskey owes then a debt of gratitude.' The book starts as far back as 4000 BC when many anthropologists believed that women cultivated barley for beer and not for bread and Sumerians used beer for religious rituals and recovered plaques thought to be dated from 2550 to 2400 BC show women sipping beer during funerals and more pleasurable pastimes. During the middle ages there were many women Apothecaries making ‘hard water' or aqua vitae or eau due vie in French. From the 15th century through the 17th century, this term related to distilled wine, beer or potatoes and it was applied to any and all ardent spirits and in certain instances was given to women in labour. ...

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