This day is called the Reverence of Friar John:
He that outlives this day, and comes drunk home,
Will stumble a-tiptoe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Friar John.
He that shall see this day and drink t’old age,
Will yearly on the vigil toast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Friar John’s Reverence Revel”:
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars
And say “These wounds I had on Friar John’s day.”
Drunk men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What drinks he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Raz the Reaver, Seamus and Fergus,
Fair Siobhan and Sean, Odran and Gulliver,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.
This story shall the good Celts teach their sons;
And Jon John shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered;
We few, we inebriated happy few, we band of drunken brothers;
For he today that sheds his whiskey with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in Ireland now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That drank with us upon Friar John’s Reverence Revel day.
For those who don’t read enough books; the first written record of making whisky is attributed to Friar John Cor who was recorded on June 1, 1496 as procuring supplies for the making of copious amounts of whisky for his Majesty, Jimie the IV. Not particularly an event of note excepting that this is the first known record of whisky production and indicatory of a healthy and long established tradition of distilling whisky in Great Briton, else wise he’d not been making 1500 bottles of the stuff.
In honor of this, the 3DC has decided on mass to start honoring this man and this recorded event for the first 3 days of June. I myself will have at least one different dram a day for the 3 day festival and record the results in my tasting book. I think with some thought and planning we may have to set up some event going forward to do this properly, but this year at least we are flying by the collective seats of our collective pants.
Now for the bitching part of this: the British do not deserve to have anything to do with the history of their own country as they are evidently criminally negligent and painfully ignorant of anything that doesn’t wear either a toga or a horned helmet. It seems that the collective British citizens are so jaded by the history all around them that they disregard it like Las Vegas does 10 year old casinos or Hugh Grant does a lady of the night in the back seat of his car.
Back to Friar John. He did his distilling in Lindores Abbey (http://www.darkisle.com/l/lindores/labbey.html) along the Tay in Fife. An abbey that has through neglect(well and a crippling attach in 1559 by John Knox) been allowed to crumble and ruin. The significance of the Abbey was lost some time after that until the early 1990s. The owners (For the last 100 or so years) didn’t know or care about the history of the abbey and only discovered it by a chance web search. Now to their credit they have have gone out and tried to contact the governmental powers that be to ask for some assistance in restoring or at least preserving the site and received typical indifference. They even went so far as to go directly to the whiskey industry itself and also found no one cared.
Since the Mid 1990s the owners have in attempt to spread the word, and make a buck too I’m sure, started bottling blended whisky that is a rare dram out there on the market. Now this would be nothing like the whisky Friar John made but at least they are making an attempt at getting the tradition going again. Hey it’s a start, right?
Well, you’ve got a year to make your plans. Mark it down in your calendar; June 1st-3rd = Friar John Cor’s Day.