Roger Bacon brings the study of distillation to Britain after lecturing at La Sorbonne University in Paris.

A page from Kitab Sirr al Asrar – “Secret of Secrets”

Bacon shares the mysteries of aqua vitae (“water of life”) in his translation of the document, Kitab Sirr al Asrar (“Secret of Secrets”) written by the Persian alchemist and scholar Al-Razi, during the late 800s.  Bacon’s own english translated work was accurately entitled Secretum Secretorum (Latin for “Secret of Secrets”) and after returning to his lecturing post at Oxford University in England, he brought this work with him.

Later, further pieces of work would be published on the same subject by other respected chemists (and potential students of Bacon’s [See – Ramon Llull and Arnaud de Ville-Neurve].  With this new knowledge of distillation available, it eventually made its way from England to Ireland around the 1320s.  It was there that the Irish were quick to pick up on these learning’s and begin distilling their own spirits under the name of  uisce-beatha (“water of life”).  From this native Gaelic we derive the modern-day word – “whisky”.

 

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