The holy men of Lindores Abbey in Fife, Scotland must have been one of the first master distillers of Scotch whisky. According to an exchequer roll dating back to 1494, one of the Abbey’s Tironensian monks, Friar Jon Cor, paid duty on a malt, which was referred to as aqua vitae, for King James IV. Now 500 years later, a project is underway to restore whisky production to this historic location. The plan is to use the Abbey’s original stones to build a modern distillery at the site. Drew Mackenzie-Smith, whose family have owned the 12th century Abbey and farm for over a hundred years, envisages using barley grown on his fields to make the whisky “We’ll be using the same fields that the monks used 500 years ago to make ‘aqua vitae’,” he added. “We’ll be using the same fields under the same sunshine.” The farmer hopes building the whisky distillery will help safeguard the future of the historic Abbey which was visited by William Wallace and King John Baliol. Every bottle of whisky that is sold will pay a royalty into a trust which will help preserve the Abbey. Mr McKenzie-Smith said “To us, the history of Lindores Abbey is just as important as the plans we have to create a distillery. If it wasn’t for the expertise of the Tironensian monks who came to Scotland in those dark and frightening medieval times we may not have the advanced industry we do today.” Thank God for the moonshine monks.