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Scots, Scotch and Scotland – A Newsletter
Scotland: Some Facts, Figures and Folks | Part of The Scotland I Have Come To Know

Introduction


What this world needs is ANOTHER "newsletter." Right? Well, that depends on who you ask and the need, if any exists, of the content that such an instrument might address. Over the past few months, since the inception of my website, (http://www.scotchdoc.com), I have sometimes felt like I was a Dr. Laura, Dr. Joyce Brothers and Ann Landers, all at the same time. I have been pleasantly surprised, and flattered, by the number of readers of my site that took the time to comment. Those who had sufficient confidence and respect in me to consider my knowledge sufficient authority to address their questions really stroked my ego. After some time, and experience, of addressing numerous questions from all over the world, I began to consider the action of what I am officially announcing at this time. Scots, Scotch and Scotland, my newsletter, of which this may be considered the inaugural issue, is now on line. It will be an attempt to address the several issues that you have expressed concerning the topics of Scots, Scotch and Scotland.

As this communications instrument develops over the next few months, I will be very interested in your opinions concerning this effort. Please let me know what you like about it, what you do not like about it, what else you would like to see addressed in this format, and anything else on which you may have an opinion. I am also interested in, and collect, books and other artifacts related to whisk(e)y and prohibition. I would be interested in knowing what you may have that you think would be of interest to our readership.

The format for this instrument will be of a "diary" and/or chronological presentation of the data that I obtain. You will want to "mark" your reference points to avoid seeing the same data each time you access this document. I DO have a reason for this. There are many new readers of The Scotch Doc who log on each week and will find the "old" information interesting and/or useful. Please exercise YOUR option of utilizing your electronic eraser, your DELETE key, at any time. Remember that the primary purpose of this instrument is EDUCATION so much of the data will remain in place for long periods of time.

The future potential for such a newsletter as this is unknown at best, but exciting for certain. I see future issues taking advantage of the digital photography technology that is making the imaging process more convenient and immediate. I am in the process of determining which of the digital cameras will best meet my needs.

It may be argued that the inaugural issue of an instrument of communication such as Scotch, Scots and Scotland should be profound. This argument carries even more weight of substance once one fathoms the complexity of the topic and broad scope of such an undertaking. In fact, it gives cause for one to revisit the meaning of the word "profound." A first general impression, for many, of the definition of "profound" is usually related to the intellect. A further investigation, however, deals with the emotional implications of this complex word. It is my desire that the content of this newsletter encompass both of these definitions. To do otherwise would be to shortchange and misrepresent the subjects and title of the newsletter.

The history and physical beauty of Scotland is diverse, rich, complex, romantic and practically unfathomable. Mere words lie helpless on the surface of the manuscript when it comes to describing or imparting the "essence" of Scotland. Only after several extended visits can one begin to appreciate this geographically small, but inherently, "large" country. It places second to no other country on the planet when it comes to per capita contributions to society and mankind. My many contacts with its extraordinary people has caused me, on several occasions, to paraphrase an old Will Rogers phrase, "I've never met a Scot I didn't like." Now that the publisher has sufficiently revealed his intellectual and emotional biases concerning Scotland, let us proceed.

Let me first answer the question of how the mission of The Scotch Doc came about. Whatever I have learned and accomplished in my pursuits in the world of Scotch Single Malt Whisky: The Taste, History and Mystique, has been a wonderful by-product of my intrigue with my ancient ancestors, the Celts. It was my interest in their history that would involve me in Scotland, only to learn that the original McCoys may very well have originated in Scotland. They were definitely of Celtic heritage. The name, McCoy, I discovered, is one of the several Anglicized variants of the Gaelic name of "Mac Aodha," with others being MacCooey, MacKay and McKay. What a great "present" it was that history presented to me. I now knew the reasons for the unexplained "feeling" that I had always had for Scotland.

Once my interest in Scotland developed, it was just a matter of time until I was introduced to the Scotch single malt - an action that would change my life. After sampling a few single malts, I became fascinated and my interest became an insatiable passion. A trip to Scotland, with visits to several distilleries, was the next step in my quest. After making the acquaintance of distillery officials who recognized my passion for knowledge of their "nectar of the gods," and who were willing to help educate me, my course was set. After weeks of intensive study, and overcoming a near-fatal automobile accident during my first trip to Scotland, the concept of my well-known "Scotch Single Malt Whisky: The Taste, History and Mystique" seminars and tastings began to take shape.

My unique and self-directed course of study has now resulted in a collection of over two hundred books and videos on Scotch whisky and Scotland. I have assembled a collection of almost seven hundred sealed, full- size bottles of Scotch single malts representing one hundred and twenty-seven distilleries. They are on constant exhibition in prominent locations for the enjoyment of the single malt fan. My personal bar in my den contains over 250 different and OPEN single malts - which may make it one of the best-stocked Scotch single malt bars just about anywhere?

Through my seminars/tastings, Scotch Single Malt Whisky: The Taste, History and Mystique, I have shared my knowledge with audiences in Paris, France; Scotland; and in many places in my native country that includes Harvard law students, functions at Disney World, a fund-raising event with General Schwarzkopf and many others. The various events for which I have had the pleasure of hosting have resulted in my socializing for hours at a national political convention and sharing the taste and legacy of the ancient Scotch single malt with internationally known businessmen and women, dignitaries and public figures. My fundraising efforts have led to the endowment of scholarships (through my "Scotch For Scholarships" program) for economically disadvantaged students, fund raisings for physically impaired children and for several health organizations. My intensive and detailed four-year photographic study of the Scotch Single Malt Whisky production process is unique. With the development of my educational website (http://www.scotchdoc.com), my e-mail address (thecelt@scotchdoc.com), and the future publishing of my basic "primer" on the Scotch single malt, I believe that I have only just begun to help "educate the masses" about the Scotch single malt. (Could it be that this is the secret to world peace?) The Scotch Doc really does have a prescription for those seeking one of life's true simple "medicaments." Now, a wee-bit about where all of this started.

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Scotland: Some Facts, Figures and Folks

With the attention given Scotland in recent years by the motion picture, "Braveheart," the popularity of the scores of Scottish Highland Games and Festivals that increase every year and other media events, the general population has become most interested in this ancient society and rich culture. A cursory examination of the history of this country reveals, surprisingly to many Americans, great and significant contributions greatly out of proportion to its population's size. As one ponders these phenomenal accomplishments, we must wonder what might have been the result if Scotland had been blessed with the variety of natural resources, social stability and infrastructure that some other countries have had. Examine the following statistics and decide for yourself.

Scotland’s geographic area amounts to only 31,510 square miles in area. This is equal to one of the smallest states in the United States. The state of Maine has 33,215 square miles. Scotland’s borders fall within a geographical area that is 274 miles long (north to south), and from 24 to 154 miles wide. This includes the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland Island groups, which comprise a staggering total of 787 islands, of which only 62 have an area in excess of three square miles.

Several famous "Americans," we now know, were actually immigrants from Scotland, some of which were educated in Scotland. Alexander Graham Bell, Andrew Carnegie, John Muir, and James Watt are a few. An even greater number, who helped to make the United States the world leader that it is, are of Scottish ancestry. In fact, 31 of the United States Presidents have proven Scottish ancestry and are quick to tell you so. Other famous Americans of Scottish decent include: Neil Armstrong, The Reverend Billy Graham, Charlton Heston, Warren Beatty, Johnny Cash, Malcolm Forbes, Mel Gibson, Katherine Hepburn, Washington Irving, Shirley MacLaine, Andrew Mellon, Dr. James Naismith, Peter O’Toole, George C. Scott, James Stewart, Donald Trump, etc.

Some famous inventions by individuals of Scottish ancestry include: the steam engine, steamboat,
telegraph, telephone, television, transistor, Penicillin, asphalt, bicycle, artificial ice, electric clock, fountain pen, nylon, the "religious ritual" that causes intelligent adult men to knock the hell out of a tiny ball with a big long stick so they can go find it and knock the hell out of it again. The final, all-important objective of this ritual is to ultimately to knock this tiny ball into a small hole only slightly larger than it is. It is called "golf." Oh my goodness, I almost forgot. The Scots also invented Scotch whisky, also, of which the Scotch single malt was first. Seriously, this is an amazing record that becomes even more astounding when one considers the exceptionally small population from which so much has come. Is there any question, now, why so many on the planet occasionally searches their family tree in the hope of finding a distant Scottish ancestor somewhere. (Pardon my "Mc-Bias" here. I promise to keep it in check in the future.) Please read on.

Please keep in mind that I speak ONLY of those accomplishments that have a direct connection to the United States. Be prepared to spend some time if you take this study to the international stage. The Scots have contributed universally.

If you will, please permit me one more digression, in the form of a theory. As a serious student of history, I firmly believe that if the Scots had been in charge of the British Empire during the 18th century, it may still be in existence and the United States would still be a willing and loyal "colony." You see, if the Scots had been in charge there would have never been a Boston Tea Party. The Scots would have been shipping Scotch single malt and NOBODY would have thrown that nectar overboard or would have allowed anyone else to commit such a crime against humanity. The colonist probably wouldn’t have even griped about the taxes. We will never know.

Now that you have some idea as to the contributions of the Scot to the United States, along with my unsolicited biased opinions, let us get back to the present and examine our topic from other vantages.


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Part of The Scotland I Have Come To Know


As a scholar and visitor, I have been fortunate enough to traverse the length and breadth of Scotland on several occasions during the past six years. I never cease to be amazed by new discoveries that reveal themselves to me each trip. The most impressive element to me is the kind and generous people of Scotland. You may rest assured that I have had ample opportunity to avail myself of their hospitality. My experiences range from spending several days, on many occasions, at whisky distilleries as I photographed the entire production process of the fascinating Scotch Single Malt Whisky. The other, and less desirable, end of that "experience spectrum" included spending three weeks in the Inverness Hospital as a result of enjoying the beautiful Highlands scenery at the expense of tending to my automobile driving responsibilities. Once again, however, the Scotland expertise came to the forefront in the form of exceptional medical science and surgical skill to restore my physical well being.

My most enriching and enlightening Scottish experiences have come from my informal associations with various individuals and families as I have traveled this country. The lengthy conversations in the small pubs, over a dram of single malt, are always enjoyable. Being invited to sing some of my favorite country music songs in the Community Center at the 1998 Dallas, Scotland Annual Ceilidh, on a July 4th no less, was worth the trip. The opportunity to sing, eat, drink and socialize at this extraordinary level, with some of the finest folks you will ever meet, is fantastic.

The details of another Saturday night that I spent in the quaint little Dallas Hotel Pub in Dallas, Scotland, (population 203) remains indelibly fixed in my mind. The local folk, of all ages, made me feel so welcome and appreciated as I helped Jim and Pauline, the proprietors, tend bar. An elderly gentleman approaching ninety years of age told me more political jokes than I had ever heard. Her Majesty, the Queen, and our American President bore the brunt of most of the joke’s content. He also included a good number with the subject concerning the fairer sex, some that would surely land him in deep trouble with our politically correct American society. Much later in the early morning, as I sat on a barstool beside this "reservoir of Scottish culture," I finally removed his arm off my shoulder and refused his "one more for Texas" drams at three a.m. and went upstairs to my room. I don’t think that he really believed my "time zone, biological clock, etc." reason for needing to go upstairs and to bed "this early." He was nice about it, though, and pointed out several times that night his "special like of big, tall Texans" and was quite insistent that I "bring J.R. with me next trip." Something tells me that he and J. R. would get along very well – if J. R. could keep up with him.

Such "real" Bed and Breakfast experiences with the common folk of Scotland always leave me with a feeling of indebtedness to them as I reluctantly board my plane for the trip home. I'm always able to escape my departing depression, however, by immediately planning my return trip.


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