hist-brewing: heather and fogg

Dan McFeeley mcfeeley at keynet.net
Sat Oct 28 09:12:02 PDT 2000

Scotti wrote:

>Ach, sure 'tis nothin' but the mist o' the Scottish Hielands, as 
>heady and intoxicatin' a vapour as ivver I've smelt.

Here's a little more on the mist of the Highlands, from Benjamin Barton's
account of "Poisonous and Injurious Honey of North America":

   Whilst I resided in Edinburgh, I had the honey from the Highlands
   frequently brought to my table.  I often remarked that this honey
   had a dirty brownish colour, and I was told that it was chiefly
   procured from the different species of erica, perhaps principally
   from the "blooming hather," which abound in the Highlands.  I never
   heard the people in Edinburgh, although they consume large quantities
   of this honey, complain that is possesses any noxious property.  If
   it were actively poisonous, or injurious, the quality would have been,
   long since, observed.  I well remember, however, that, for two years
   that I used it, it almost always rendered me drowsy.  Sometimes it
   composed me to sleep as effectually as a moderate dose of laundanum
   would have done.  A foreigner, who had not been accustomed to eat
   anodyne honey, was better capable of remarking the effect which I 
   have mentioned than the natives, who had been in the habit of using
   it, from their infancy.  I do not find this singular property of
   the Scots honey has been noticed by any writer.
             (Transcripts of the American Philosophical Society, 
              vol. 5 1802, pp. 54-55)

Interesting stuff, this heather honey.  I don't think anyone else has
reported similar effects -- makes you wonder what else Barton was having
with his heather honey!

Dan McFeeley
mcfeeley at keynet.net

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