The beastie is a fun, quirky symbol that has never been properly identified by historians. Descriptions range from some sort of sea animal or kelpie, a dolphin or seahorse, or ‘swimming elephant’ - however one of those might have got to Scotland.
The currently leading academic theory seems to associate the beast with Capricorn, the horned sea-goat of the zodiac, important in ancient Mithraic cult practices that may have been imported from Rome and were likely practised by ancient Scots of the time.
A more fun recent suggestion from friends is that the beastie may also be an early form of the Scottish unicorn - one we like, even if historically speaking it is probably a fib. For us, the mystique of the beastie represents the mystery and exploration of whisky, opening each new dram. It is an ancient, traditional symbol, but reflecting the sense of modernity and fun at the heart of Fib Whisky.
Our Founder’s father, Dr. John Robert Fyffe Burt, known best to his family, friends and patients as Jack, was something of a polymath. Not only was he a local GP in Dunfermline, rising to Head of Practice, but he also had a keen interest in local and Scottish history, for a long time particularly in the Picts.
Aedan fondly remembers many conversations and visits to the National Museum of Scotland in his youth, talking about the advanced nature and mysteries of Pictish society, as well as funny and intriguing symbols on stones. Jack literally co-wrote the book on Pictish stones A Pictish Panorama in 1995, compiling a bibliography of every article on the Picts to date and meticulously creating hand drawn ink copies of the imagery on every Pictish stone. It remains the primary and only resource of its kind to date.
Jack kept several small replica Pictish stones in his office, one of which bearing only the smiling Pictish beast. He spoke about it often with his son, which is a large part of why it became our Founder’s favourite Pictish symbol, and is now in our logo. Dr. John R. F. Burt passed away from a stroke in April 2021. Although not its original intention, our smiling Pictish beastie doubles as a way of honouring his memory.