Green’s Dictionary of Slang

curse of Scotland n.

1. the nine of diamonds [diamonds imply royalty, and according to legend every ninth king of Scotland was ‘a tyrant and a curse to that country’ (Grose, 1785). A further suggestion is that the nine of diamonds resembles the arms of the Duke of Argyll, who was one of the leading proponents of union with England, a move that was not wholly welcomed by his compatriots. Hotten (1860) suggests that this card was that on which ‘Butcher’ Cumberland wrote the orders for the mopping up of rebels after Culloden (1746), that nine lozenges are the arms of Dalrymple, Earl of Stair ‘detested for his share in the Massacre of Glencoe’, that the arrangement of diamonds resembles the St Andrew’s Cross and adds ‘the most probable explanation is, that in the game of Pope Joan the nine of diamonds is the Pope, of whom the Scots have an especial horror’].

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Gent.’s Mag. LXI 141: The Queen of Clubs is... called Queen Bess... The Nine of Diamonds, the curse of Scotland.
[UK] ‘Modern Dict.’ in Sporting Mag. May XVIII .
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 24 June 2/6: Mr. Funkit deals ; trump card the ‘ten [sic] of diamonds.’ Mr. Feathers — ‘The curse o’ Scotland!’ .
[UK]Durham Co. Advertiser 14 Nov. 2/1: Popular names for certain Playing Cards [...] Nine of Diamonds...The curse of Scotland.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn).
[UK]J. Mair Hbk of Phrases 13: Curse of Scotland. The nine of diamonds.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 3: Curse of Scotland - The nine of diamonds.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. [as 1882].
[US]Princeton Union (MN) 20 Jan. 7/6: The ‘curse of Scotland’ is what the nine of diamonds is called in that country.
[UK]Bucks Herald 4 Jan. 7/3: The nine of diamonds is known as ‘the curse of Scotland’.
[Scot]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 16 Oct. 5: The four of spades is ‘Ned Stokes’. The Queen of Clubs is called [...] ‘Queen Bess.’ Ans we all know, the nine of diamonds is called the ‘curse of Scotland’.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks.

2. whisky.

[UK]‘William Juniper’ True Drunkard’s Delight 229: Barley-bree, ferintosh, curse-of-Scotland, all proclaim their birth.