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The Balvenie

Single Malt Whisky - 1863

It was not until 1823 that a new Act of Parliament laid down a cost and taxation basis for whisky which made legal distilling a reasonable proposition for many Highlanders. Around that time, illicit distilling had become so common in Scotland that more than half the spirits actually consumed were supplied by smugglers. In the year of the new Act there were 14,000 official discoveries of illicit stills - surely a fraction of the number that went undetected.

The new Act owed much to Alexander Gordon, fourth Duke of Gordon, speaking in the House of Lords, who helped to initiate change by pledging himself and his fellow land­lords to support more moderate laws, and to encourage their tenants to take out licences for their stills. The first to take out a licence was George Smith, a farmer and illicit distiller on Speyside. Shrewder and more farsighted than his neighbours, he realized that the future lay with remaining within the law. With the encouragement of his landlord, the Duke of Gordon, he built a new distillery, The Glenlivet Distillery that today enjoys a worldwide reputation.

<-- Illicit Stills The Glenlivet -->

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