It was the man named George Smith whom we have to thank for the excellent Glenlivet single malt whisky that we enjoy today.

Back in the early 1800s in the place we know as the Highlands, George Smith was the first distiller to acquire a license to make whisky, George Smith earned the ire of his once fellow moonshiners who threatened to burn down his still, with him in it!

Not a man to back down from such threats he fought them all, from the robbers, excisemen, and smugglers, to the government (before he got his license). The Laird of Aberlour hearing of this man's outstanding defiance presented him with a pair of hair trigger pistols to use for his protection.

From theglenlivet.com:

THE Pioneer • THE GLENLIVET

One man was responsible for THE Glenlivet legacy. In the early 1800s in the Highlands, just one man stood up against the government, the excisemen, the smugglers, the robbers and the elements - George Smith, a true pioneer.

A farmer by day and an illicit whisky distiller by night, George's entire working life before he earned his license - and to some extent afterwards - was spent fighting for his livelihood and, on more than one occasion, fighting for his life. The illicit distillers were furious with him as they knew that George Smith would eventually ruin them, and they did their damnedest to put him out of business. 'I was warned before I began by my civil neighbours,' he recalled years later, 'that they meant to burn my new distillery to the ground and me in the heart of it'.

The Laird of Aberlour was so impressed by George's red blooded defiance that he presented him with a pair of hair-trigger pistols for his protection.

By 1834 the Government troops had cleared the illegal distillers out of the Glenlivet and Smith was the only distiller left in the glen most renowned for whisky production.

The pioneering spirit runs through the history of THE Glenlivet and is as true today as it was then, epitomised by the recent introductions of the unique French Oak Finish, the award winning THE Glenlivet 18 year old and THE Glenlivet Cellar Collection.


I find this story amusing, I have chosen the Glenlivet as my "personal retreat in a bottle" (meaning for myself and very special friends only) way before I ever learned of this amazing history. And now more than ever, I cherish this glass of Glenlivet which brings fire to my belly and courage to my heart. Cheers George!

Glen*liv"at (?), Glen*liv"et (?), n.

A kind of Scotch whisky, named from the district in which it was first made.

W. E. Aytoun.

 

© Webster 1913.

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