Scottish Whisky Distilleries: These are 22 pictures from the 1950s and 1960s of whisky making - including Highland Park, Jura and Glenlivet
Whisky, whose name comes from the Gaelic ‘uisge beatha’ meaning ‘water of life’, has been distilled in Scotland for centuries.
The earliest written reference to whisky production dates back to the Scottish Exchequer Rolls of 1494, with the recording of a sale of malt to a Friar John Cor to make ‘aquavitae’ – the Latin for ‘water of life’.
When King James IV visited Inverness 1506 he made two orders for ‘aquavitae to the King’, showing the growing popularity of the intoxicating drink.
The production of spirits was first taxed by in 1644, leading to a large number of illicit stills being set up, with up to half of all whisky made in illegal operations in the Highlands.
This continued until 1823 when Parliament eased restrictions on licensed distilleries while making it harder for the illegal stills to operate, ushering in the modern era of whisky production.
In the 19th century a combination of new technology (in particular the column still) and a shortage of French wine and brandy caused by a parasitic insect destroying vines led to an explosion in the popularity of whisky.
By the 1890s, almost 40 new distilleries had opened in Scotland, including some of the famous names still known around the world.
Today an amazing 44 bottles of Scotch Whisky are shipped from Scotland to around 180 markets around the world every second – over 1.3 billion bottles a year that are worth around £4.5 billion to the Scottish economy.
Here are 22 pictures to take you back to whisky production over half a century ago.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.