Hogmanay is a big deal in Scotland and I've heard tales of family celebrations lasting not days, but a couple of weeks. Such was the emphasis on celebrating and first footing in the north. A chance to catch up with friends and family, celebrate the past and look ahead. How times have changed in a relatively short period.
For employees at Glen Mhor, there was the prospect of working in a spirit environment, without much celebration to hand, but plenty of spirit of another kind. A difficult situation to manage and this might have prompted the following entry to accommodate some good will and team morale.
In order that the period should terminate on the 31st December 1947, and the distillery staff have a holiday on New Year Day and the day after, the trader immediately after termination of the previous period, on the Friday, as agreed previously on Saturday 27th and distilling on Sunday 28th.
When the stills were at work on Sunday, a survey was made in accordance with par.180 of the Distillery Instructions. New subpar? inserted by o.w.o. ???
I am Honourable Sirs
Your obedient Servant
G.W. Peterkin, officer
Glen Mhor Station'
Perhaps best placed to give us more insight into the old versus new world of Scottish distilling, Alan Winchester kindly provided his thoughts on this entry:
'With the relaxation of the Distilling legislation and here we find them utilising the legislation so they can have New Year’s Day off.
The 2 days off is how I remember 25, 1, 2, Boxing Day public holiday came later. I wonder if they got an old dram at the end of the day.
Distilling with 1823 Act was prohibited on Sunday, an old stillman said they some feints from previous week i.e. Saturday, were distilled early Sunday morning before mashing started.
So, the Officer had to do a survey, the law allowed and still does, the Officer the power to survey enter the distillery at anytime. These included surveys during the night. An unintentional result of this control meant an extra level of security on the sites.'
The access and power that an Exciseman could command is becoming clearer through these entries, and as Alan points out, still has ramifications for today's distillers. A distillery would have been an attractive target during festive times, especially with the high prices and limited quantities of alcohol fresh in the minds of the public.
We've seen in prior entries that distilling on a Sunday was not encouraged, and even earlier entries relating to mashing on a Sunday needing permission. We can see a shift starting to emerge from the traditional weekday distilling runs, the pressure on distilleries to start producing once again. Almost, to catch up, boost maturing inventory, as many will have had gaps lasting several years.
This Log Book comes from the Highland Archives Centre (HCA/D31/4/1/25) and is watermarked for its protection. As with any images on this website, please ask first before using and always give credit.
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