Glen Mhor Logbook 21st February 1967
The next entry in the logbook leads us to 1967, unveiling details that previously evaded our distillery timeline.
It is rewarding to have the ability to fill in these gaps and provide insight. When I embarked on this research project for Glen Mhor, the years were notably lacking in substance. Whisky textbooks were repetitious and lacking granularity. The growth of the Glen Mhor Timeline fills me with pride, and I am excited to witness its continued expansion.
This entry aims to rectify a previous mistake made by an Exciseman, even though it occurred five years ago. Unfortunately, a prior log error has been noticed regarding the cask, which has now reached maturity for dispatch. However, it is unclear who the intended recipient is or what the purpose of blending may be, nor is it evident whether this was necessary to support Mackinlay & Birnie's own work. The youngest age at which M&B usually bottled Glen Mhor was six years old, therefore it is probable that the cask will be sold to a third party.
This focus on bottling was the bulk of Glen Mhor's work and became increasingly difficult to fulfil as the industry became dominated by larger companies with multiple distilleries, thereby keeping requirements inhouse. The reliance on the blending business is best summed up in Gavin D Smith's seminal Stillhouse Stories Tunroom Tales, where he interviews former Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor employee Rodney Burtt:
'Neil M. Gunn advocated the banning of blended whiskies because he was of the school of thought that malt whisky was pure and blended whisky was not. Mr Birnie (William) was also an ardent admirer of the malts, but his view departed from Gunn's because blended whisky called on nearly ninety-eight percent of his warehouse stock. This high ratio of output was needed to keep business up and running.'
The actual Logbook entry reads as follows:
The officer who took the original weighing account of cask 1962/542 at Glen Mhor Distillery on 22/2/62 has made an error by entering in the proof gallons column of the warehouse register the bulk gallons. Details are as follows:
Account No 4017/22
Cask No. 1962/542
The correct proof gallons figure is 117.8.
Permission is requested to alter the proof gallons to 117.8, to advise the AYCG accordingly and to note the relative operation account in the spirit stock book. (The period deficiency percentage would be reduced from 0.90% to 0.68%).
As this cask is to be delivered early in March, could urgent consideration be given to this matter please?
Your obedient servant
G.?. Dawson, Officer
Acknowledges amendment of a/c 4017/22 from 1303.2 to 1315.
I am surprised that this type of mistake did not occur more frequently. If you have visited a distillery, you may have seen the carefully preserved small boxed area, where an excise officer sat and recorded each cask. These large ledgers, replete with multiple columns, were prone to human error. This entry demonstrates the mechanism and process for rectifying such an error, even after 5 years, with implementation speed being noteworthy.
In the final stages of this logbook's life, we observe the arrival and departure of multiple Excisemen. This mirrors similar patterns occurring throughout the industry. The men were no longer specifically stationed at one distillery; instead, their responsibilities were distributed across multiple sites. In the case of Inverness, the officers now had three distilleries to oversee.
Perhaps my approach differs, but I investigated the year of the inaccurate entry, 1962, to identify the personnel at the distillery. We have an entry on 19th March 1962 (just a couple of weeks afterwards) affirms that G. Dawson, who filed this in 1967, worked at Glen Mhor also in 1962. It is a small world and we are only human after all.
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.