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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Distillery elicits historic drams
Whisky being poured
The whisky may be sold if it proves to be a success
Whisky distillers at Glenlivet are recreating history by legally using the type of still used illicitly about 200 years ago.

The specially designed "Small Still" uses the same methods as illicit distillers once employed in Banffshire.

The aim is to produce a small supply of the spirit that first created the reputation of Scotch whisky two centuries ago.

Distilling was legalised by the Excise Act of 1823.

The Small Still was commonly used to create a whisky which entered legend as being smooth, fruity and easy to drink.

The smuggling community made a huge impact and we have learnt a lot from their original methods of distillation
Jim Cryle

There were believed to be hundreds of illicit stills hidden away in the hills of Glenlivet before distilling was legalised.

Current legislation restricts the size of a still, so the Glenlivet Distillery in Ballindalloch had to seek government permission to use the still, which has a capacity of only 12 gallons.

'Huge impact'

Jim Cryle, the retired master distiller at Glenlivet, and Alan Winchester, current malt distilleries manager of Glenlivet's owners Chivas Brothers, are overseeing the first distillation.

Mr Cryle said: "We are delighted to have been granted permission to use the Small Still once again.

"The smuggling community made a huge impact on the reputation of Scotch whisky and we have learnt a lot from their original methods of distillation.

"To this day The Glenlivet retains the fruity, pineapple notes and unique softness first associated with the illicit Glenlivet spirit of the 19th century."

Experts will assess the results of the process before deciding if any of the recreated whisky will be sold.

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