BBC Home > BBC News > Scotland

Illicit whisky still put back into use on Lewis

24 December 09 00:56 GMT

A former illicit still has been put back into use by an island's whisky distiller.

Mark Tayburn, who runs the Abhainn Dearg Distillery in Uig, on Lewis, is able to operate the small still under the distillery's licence.

Whisky was illicitly produced across the Highlands and Islands until distilling was legalised by the Excise Act of 1823.

Mr Tayburn hopes to make a distinctive whisky using the old still.

He was granted a licence for his distillery by HM Revenue and Customs in November 2008.

Mr Tayburn's decision to put the small still back into use has been welcomed by Western Isles SNP MSP Alasdair Allan.

He said: "I am happy to say Lewis has now started producing one of Scotland's most unusual whiskies in almost certainly the country's smallest licensed still."

In 2006, whisky distillers at Glenlivet recreated history by legally using a similar style illicit still and the same methods as illicit distillers once employed in Banffshire.

Related BBC sites