A DRAM WITH A TWIST
GQ India|April 2021
With the launch of a new tropical-inspired whisky and a limited edition laced with history, it’s already been an exciting year for The Glenlivet. GQ caught up with Alex Robertson, Head of Heritage and Education, Chivas Brothers, about what’s in store for the iconic Speyside malt, and a little of how it all began
SAUMYAA VOHRA

Tell us a little about the “illicit distillation” that is such a key part of The Glenlivet’s origin story.

In the early 19th century, high taxation in Scotland led to illegal distillation and smuggling. The Glenlivet was one of the most notorious centres, with 200 illegal stills operating in a remote valley, far from the taxmen. The real Glenlivet, an illicit dram distilled by our founder George Smith, gained a reputation as the best on the market and commanded a high price across the country. In 1823, the Excise Act lowered taxation and Smith established the first licensed distillery (in the face of considerable opposition) in the valley of the River Livet.

The Great Depression and Prohibition in the USA were trying times for the whisky industry. In some ways, the pandemic has been as well. How does a brand like The Glenlivet come out strong after the storm?

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