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TITLE
George Grant remembers the 'Whisky Train'
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_GEORGEGRANT_15
PLACENAME
Ballindalloch
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
George S. Grant
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1653
KEYWORDS
distillers
distilleries
Grants of Glenfarclas
audio

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George S Grant (1923-2002) was chairman of Glenfarclas Distillery in Speyside for fifty-two years. His ancestor, John Grant, had purchased the distillery back in 1865 and it has remained in the Grant family ever since. George's son, John LS Grant, is the current chairman. In this audio extract, originally recorded for 'Moray Firth People' in 1983, George talks to Sam Marshall about some of the elaborate ways of stealing whisky.

Interviewer: You sometimes hear of people who stole whisky. What sort of methods did they use? Some of them, I believe, were quite -

You still hear of people who are stealing whisky. It's one of the hazards of the employment in this industry. It's gone on since the Excise decided to put a duty on the spirit and it'll continue as long as the duty's there.

Some elaborate ways were discovered though, weren't there, because I remember seeing in the Black Museum in the Central Police Station in Glasgow a belt that a man used for many, many years just to put the whisky in and take it home with him. Have you ever come across anything as elaborate as that?

Oh, yes. There used to be what we called a 'Whisky Train' from Speyside in the good old days before the Speyside line was closed when they loaded it with whisky from Craigellachie up through by Blacksboat and up to Aviemore where it joined the main line south, in open wagons. And it was a well known fact that a whole lot of casks had been bored on the way up. One of the things they used to do was to lift the hoop from a cask, bore a hole in the cask under where the hoop was, catch the whisky in a hot water bottle, spike the - put a little bit of wood in the hole again, put the hoop down over the hole, and then you threw the hot water bottle off at a certain place on the line so that you arrived in the station with no whisky on you and you merely went back along the line to pick up the hot water bottle. Hot water bottle of course being rubber they - it didn't burst when you threw it off the train

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George Grant remembers the 'Whisky Train'

1980s

distillers; distilleries; Grants of Glenfarclas; audio

Moray Firth Radio

MFR: George Grant, Glenfarclas Distillery

George S Grant (1923-2002) was chairman of Glenfarclas Distillery in Speyside for fifty-two years. His ancestor, John Grant, had purchased the distillery back in 1865 and it has remained in the Grant family ever since. George's son, John LS Grant, is the current chairman. In this audio extract, originally recorded for 'Moray Firth People' in 1983, George talks to Sam Marshall about some of the elaborate ways of stealing whisky.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: You sometimes hear of people who stole whisky. What sort of methods did they use? Some of them, I believe, were quite - <br /> <br /> You still hear of people who are stealing whisky. It's one of the hazards of the employment in this industry. It's gone on since the Excise decided to put a duty on the spirit and it'll continue as long as the duty's there.<br /> <br /> Some elaborate ways were discovered though, weren't there, because I remember seeing in the Black Museum in the Central Police Station in Glasgow a belt that a man used for many, many years just to put the whisky in and take it home with him. Have you ever come across anything as elaborate as that?<br /> <br /> Oh, yes. There used to be what we called a 'Whisky Train' from Speyside in the good old days before the Speyside line was closed when they loaded it with whisky from Craigellachie up through by Blacksboat and up to Aviemore where it joined the main line south, in open wagons. And it was a well known fact that a whole lot of casks had been bored on the way up. One of the things they used to do was to lift the hoop from a cask, bore a hole in the cask under where the hoop was, catch the whisky in a hot water bottle, spike the - put a little bit of wood in the hole again, put the hoop down over the hole, and then you threw the hot water bottle off at a certain place on the line so that you arrived in the station with no whisky on you and you merely went back along the line to pick up the hot water bottle. Hot water bottle of course being rubber they - it didn't burst when you threw it off the train