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TITLE
The whiskey still
EXTERNAL ID
KIGHF_MCIAN_14
DATE OF IMAGE
1847
PERIOD
1840s
CREATOR
R R McIan
SOURCE
Highland Folk Museum
ASSET ID
19777
KEYWORDS
occupations
The whiskey still

This is a postcard showing the work of the Scottish artist R R McIan. It is one of a series of illustrations in which he portrays aspects of rural life in the Highlands. The illustrations were published in the book 'Gaelic gatherings, or the Highlanders at Home on heather, river and loch', published 1847-49, with accompanying text by James Logan.

The word 'whisky', to use the normal Scottish spelling, is derived from the Gaelic 'uisge beatha', meaning 'water of life'. Many Highlanders distilled whisky at home, from malted barley. Its warming properties were valued in a cold climate, and it also served as a medicinal tonic or even as an anaesthetic.

In the eighteenth century, the government began to tax whisky. This was difficult to enforce in remote areas such as the Highlands, but there were nevertheless violent confrontations between the excisemen and the distillers or smugglers of illicitly-produced whisky. In 1823, the Excise Act was passed; it set taxes at a level which made distilling a viable business, while still raising money for the government. This reduced the amount of illicit distilling considerably

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The whiskey still

1840s

occupations

Highland Folk Museum

R.R. McIan Illustrations

This is a postcard showing the work of the Scottish artist R R McIan. It is one of a series of illustrations in which he portrays aspects of rural life in the Highlands. The illustrations were published in the book 'Gaelic gatherings, or the Highlanders at Home on heather, river and loch', published 1847-49, with accompanying text by James Logan.<br /> <br /> The word 'whisky', to use the normal Scottish spelling, is derived from the Gaelic 'uisge beatha', meaning 'water of life'. Many Highlanders distilled whisky at home, from malted barley. Its warming properties were valued in a cold climate, and it also served as a medicinal tonic or even as an anaesthetic.<br /> <br /> In the eighteenth century, the government began to tax whisky. This was difficult to enforce in remote areas such as the Highlands, but there were nevertheless violent confrontations between the excisemen and the distillers or smugglers of illicitly-produced whisky. In 1823, the Excise Act was passed; it set taxes at a level which made distilling a viable business, while still raising money for the government. This reduced the amount of illicit distilling considerably