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15 years old

43 %                
Distilled 6.6.79
Bottled 5.95
Butt no. 16041
860 numbered bottles
Van Wees, Holland


15 years

Distilled 06.06.79
Bottled 3.95
Matured in sherry casks
Butt no. 16040
570 numbered bottles
Signatory Vintage
Scotch Whisky Co, Ltd, Edinburgh


23 years old

43 %                 
Montgomerie's Single Cask
Malt Scotch Whisky
Distilled on 19 October 1977
Bottled in October 2000
Cask No. 100763
Genummerde flessen
Montgomery & Co, Ltd, Glasgow


26 years old

40 %               
Distilled: 1975
Bottled: 2001
Chivas Bros. Ltd.
Gordon & Macphail, Elgin

BRAES OF GLENLIVET (1972 - 2002)    also see BRAEVAL

Banffshire, Chapeltown. Licentiehouder: Chivas Brothers Ltd. Onderdeel van The Chivas & Glenlivet Group. Eigendom van Seagram.
Brae stamt uit het Noors en betekent steile helling. Het is de hoogst gelegen distilleer-derij in het Livet gebied en na Dalwhinnie de twee na hoogst gelegen distilleerderij van Schotland.

De bouw werd gestart op 7 Juli 1972.
De eerste turf werd gestoken door Samuel Bronfman, zoon van de president van Seagram en met de bouw van het gebouwencomplex werd begonnen in Januari 1973.
Braes of Glenlivet werd op 29 September 1973 in bedrijf gesteld.

In 1975 werden er twee ketels bijgebouwd, en kwam het aantal op vijf.
In 1978 werd er een zesde ketel bijgebouwd.
Het water komt van twee bronnen, Preenie Well en Kate's Well.
De ketels zijn kopieën van die van Strathisla.
De naam Braes of Glenlivet werd in 1995 veranderd in Braeval.
De Braes of Glenlivet heeft geen eigen lagerpakhuizen. De whisky wordt dagelijks naar de lagerpakhuizen van Saegram te Keith vervoerd.
De Mash tun is 8.4 ton, de vijftien Wash backs zijn elk groot 44000 liter.
De indirekt  verhitte ketels worden met stoom verhit.
De twee Wash stills zijn elk 22000 liter, de vier Spirit stills elk 10000 liter groot.
De produktie capaciteit is vier miljoen liter spirit per jaar.

Met de overname van Seagram door Diageo en Pernod Ricard op 18 December 2000, worden de Schotse whisky en distilleerderijen van Seagram het eigendom van Pernod Ricard.

Aberko Ltd, a small spirits company in Glasgow has acquired the rights to the name
Deerstalker which was established already in 1880

There are four versions of Deerstalker with the 10 and 15 year old consisting of Braeval
the 12 years old is a Allt - A - Bhainne and a Balmenach 18 years old

The Deerstalker brand was first owned by a wine & spirit merchant from Edinburgh named J.G.Thomson. He noted the importance of trade marks and realising that these proud, forthright men opitomised the Highland spirit, registered the name and a label with the character of a Deerstalker in 1880, just five years after trade marks came into being.

Since that time it has been trade marked in every major country . J.G.Thomson’s offices were in the port for Edinburgh (Leith) and became known as The Vaults. The building remains to this day and is now home to the Scottish Malt Whisky Society. Exports took place from the Vaults to all corners of the globe. The brand then changed ownership in 1994 and trades today under The Deerstalker Whisky Company.

Stalking and Whisky

The stalking of deer in the Scottish Highlands is as much a tradition as the distilling of whisky itself, and may be traced back to the 1700’s. Most estates employed stalkers, fiercely independent men, who were respected for their knowledge of the ‘mountains’ and their abilities to track the native red deer.

Deerstalkers achieved notoriety in the Mid 1800’s when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert rebuilt Balmoral Castle & settled for much of the year in the Highlands fishing and stalking; characters such as John Brown became known far outside the Highlands. Whisky, already established in Scotland now became ever more popular south of the border partly as a result of the bond between the royal family and the Highlands.

Stalking deer in the Highlands has a long and noble tradition and is today a necessary activity for controlling numbers of red deer and for providing much needed income into Scottish estates. There remain today many professional stalkers who have inherited the skills of their forefathers, and provide a valuable contribution to the economy of the region.

It is appropriate that a whisky should be named after a profession so closely associated with the source of the national drink.

1973  Seagram Company founds Braes  of Glenlivet trough The Chivas and
Glenlivet Group                                                                                  

1975  Three stills are increased to five
1978  A sixt still is added
1994  Braes of Glenlivet is named Braeval
2001  Pernod Ricard buys The Chivas and Glenlivet Group
2002  Braeval is mothballed
2008  Braeval is producing again               

First Society bottling in 1998.

One of the most isolated distilleries in Scotland, this was built between 1973/74 by Chivas Bros, an attractive and appropriate architectural style which combines vernacular elements within a modern design. It is highly automated and its original three stills were extended to five in 1975 and six in 1978. Only recently has the malt become available, and only through rare independent bottlings.

To many, Glenlivet is the cradle of Scotch whisky, a remote and isolated glen that was teeming with sma’ stills in the lawless days that preceded licensed distillation. .

In from the cold: George Smith took out a licence for The Glenlivet in 1824
Alfred Barnard was ‘a man with a mission – and a tape measure,’ wrote Richard Joynson in his foreword to the centenary edition of the book by the great Victorian bagger of distilleries, first published in 1887. However, sometimes Barnard’s obsession with measuring every mash tun and counting every rivet was swept aside by the sheer beauty of the landscape…

‘We shall never forget our ride of 20 miles…’ he wrote. ‘We proceeded by the Spey side, one of the most rapid and beautiful rivers in Scotland, through the plantations and copses of Ballindalloch, up mountain roads, across highland moors, and past old Benrinnes, standing out like a mighty giant against the clear sky, the scene changing at every turn of the road like a bit of fairyland, until at last we came in sight of Glenlivet.’

Early this autumn, when the trees were just starting to turn, I retraced his steps, stopping first by the river, upstream of Ballindalloch. There was a lone fisherman out in the middle, casting his fly to the far side.

‘Any joy?’ I asked the ghillie watching from the bank. He shook his head. The water was low, the sun too bright and there were ‘nae fush’. So, not like the 19th century when, according to legend, the Spey was stiff with salmon.

It was through hunting, shooting and fishing that many a Victorian gent from the south got his first taste of whisky, a taste that was later acquired back home through Scotch and soda.

Back on the A95, the main drag through Speyside, there is no escaping Tormore as it looms up beside the roadside with its granite, whitewashed bulk, towering chimney stack and topiary hedges.

Built in 1960 as the first Scotch distillery that century, it encapsulates an incredible post-war optimism that was not to last. By the early 1980s, the talk within the industry was all about closures, mothballs and three-day weeks.

A few miles on and somewhat smaller in scale is the brand-new Ballindalloch distillery, whose name is splashed across the front in block caps as though it were on Islay, if you think of Laphroaig or Ardbeg, for example.

This is followed by its claim to fame, that it is a ‘single estate distillery’, that of the MacPherson-Grants. It only fired up its stills last September, but already feels part of the landscape as if it were yet another survivor of Speyside’s late Victorian whisky bonanza.

Converted from an old farm steading with a traditional wooden worm tub poking out on one side, all that is missing is a pagoda roof. Sadly, the distillery was shut, so I drove on to Glenlivet.

I wondered what Alfred Barnard would have made of it all, once he had got over the shock of motor cars and the demise of the local railway that opened 20 years before he got here, and closed a century later.

The speed of getting to Glenlivet distillery today and the sheer scale of the place with its 14 stills working around the clock would have blown him away. But he wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised to discover that it’s now the world’s top-selling single malt.

‘Wasn’t it ever thus?’ he would have muttered, unaware of Glenfiddich’s long supremacy. ‘Smith’s Glenlivet,’ he wrote back in the 1880s, ‘has become a household word and the whisky is appreciated in every country.’

His book missed the real Speyside boom, when 21 distilleries were established here in the 1890s, many of them beside the railway track.

It was the advent of the Strathspey line in 1863 between Dufftown and Abernethy, and its connection with the Inverness-Perth mainline three years later, that put this whisky region firmly on the map.

But as a suitably romantic Victorian, he preferred to believe it was all due to those illicit roots deep in the glen. Describing a ‘scene of majestic grandeur’ with ‘distant mountains, grim and bare’, he regaled his readers with tales of smugglers clambering over the hills ‘with kegs of whisky lashed to their backs’.

There may have been a certain grandeur to the barren uplands or braes of Glenlivet beyond the distillery, but I hadn’t come across any ‘fairyland’ yet. Nor was there any real sense of remoteness in the sunshine, with a smooth tarmac road spooling southwards over the hills.

‘Well,’ says Alan Winchester, Glenlivet’s master distiller, ‘come back in January or February, when the braes are cut off for a week. If you go hill-walking in the snow, you do get that feeling of isolation and vastness … that sense of space and emptiness. I haven’t been there, but it’s what I expect the tundra’s like.’

In the year to July 1824, there were 3,000 reports of illicit distilling and estimates of 400 stills working in this glen and neighbouring Cabrach and Glenrinnes, according to the excise accounts for the Elgin collection.

That was the year George Smith came in from the cold, took out a licence for his still at Upper Drumin farm, founded Glenlivet and basically kick-started the Scotch malt whisky industry.

His early struggle against the local bootleggers and how he kept a pair of hair-trigger pistols tucked in his belt is an oft-repeated tale. As is an early request from a certain celebrity.

No sooner had he squeezed into his kilt and flesh-coloured tights, than the ‘portly Hanoverian’, aka King George IV, was keen to score some illicit Glenlivet on his famous 1822 State visit to Edinburgh.

Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemurchus, 60 miles south, wrote that ‘the King drank nothing else’ in her Memoirs of a Highland Lady. It sounds like a slight exaggeration, but she obliged him by raiding her cellar for ‘whiskey, long in wood, long in uncorked bottles, mild as milk and with the true contraband goût in it.’

It’s a quote Winchester can recite in his sleep, but how, I ask, had this southerner who had never set foot in Scotland before ever heard of the stuff?

‘Oh, that’s easy,’ he replies. ‘It was Sir Walter Scott, and it was to make the King look hip.’

Sir Walter was to the King what Alastair Campbell was to Tony Blair, according to Winchester, who believes the allure of ‘forbidden fruit’ remained part of the whisky’s appeal long after the distillery was licensed.

‘We’ve always been very clever at weaving in the romance,’ he says. ‘John Grant of Glen Grant used to sell legal Glenlivet as illicit whisky with the “true contraband goût”.’ Before long, distillers way down the Spey were cashing in on the Glenlivet name as a suffix – a practice which continued late into the 20th century.

It was during the 1960s and 1970s that Glenfiddich pioneered the great single malt revolution, according to almost every whisky book and article, but you wonder why The Glenlivet never really challenged this.

After all, it was probably selling a few thousand cases a year by then in the US – a market it had been in since the 1930s with those miniatures of The Glenlivet sold on Pullman trains. Still, no hard feelings – for on leaving the distillery there is a sign to Glenfiddich. I, however, turned the other way and headed south.

Higher up are the grouse moors, distinguishable by their occasional blackened patches where the heather has been burnt to rejuvenate it and provide the birds with cover. Time to walk and try to imagine the glen’s bootlegging past that had so captivated Barnard.

The ground appeared sound from the road, but underfoot it soon sucked and squelched at my boots. The whole area is oozing with brackish spring water that would have been used for making whisky, while transforming the plant life into peat, albeit over tens of thousands of years.

Presumably it was through the burning of local peat that these whiskies absorbed any trace of heather, though not any more. With the exception of Balvenie, the kilns and floor maltings of Speyside are long gone.

Yet we insist on finding heather honey on the nose, like the salt and sea spray that defines maritime malts like Old Pulteney. Is it all just in our heads?

I got back in the car and drove to Tomintoul, the highest village in Scotland, built in 1776 by the Duke of Gordon to house flax workers brought in from outside.

As a business venture for his sprawling, 250,000-acre estate, flax proved a disaster and the workers (who were Protestant, unlike most of the locals) soon turned to making whisky instead.

Meanwhile, a few miles away, over the ridge to the east, the Catholic seminary of Scalan was preparing young men for the priesthood and sending them to Rome.

The original building was burnt to the ground in 1746 after the Battle of Culloden, and had to retreat even deeper into the braes of Glenlivet to escape persecution.

Perhaps that, more than illicit whisky, is testament to how isolated and remote this glen in Upper Speyside once was.
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