Book Review: Highland Whisky Smugglers

Author: Steve Sillett
This review was published in Bartender’s November Issue Magazine

This book might have been as hard to locate as an illegal whisky bothy buried in the Scottish Highlands but when you get your hands on it (and not quite such a challenge these days with it reaps rewards in the stories it holds and the prose with which it is told. A slim read (ideal for the bartender) it’s packed full of historical truths and factual accounts from the violent and harsh period of whisky distillation in the 1500s until modern times. By the time you finish it you’ll hate the whisky tax excise man as much as the louts and larrikins who spent their days and nights running malt gold across the English boarders.

The author, Steve Sillett, served for many years on the tax excise board and it is from the annals of the tax offices history that Highland Whisky Smugglers distills its many stories. It tells of a time when policemen were bludgeoned to death in the name of malt or simply disappeared along the smoky trails. There are ambushes by the police and even more violent ones by the desperate smugglers who when backed into a corner would surrender no mercy. You will never again enjoy a healthy dram with out imagining yourself trudging the desolate mountain paths.

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