Arran Smugglers’ Series Vol. III ‘The Exciseman’

Arran Smugglers’ Series Vol. III ‘The Exciseman’

A treatise on the History of Scotch Whisky Distillation on the Isle of Arran by Illicit means in days of old. “Spirit to fire the imagination of the drouthy”. Limited edition of 8,700 bottles. The third in a series of Three Volumes.

For over a century islanders considered whisky production and smuggling as part of their cultural identity and a mainstay of the island economy. Arran smuggling and illicit whisky manufacture was at its height in the early 1800s. The scale of the activities was so great that the minister of Kilmory declared that, “there are few, if any, in the parish, who, at some point in their lives, were not engaged in some department of smuggling”.

Throughout the 1820s and 30s, smugglers and illicit distillers throughout Scotland were tracked down with vigour, following the introduction of the 1822 Illicit Distillation Act and the 1823 Excise Act.

Following these legislative changes, smuggling on a large scale was virtually eradicated throughout Scotland by the 1840s. Nonetheless, smuggling lingered on in some parts of the country, including Arran where it continued to provide an additional source of income for many islanders. Well into the 1850s, locals and the Excise men were battling it out. The islanders may have landed their fair share of blows but in the end the Excise men won the fight. At the turn of the 20th century large scale smuggling was a thing of the past as islanders were absorbed into newly emerging legitimate employment mainly provided by the development of Arran as a popular tourist destination.

Although large scale smuggling around the Firth of Clyde has been unheard of since the 19th century, the story of this illicit Arran trade forms an important part of the islands cultural heritage and traditions. The Smugglers Series has re-awakened this aspect of Arran’s history and although legally produced, the nature of this 3rd edition ensures that the spirit and endeavour of the 19th century smugglers remain in modern day Arran whisky production. The Madeira casks used in this final volume are similar to the ones utilised by Arran’s illicit distillers, who often stored and transported locally produced whisky in old Madeira casks brought over from the continent by their smuggling counterparts. The Quarter Casks are a nod to the type of small casks which would have been the easiest to transport. The resulting liquid is complex, full of character and a wonderful way to end a series which has so perfectly paid tribute to the independent characters of Arran over the centuries.


Arran Single Malt – Quarter Cask……………………..…… Matured in 125L Ex-Bourbon Barrels

Arran Single Malt – Madeira Cask Maturation………….Matured in 225L European Oak Barrels

Arran Smugglers’ Series Vol. III ‘The Exciseman’


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