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The Illicit Still

We are excited to bring you a new collection. It celebrates the rebellious Scots who made illegal whisky in the hills and glens of 18th and 19th century Scotland in glorious defiance of the English authorities. Each candle tells part of our unsung heroes tale and reveals how their exploits were inextricably linked to Scotland's beautiful, diverse landscape. We hope that by enjoying the 'The Illicit Still' collection, a flicker of rebellion will burn bright in you too. 

Our sorrowful tale begins in the year 1644. A taxation was introduced on the making of whisky. But fear not! Small scale private production was exempt and our heroes were thankfully spared. Their golden liquor could be made and enjoyed without fear of reprisal. Whisky was essential to help meet rents and for warming a body on a cold winters night. A type of early central heating if you will.

But as with all good things, they must come to an end. Private whisky making was proving too prosperous and half of all the whisky being drunk in Scotland was classed as contraband. It was no small wonder the Excise wanted their paws on the proceeds. Enter the villainous government stage left who decreed in 1781 that all whisky was to be subject to a license. What's a'body to do in the face of such adversity! How will they pay the rent? With a shudder they contemplated the prospect of losing their private supply of Uisge Beatha. Monsterous! So our heroes did what any right thinking rebellious Scot would do- he set about to evade the Excise and hide his glorious still...!

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A Guid Spot

Water and fuel were two crucial ingredients for a pot still. They had to be located near a burn or loch and a ready supply of fuel. Juniper trees were sought after as the wood burnt with little smoke, easing the fear of detection.

'A Guid Spot' promises both in abundance. This fresh  fragrance promotes relaxation and stillness, opening with marine notes reminiscent of being by a loch which flow and swirl into the fresh cleansing tang of juniper wood.

Candle Fragrance Notes:

Juniper, Marine, Rosemary, Cedarwood.

Gathering the Peat

Stills were often located on moorlands where peat was readily available- another good fuel source. But any structure on a moorland was likely to be easily seen and many were dug down into the moorland. Stone supporting walls and a roof of bracken left no trace to the naked eye.

'Gathering the Peat' will transport you back to the moorland where men toiled to cut the peat for the still fire. An earthiness is ever present but lightened with botanical notes of lavender, lily and gorse.

Candle Fragrance Notes:

Musk, Green Lily, Lavender.

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The method of whisky making using a pot still has changed very little down the centuries. It involved malting barley by soaking it in water and heating it to create mash. The mash was put in the copper pot and heated until it would release alcohol vapour. The vapour would enter the 'worm', submerged in water, where it would cool and turn into liquid.

And so we have our 'First Batch'. Revel in the distinct peat smokiness that only a single malt can bring. Lighter notes of sweet vanilla temper the intense smokiness and malt adds a mouth watering base. 

Candle Fragrance Notes:

Whisky, malt, vanilla.

The First Batch

The Gaugers Approach!

Ahh the Excise or 'Gaugers', referring to the requirement to 'gauge' how much malt a distiller used. Each still owner lived in fear of discovery. Not fear of violence- most Gaugers were outnumbered and poorly armed- but confiscation of their valuable still. Lookouts were posted to forewarn and give time for dismantling and escape.

'The Gaugers Approach' tells of one such escape. Our heroes have spirited away into the glen hidden by the mists of a new day, The dawn raid is thwarted. The Gaugers Approach promotes a feeling of hope and mindfulness in its botanical scent. Clean, fresh notes of vetiver reflect promise while moss and cedar provide a grounding base. The wistful fruitiness of fig alight a feeling of hope.  

Candle Fragrance Notes:

Green Leaf, Cedar, Oak Moss.

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The Drovers High Road

The sale of contraband goods needed proximity to a town. Remote locations were less likely to be found but needed safe methods to transport the goods . Smugglers would often use forgotten drove roads to transport their whisky. Used to move cattle or sheep from remote hills or glens to market, they were ideal. 

Our Drovers High Road is located on a hill looking down into the glen. It is Autumn and the side of the path is awash with vibrant purples and pinks. Heather blooms dance in the breeze attended by grateful bees who drink in the last nectar before winter. The same breeze brings the delicate scent of the heather to us. Gulp it in because in the twinkling of an eye the heather will be gone for another year.

Candle Fragrance Notes:

Heather, Bergamot, Blue Cypress.

The Lang Road Hame

Not all stills were located on moorland or on hills. Some were hidden in byres and barns providing convenience but the risk of discovery was much greater.

We end our tale after a hard nights labour at the still. Our hero is cold, wet and tired. He has the prospect of a long journey home through the moorland with the ever present threat of capture. 

The Lang Road Hame nourishes the soul and rekindles the rebellious spirit. The bleak moorland is populated with thistles, the national flower of Scotland. Stubborn tenacity allows the flower to flourish in the harshest environments and this seems a fitting end to our tale. If you brave the sting of sharp thorns you are rewarded by the sweet perfume of its delicate flower. 

Candle Fragrance Notes:

Thistle flower, nettle, basil.

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For Dad- the original rebellious Scot- and Tom, who both appreciated a good dram. Never forgotten x

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