Share on Share on Google+ Posted on: 25/08/2020

The Glenlivet, the original Speyside single malt whisky, and conservation charity, the National Trust for Scotland have announced the launch of the ‘Pioneering Spirit’ project, a first of its kind partnership.

The partners, who both play a pivotal role in Scotland’s cultural heritage, will pair archive research with archaeological digs across The Glenlivet and National Trust for Scotland site. The project will highlight the impact that Scotch whisky production has had on Scotland’s cultural heritage and its modern way of life.

Led by the Trust’s Head of Archaeology, Derek Alexander, and The Glenlivet’s Archivist, Chris Brousseau, the archaeological digs will uncover the illicit stills and forgotten bothies that were used to illegally produce and smuggle Scotch across the highlands in the early 1800s, and affected almost every aspect of Scottish life, from trade to immigration and even family dynamics. There are around 30 such stills on National Trust for Scotland properties, from Torridon and Kintail in the north, all the way to Grey Mare’s Tail in the south, including on the Mar Lodge Estate situated near The Glenlivet distillery.

Original thinking has driven The Glenlivet since its inception, with its founder George Smith risking life and liberty to produce his illicit single malt whisky. Thanks to his ambition and vision, Smith was the first illicit producer in the Glenlivet valley (or valley of the Livet) to get his licence, making The Glenlivet the perfect partner to assist the National Trust for Scotland in uncovering and sharing stories of Scotland’s illicit whisky past.

Miriam Eceolaza, Global Marketing Director of The Glenlivet said:

“We are proud to be supporting the National Trust for Scotland and the amazing work they do to protect, and celebrate, what makes Scotland unique. As a brand that holds so much history in the distilling of Scotch whisky, we are looking forward to learning more about the illicit trade that our founder was involved in, as well as the lasting impact it has had on the country’s rich heritage. We hope that through this partnership we can continue to educate and inspire whisky drinkers everywhere on the original story and taste of The Glenlivet.”

Since 1931, the National Trust for Scotland has been working to protect the things that make Scotland special. From its scenic coastlines and castles, to the unique wildlife and wilderness, the National Trust for Scotland encourages people to connect with Scotland’s stories, including that of The Glenlivet. 

Derek Alexander, Head of Archaeology, National Trust for Scotland, commented:

“We’re excited to be partnering with The Glenlivet to launch the Pioneering Spirit project. Our charity is always searching for new ways to tell Scotland’s stories and this project will help us shed light on a really fascinating era in Scotland’s history, which has shaped our culture and our landscapes too.  With the goal of uncovering and sharing the stories behind Scotland’s illicit whisky industry, it’s only fitting we partner with a name that is so firmly part of this story. We’re looking forward to working closely with The Glenlivet to carry out this ground-breaking conservation project and uncovering new and interesting stories for everyone who loves Scotland!”

Once underway, the project will enlist the help of visitors and Scottish residents alike to uncover more about the country’s illicit past and the role that whisky played in defining Scottish culture. To find out more about the partnership between The Glenlivet and the National Trust for Scotland, please visit and

The partnership announcement comes as The Glenlivet distillery visitor centre has reopened to the public, following the COVID-19 outbreak. In line with Scottish government guidelines and to ensure the safety of staff and guests, the centre has been equipped with extensive health and safety measures, including tasting experiences operating at a reduced capacity, temperature checks, hand sanitiser stations, clear social distancing signage and increased cleaning processes.


RelatedNews & Events

The Glenlivet Introducing The Glenlivet Captain's Reserve

The Glenlivet explores new frontiers with the release of Captain’s Reserve, a Single Malt selectively finished in high-quality Cognac casks

Read more

The Glenlivet Presenting The Glenlivet Code

The Glenlivet launches latest limited edition The Glenlivet Code to push the boundaries of flavour exploration

Read more

Ballantine's Ballantine’s blends Scottish spirit with American attitude for the launch of Ballantine’s 7 Bourbon Finish

Read more

Chivas Spirit Logo
United Kingdom

Enjoy our brands responsibly and