The next page of the Glen Mhor Log Book, takes us into the silent season of 1937 and 4 requests for work during this period of distilling inactivity. A reminder you can see all the pages so far on our dedicated page and also how they slot into the timeline. We are already establishing that the silent season for Glen Mhor was around June and July annually during this period.
The writing on this page is quite faint, but I have transcribed it to the best of my ability:
Glen Mhor Distillery
22nd June 1937
Sir, I beg to forward application from Messrs Mackinlay & Birnie Ltd for permission during the silent season to:
1. ?? the spirit from cask
2. fill the Spirit Receiver, vat, and Low Wines and Spirit Charger with water from time to time.
3. have the Spirit Store left open for cleaning
4. be permitted to rack in the Spirit Store
The distillery is now silent and all spirits have been removed from the Spirit Store ?? the balance in the ?? cask. The Feints Receiver containing the depending? feints is ??? no feints can be passed to the Spirit Receiver.
During any racking in the Spirit Store the ?? vat will be empty and the water pipe locked in accordance with the 151a Distillers Instructions.
Yours obediently, Gilbert W. Peterkin, officer'
My thanks once again to Alan Winchester for his thoughts on this entry and the silent season:
'The removal of the whisky from the vat would be normal, and filling with water to stop the wood drying out, the water valve was locked, to ensure no water could be added with out Customs and excise knowledge. Interesting that they mention racking off, this could be larger casks filled into a smaller cask, maybe for sale locally, the minimum volume a distillery could sell was 9 gallons, so that could indicate local sales.
The feints locked and account taken of, this would be rechecked on restart, a small loss was often waived by C and E, feints would be left thoroughly secured, feints were are removed if hot work was being carried out in the vicinity.
Yes, this would be about a normal silent season, a silent season can be varied depending on production levels, but at around this time fillings (production) could be picking up, and 6 to 8 weeks would be normal, inland older distilleries would cut their own peats, but we see that they are buying peat from Orkney (Island of Eday) and the Dava.
Still to this day we have a silent period, which allows the statutory checks to be carried out on the plant, servicing of equipment i.e. mills and mash tun gearing etc. Boilers are inspected by a boiler inspector. Silent season would also see the stills inspected for thickness, and this would allow for replacement as well. Much of the production would receive their statutory holidays at this time. Also, as July and August were considered warm months, this would be another reason for having the silent season coincide with this.
In the modern era, the checks are still done but the dates can be staggered as to smooth the workflow.'
From the margin entry, we can see that the request was approved on 23rd June (the very next day) subject to the quoted conditions:
It is also worth mentioning, given the importance of the Exciseman role to each distillery, that this is the first entry that is not penned by Neil M. Gunn. Instead, we have a new representative attached to Glen Mhor (only time will tell if in a permanent or temporary capacity), who I'm confident is a Gilbert W. Peterkin.
To confirm this, I delved into the Inverness Burgh Directory for 1937, which by the way still lists Neil as being in the Excise business, but also a handful of excisemen living and working in Inverness. The match is Gilbert, who is listed as living on Kenneth Street, which joins onto Telford Street, ensuring a brisk walk to the distillery. An important member of the distillery team, it'll be another branch of enquiry to find out more on Gilbert - potentially this is his life here, but I'd need to delve into the census records to confirm.
This Log Book comes from the Highland Archives Centre (HCA/D31/4/1/25) and is watermarked for its protection. As with any images on this website, please ask first before using and always give credit. My thanks to the Centre for their assistance.