SCOTLAND’S national drink has been around for centuries – but it is less than 200 years since the distilling of whisky became legal.

Now, National Trust for Scotland archaeologists have started uncovering the secrets of Scotland’s whisky history in an excavation at the old site of The Glenlivet Distillery, one of Scotland’s first whisky distilleries to become licensed after the 1823 Excise Act.

The dig at the site of Upper Drumin, in Speyside, which is one kilometre from the modern distillery, has so far uncovered the floor of the old site, which dates from 1824.

This is where The Glenlivet’s founder, George Smith (below), risked life and liberty to produce his single malt whisky. He became the first illicit producer to get his licence. Fragments of bottle glass and ceramics believed to have been involved in whisky production were also found.

The National: Uncovering secrets         of The Glenlivet

Investigations are being carried out this week as part of the Pioneering Spirit project – a partnership between conservation charity the National Trust for Scotland and The Glenlivet, the original Speyside single malt whisky, to uncover and share the history and impact that whisky production has had on Scotland’s cultural heritage and our modern way of life.

Alan Winchester, The Glenlivet’s master distiller, said: “I have always been fascinated by The Glenlivet’s rich history.

“The majority of my career has been spent continuing the legacy of our founder George Smith, so it’s really interesting to have the opportunity to uncover even more secrets.”