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Just as there is a deep vocabulary in the Inuit language for snow in its many forms, Scots Gaelic has many words for hill or mountain: meall, tom, beinn, creag, tor, tulach, cnoc, stob, sgurr, sliabh and so on, to describe large, small, rounded, pointed or other distinctive features. A tom is a small, rounded hill and mhoulin (compare this with the French moulin) means a mill, so this spot on a bank of the Livet is ?the hill with the mill?. Mh is pronounced as v in Gaelic hence the phonetic spelling that also occurs in Islay's Lagavulin. The mill at Tomnavoulin used to card the wool that the shepherds in the district collected from the flocks scattered throughout the hills. It is now the distillery reception centre and the waterwheel that powered the machinery has been restored. The distillery dates from 1966 and there have been three pairs of stills in use since the start. One fine aspect of modern distilleries is the efficiency they achieve. In the stillhouse here the hot spirit running off the stills was used to preheat the incoming batch of wash that is to be distilled. The water for whisky production came from springs at Easterton but production has now temporarily ceased.


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