Michael Urquhart, former managing director of family-owned Scotch whisky and premium spirits specialist Gordon & MacPhail, has been named 2021 president of the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC).
The IWSC’s president represents the organisation’s objective to promote the production of quality wines and spirits throughout the world.
From the beginning, IWSC says it has placed special emphasis on the analysis and independence of its judging process and it is now one of the oldest and most respected industry competitions. It has hundreds of international experts – including buyers, producers, distillers, sommeliers, distributors and influencers – judging wines and spirits throughout the year.
Michael replaces 2020 president Tamara Roberts, CEO of English wine producer Ridgeview. He is the first Scotland-based president since former chair and chief executive of Edrington Sir Ian Good who held the position in 2009. Other iconic members of the wine and spirits industries who have been president include Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, Wolf Blass, Robert Mondavi and Napa Valley winemaker, Warren Winiarski.
Michael retired as managing director of Elgin-based Gordon & MacPhail, the fourth-generation business owned by the Urquhart family, in 2014 and stepped down from the board in 2017 after serving over 36 years in the company. He travelled extensively throughout the world promoting single malt Scotch whisky bottled by Gordon & MacPhail and also from the family’s owned distillery, Benromach.
Becoming president of the IWSC adds to the many accolades Michael has received as a result of his dedication to the Scotch whisky industry. In 1999 he was made a Keeper of the Quaich and in 2012 a Master of the Quaich in recognition of services to the promotion of Scotch whisky worldwide. At the end of 2013, The Whisky Advocate, one of North America’s leading drinks publications presented Michael with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also inducted to the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame in 2014.
Michael Urquhart said: “It’s a real privilege, and I’m humbled, to be chosen as president of such a prestigious organisation as the IWSC. I believe this is a reflection of Gordon & MacPhail’s standing in the drinks industry and I thank all those involved in our family business for their support and contribution to our success over the years.
“I’ve always had the greatest respect for the IWSC and the excellent work it does in maintaining and developing the high-quality reputation of the global wine and spirits industry. I’m very much looking forward to getting behind the IWSC and ensuring it continues to work in the best interests of the entire industry.”
Christelle Guibert, IWSC CEO, said: “We’re delighted to be able to name Michael Urquhart as our new president. The president is chosen for their stature and reputation in the wine and spirits industry, and Michael perfectly fits this remit. He has dedicated his life to representing high quality sprits, in particular Scotch whisky, through his family’s business, Gordon & MacPhail. We’re sure Michael will continue to build the excellent, long-standing reputation of IWSC.”
Ewen Mackintosh, managing director at Gordon & MacPhail, said: “We have seen first-hand how hard Michael has worked for our family business and on behalf of the Scotch whisky industry as a whole. This is yet more well-deserved recognition for Michael, and Gordon & MacPhail, and we’re sure he will be an excellent president.”
St. Andrew’s Day is just around the corner, and although things may be a little different this year, celebrating with a glass of whisky in hand will always stand the test of time.
Whether you’re with your family this St. Andrew’s Day, or relaxing at home, here is a selection of the best tipples to enjoy this November 30th, celebrating all that makes Scotland special.
Choose from the elegant complexity of Bowmore, the strong character of Laphroaig, or the shareable nature of Auchentoshan, with a variety of these tipples below.
What’s more, to continue celebrating St. Andrews Day, Laphroaig is holding its final #LaphroaigLive event of the year at 18:15 Islay (UK) time on Monday 30th November.
The session will be hosted by John Campbell (Distillery Manager) and Simon Brooking (Laphroaig Ambassador) and will include a live tasting of Laphroaig’s second instalment in the Ian Hunter series, ‘Book Two: Building An Icon’, as well as a look back at the highlights of the year at the distillery and a look forward to what’s in store for 2021.
The team will be taking and answering questions live from the thousands of Friends of Laphroaig from around the globe that join us on St. Andrew’s night to create a very memorable celebration. More details to sign up and join are here.
Bowmore 12 Year Old
Drinkers of the Bowmore 12 Year Old can taste warm and delicious flavours on the palate with subtle dark chocolate taste notes.
Bowmore’s 12 Year Old is both complex and perfectly balanced. Subtle lemon and sweet heather honey complement Bowmore’s trademark peat smoke, leading to a delicious, long and mellow finish.
This whisky is perfect for a night-in nightcap on St. Andrew’s Day.
Available for £34.95 at Master of Malt
Bowmore 15 Year Old
There is no finer example of a sherry cask than the Bowmore 15 Year Old – matured first in bourbon barrels then Oloroso casks.
The Bowmore 15 Year old has a rich, deep colour and robust warming finish, with dark chocolate and raisin aromas which compliment its smokiness and lead the way to a delicious chocolaty centre.
Great for a drink around the table with your family.
Available for £50.25 at Master of Malt
Laphroaig 10 Year Old
Laphroaig 10 Year Old is a peat smoked liquid with a surprising sweetness, hints of salt and layers of peatiness.
The Laphroaig 10 Year Old follows the traditions laid down over the last 200 years by a succession of passionate and skilled master distillers. This is a truly classic single malt Scotch, made from malted barley which is first cold-smoked and then dried over a peat fire.
Renowned for its bold, smoky taste and full-bodied with a long finish, it truly embodies the quintessential Laphroaig character.
This whisky is perfect for celebrating St Andrew’s Day with friends at home.
Currently available for £37.42 at Laphroaig Shop
Auchentoshan American Oak
The Auchentoshan American Oak is a versatile and approachable Single Malt. A triple distilled whisky that is matured solely in American bourbon casks, resulting in sweet aromas of vanilla and coconut – along with the signature smooth, delicate, Auchentoshan taste.
You will be left with a crisp, sugared grapefruit taste and a lingering hint of spice. Served perfect as an Auchentoshan & Ale, neat or over ice, or even shaken up in some classic cocktails, including the Auchentoshan Sour.
Enjoy a unique Single Malt with the Auchentoshan American Oak.
Available for £33.99 on Amazon.co.uk
Auchentoshan Three Wood
This award-winning Single Malt has been matured in three different casks, from American Bourbon to Spanish Olorosso Sherry and finally, Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks.
A rich, complex whisky with toffee and sherry flavours.
Wanting an evening that feels unique? Enjoy this triple-distilled Single Malt Whisky.
Available for £49.48 on Amazon
Gordon & MacPhail has unveiled the brand for its new distillery being built in the Cairngorms National Park.
The distillery is to be named The Cairn, reflecting its stunning location overlooking the Cairngorm mountains, at the gateway to Speyside.
The family owned whisky specialists were granted planning permission for the new distillery last year and work started on site in July this year.
Unveiling the new brand Ian Chapman, Brands Director said: “We have put the consumer right at the heart of the process of creating the brand, as we have with the design of the distillery itself. We wanted to make sure it was clearly Scottish, but easy for consumers to pronounce and to spell. This will be particularly important for our international markets when English is not the first language.
“We also had to be mindful of Benromach, our other distillery. We wanted the new brand to complement, not compete.”
Benromach is positioned as a traditional, hand crafted brand so the new brand had to broadly occupy more contemporary territory.
Working with Glasgow based branding agency Good, the company cast its net wide looking for ideas for a name, asking staff and shareholders for suggestions. More than 300 ideas were eventually whittled down to a shortlist which met select criteria.
As well as the name, the identity needed to have icons and graphical elements to make it unmistakable for non-English speaking consumers. An icon has been developed to symbolise the brand; the fragmented shape representing the coming together of many pieces to form a cairn. The typography used for the words “The Cairn” is ultra-modern and premium, yet it is complemented by the use of a Serif font for the word “Distillery” to represent contemporary craft cues that imply heritage and legacy.
Ian Chapman added; “The brand is eye-catching and contemporary and the approach to develop it put the consumer at the centre of our thinking. It is the same approach we have taken to designing The Cairn Distillery itself. The modern building takes advantage of the outstanding views across the River Spey to the Cairngorms and has been designed with the customer at the centre of the experience.”
Scheduled to open in spring 2022, The Cairn Distillery will include a visitor experience, tasting rooms, retail space and coffee shop.
The Macallan has unveiled Distil Your World: The London Edition, a unique limited edition single malt whisky providing a sensorial journey through one of the world’s greatest capital cities.
Marking the first global release in a ground-breaking series in collaboration with the Roca brothers to discover the essence of some of the world’s greatest cities, Distil Your World: The London Edition embodies London’s special charisma, and captures the people, experiences, colours and history that ultimately define the city.
United by an insatiable curiosity, quest for knowledge and dedication to mastery, The Macallan and the Roca brothers, owners of El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, twice named Best Restaurant in the World, explore different cultures and source inspiration for their own worlds of whisky-making and gastronomy.
Distil Your World: The London Edition is inspired by the long-standing partners’ journey and exploration through an uncharted London, with the purpose of distilling its soul and capturing the unique essence, aroma and flavour of the city in an exceptional single malt whisky.
In homage to its birthplace, the edition will be unveiled to the world in a highly coveted window display in Harrods’ world-famous flagship store in Knightsbridge, London on 1st November 2020. Over the years the renowned Hans Crescent window has hosted iconic displays from some of the world’s leading luxury brands and will showcase The Macallan’s remarkable whisky on a global stage.
During their adventure, The Macallan’s Whisky Maker Steven Bremner and Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca spent time with the craftspeople and creators who fuel London’s inimitable creativity and entrepreneurial drive; the committed leaders who add to its vibrancy; and the special thinkers who understand its past and anticipate its future. They truly immersed themselves by discovering emblematic buildings and going behind the scenes to uncover the unique flavours and scents that define London and unearthing its vibrant community spirit.
Ultimately, this journey led them to their own complex and sensorial map of the city and with this map as inspiration, they masterfully selected the perfect combination of six first fill European oak Oloroso seasoned casks to translate London’s values into an extraordinary single malt with unique tasting notes representing the spirit of the city.
A character led whisky with encapsulating nuances of orange caramel, curry spice and Earl Grey tea, rare to find in The Macallan single malts, this expression takes the taste buds and imagination on a journey of discovery, bringing London’s soul and unique character to life, while retaining The Macallan’s renowned signature taste. Seeking out these distinctive flavours among thousands of casks was a complex and highly skilled process, but Steven Bremner and the Roca brothers’ mastery of flavour, aroma and craftsmanship enabled them to distil the essence of London into a remarkable whisky.
Steven Bremner, Whisky Maker at The Macallan, said: “London is an international city, a melting pot of culture, cuisine, architecture, and art and its rich heritage and myriad of cultures, combined with a timeless spirit and an innovative nature, made it the ideal playing field for this journey of mastery. It is not just about being there, but about immersing yourself and dedicating time to understand what’s underneath everything you see, and we are proud to have collaborated with the Roca brothers on this exploration.
“Like the London soul, our single malt whisky, matured in its unique sherry seasoned oak casks, delivers rich complexities, harmonious flavours, and vibrant aromas. This whisky is something new – with London notes like curry or the sweetness of Earl Grey tea – but it keeps The Macallan’s signature taste, and that’s the difficult part.”
Josep Roca, said: “The places we visited, the people we met, all that now takes shape in this whisky – our own distillation of the London essence. There is part of umami, the subtle touch of curry, orange, vanilla and raisin. There are some special notes that are really rare to find.”
Distil Your World: The London Edition is housed in a striking presentation box featuring a triangular engraving design to represent the map of London and red detailing inspired by the city’s red bricks. As well as the limited edition whisky, the box contains a luxurious book capturing the different inspirations behind this single malt, alongside rich London photography, which combined, form a picture of London as created by Steven Bremner and the Roca brothers.
The Macallan Distil Your World series is the next step in the brand’s long-standing partnership with the Roca brothers. They have previously worked together on a range of ventures, including The Macallan Edition No.2 which was inspired by the brothers’ distinctive and dynamic characters and Distil Your World Scotland, a culinary journey through Scotland to explore the country’s rich cuisine tapestry which resulted in an innovative publication and documentary.
Limited to 2,000 bottles worldwide, Distil Your World: The London Edition has an RRSP of £2,630 and will be available globally from November 2020, including in Harrods, The Macallan Boutique in London Heathrow and The Macallan Estate Boutique.
For further information visit www.themacallan.com
2nd November 2020: Laphroaig, the UK’s number one peated single malt*, has announced the launch of a new fully integrated above the line campaign. It is aimed at capturing the unique reactions of consumers attempting to describe the smoky flavour of this iconic Islay single malt.
Basking in the divisive, yet unforgettable, taste of Laphroaig, the campaign will appear across broadcast TVC (30”) with social and digital media (15”) going live from 1 December.
‘You’ll always remember your First Laphroaig’ is the next chapter of Laphroaig’s Opinions Welcome advertising campaign and the idea that everyone has their own, often unexpected but always unique reaction to this whisky. The new creative plays on this concept via the coming together of first time Laphroaig drinkers.
Filming genuine members of the public across a variety of ages and backgrounds, each individual is handed a bottle and glass and invited to enjoy their first sip. Beginning with trying to pronounce the name of the infamous liquid, what ensues is a variety of facial expressions that range from hesitant and unsure, to full-blown dislike, pleasant surprise and deep love for the taste – each perfectly capturing the experience without the need for words. The film concludes with two of the brand’s newest and biggest fans fervently nodding and proclaiming their newfound love for Laphroaig.
Perfectly articulating Laphroaig’s personality in a way that transcends traditional whisky advertising, the playful yet honest persona positions the experience of drinking a Laphroaig as a memorable one, no matter the outcome.
Nick Ganich, Head of Brands, Edrington-Beam Suntory UK said, “The idea that Laphroaig isn’t for everyone is what makes it such an iconic and inclusive brand. You may love or indeed dislike the taste, but what is certain is that drinking Laphroaig is a deeply personal experience that elicits great emotion and often debate amongst our customers and consumers.”
Jim Robinson, Managing Director, Warp & Woof said: “Bringing this core part of the brand’s personality to life through the campaign has been a lot of fun and something we believe will encourage thousands of soon to be die-hard fans to discover Laphroaig.”
The campaign will also feature as part of Video on Demand through Sky Go, ITV and All 4 and in a variety of formats across both Instagram and Facebook. Furthermore, it will stretch across UK retail and e-commerce outlets featuring Laphroaig’s “Opinions Welcome” gift packs in the lead up to the key Christmas period.
To find out more about the campaign or Laphroaig more generally visit www.laphroaig.com. Alternatively subscribe to the Laphroaig UK YouTube channel or check out Facebook and Instagram for updates and news.
*Nielsen / CGA MAT Combined Sept 2020
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