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.”
This Halloween, whether you’re watching a horror movie, or in need of a break from carving the pumpkin, why not enjoy the evening with a whisky based cocktail in hand? The unique flavours, mixed with some classic favourites, will be a terrific choice come Saturday 31st October.
Here is a selection of the perfect Halloween cocktail choices featuring Auchentoshan, Laphroaig and Bowmore.
A Glaswegian Tale of Halloween
Sweet, fruity and inspired by the spooky fogs that used to cover the streets in Edinburgh, this is an eerie cocktail choice for Halloween.
Stir down, strain into rocks glass. Serve with block ice.
Auchentoshan Three Wood available for £43.75 at Master of Malt
Midnight on Halloween
A complex cocktail sure to lightening up the darkest Halloween night: Inspired by an equally complex city, this shaken sour is dominated by Mezcal smoke, pineapple and citrus; A true treat!
Shake down and double strain. Garnish with bitters hearts.
Bartender’s Malt available for £28.63 at Master of Malt
Laphroaig’s Halloween Project
Smokey, yet sweet, it’s trick or treat with Laphroaig’s Halloween project. A delicious and unique cocktail to enjoy on 31st October.
Shake with ice, then strain. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Laphroaig Quarter Cask available for £38.23 at Master of Malt
Bowmore’s Lemony Ticket Sour
A sweet and sophisticated sip – get ready to impress this Halloween with this cocktail featuring the Bowmore 12-Year-Old Whisky.
Add ingredients and dry shake. Then, add ice and shake. Double strain into a Coupe. Garnish with a cherry skewer.
Bowmore 12-Year-Old available for £34.95 at The Whisky Exchange.
The Glen Scotia virtual festival has been heralded a huge success, after attracting over 8,000 visitors from all around the world.
Following the cancellation of the Campbeltown Malts Festival 2020 which had been scheduled to run from 19-21 May 2020, the Glen Scotia Distillery announced it would bring its programme of events online for the first time at www.glenscotia.com/festival.
As part of the programme the distiller made its famous dunnage whisky tasting, which for many is the pinnacle of their Campbeltown Malt Festival experience, available for those outside the distillery for the very first time.
The theme for 2020 is The Casks of Campbeltown, featuring whiskies matured in casks from the town, and investigating the influencer they have on the modern Campbeltown style.
Only 200 dunnage tasting packs have been released in the UK, each containing five 25 ml samples along with password access to a specially created tasting video hosted by Iain McAlister. A further 1800 tasting boxes will be distributed to markets around the world.
In the UK, the Glen Scotia Dunnage Tasting Box is available to order from Dram Team priced at £55.99 (including postage).
The five samples will include:
Iain McAlister, Master Distiller at Glen Scotia, said: “We’ve been absolutely thrilled by the response we had to the Glen Scotia Virtual Malts Festival. We saw over 8,000 people join us from all over the world including Europe, North America, South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia – wildly exceeding our expectations!
“We’re now considering making some elements of the festival permanently ‘virtual’ going forward. We know Campbeltown isn’t the easiest place in the world to get to so this will be a great way to allow our global whisky fans the chance to be a part of the celebrations in future years.
“The dunnage tasting is one of my favourite events in the Campbeltown Malts Festival schedule and we’re excited to be able to provide those who had hoped to join us in person, and perhaps quite a few who usually wouldn’t have had the chance, the opportunity to take part in our special dunnage tasting.”
Chris Borrow, Founder, DramTeam added “I could not be more thrilled to be working with the fantastic team from Glen Scotia to put together this incredible dunnage tasting set. Some friends and I had the privilege of being utterly spoilt by Iain McAlister on our first ever visit to Campbeltown, when he very generously hosted us for a Glen Scotia dunnage warehouse tasting. To this day, the best tasting experience of my life – and one that I am very excited to put in a box for other people to enjoy. This is legitimately the best whisky-tasting-by-post we’ve ever done!”
Campbeltown was known as the whisky capital of the world during the Victorian era and was home to over 30 working distilleries. The annual Campbeltown Malts Festival is a celebration of Scotland’s fifth and smallest malt producing region and its whisky making heritage. This year’s event was set to take place from 19-21 May, however in line with Covid-19 government guidance, the festival has been cancelled for the first time since it launched in 2009.
Founded in 1832, Glen Scotia reflects centuries of craftsmanship and experience associated with the region and its award-winning whiskies are renowned for their distinctive maritime influence and Campbeltown character. For those who missed out on the festival this year many of the tastings and tours are still available to watch www.glenscotia.com/festival.
Issued by BIG Partnership on behalf of Glen Scotia.
As you know at Malt Marketing we always like to keep you updated with news and all that’s happening in the world of premium whisky and if ever the term ‘premium’ was to be applied to any whisky, The Macallan would probably be first inline to be bestowed with such a title. With the recent opening of their new multi-million pound distillery and visitor centre, there is always something exciting happening in the world of Macallan. Below we share a clip from their recent Macallan Distillery light show held in celebration of this grand opening.
Earlier in August, Whisky-Online concluded their July auction recording some notable hammer prices in the process. With more and more investors and collectors turning to the secondary whisky market to buy and sell, auctions such as Whisky-Online provide the perfect platform for buyers and sellers to interact. Below Whisky-Online share some of the results from their recent July auction.
The last time we sold a Dalmore 50-year-old was in May 2017 when it fetched an impressive £18,600. Fifteen months later, last night, bottle number one finished up at £28,000 on the nose. At one time such a result would have been pretty staggering but it says a lot about the nature of today’s secondary market that these kinds of serious five-figure sums have become almost ubiquitous. Still, this is an impressive result no doubt and shows that whiskies of genuine and deserved legend such as the Dalmore 50 are going nowhere but up. There is in fact almost an argument that it always makes sense to buy them if you can because they will only ever be more expensive. Say this same whisky turns up again in five months time. Would it make sense to buy it for, say, £38,000 – 45,000? I would argue that it would because the year or two after you can most likely sell it for £60,000. It’s just a matter of cash flow really. Which brings us back to the reality that, at this level, whisky is very much a commodity and a rich person’s game.
Once again Macallan displayed impressive strength and consistency at the top level of the sale. £20,000 on the nose for the 1946 Fine & Rare, £4000 for the 1958 Anniversary Malt and – somewhat bewilderingly – £3600 for the Diamond Jubilee. This is the thing about Macallan, you can understand it when the whisky in question is of the stunning, old style sherried variety, it’s somewhat more bizarre when it is, essentially, a contemporary NAS single malt. Such is the power of the name.
In fact, save for two bottles, one of which was the Dalmore 50, Macallan dominated the entire top end of the sale all the way down to a Springbank 1964 Cadenhead 34-year-old at a healthy, and somewhat unsurprising, £2500. In between all that one of the most interesting, and telling, high results were for John Scott’s 1965 35-year-old Highland Park which finished up at £3300. I remember buying the 42-year-old in this series in London in 2008 for £180 and subsequently drinking it. Given the quality of the whisky in these John Scott Highland Park bottlings, it seems retrospectively obvious that they would end up at such prices.
It was good to see the Glenfarclas 105 40-year-old back, hitting a healthy £2150 after a reasonable period of absence. Similarly, the Mortlach 1936 45-year-old and MacPhail’s 1938 45-year-old both did well at £1950 and £1900 respectively.
Springbank 12-year-old 100 proof bottlings from the 1990s have sat around the £1000 mark for quite some time now, so it was interesting to see one last night finish up at £1850 – exactly the same as the 22-year-old Cadenhead dumpy Springbank. This looks like it could well represent a bump up to a new trading level for this bottle, something not underserved considering what a legendary whisky it is.
The Lagavulin Syndicate 38-year-old appears to be holding strong at £1600. Another of quite a few Springbanks in this sale, the 1969 Signatory 28-year-old, performed well at £1150. Similarly, independent Macallans are increasingly chasing their official siblings up the auction levels with three Douglas Laing 30-year-old single casks fetching £1100 and £1050 respectively.
The Ardbeg Mor 1st edition was back on strong form at £900. And the long-awaited inaugural bottling of Daftmill single malt looks like a strong future classic, trading as it is already at £625. The Ardbeg 1975 and 1977 official vintage releases at £600 and £575 respectively showed good solid growth for these old classic bottlings.
Other strong results were a 1947 White Horse for £490, although for the historic nature of this liquid this also still seems like a good price for a drinker as well. The Cragganmore 17-year-old Manager’s Dram and the Glen Elgin 16 Manager’s Dram both did well at £450 and £525 respectively. This whole series is on the upward move so it’s nice to see these two slightly underrated examples getting the attention they deserve.
Similarly, Glen Ord, another seriously underrated distillery, saw one of the best examples ever bottled fetch an impressive £410. Although, if you ask me, this still represents good value for the liquid. Old Balblairs are another area where plenty of examples were arguably too cheap for too long, it seems this is changing as well. The 1974 ‘Highland Selection’ Balblair fetched a solid £390.
Although, at the same price levels one of the bargains of the sale was the Strathisla 35-year-old Bicentenary for £390. Given this is known to be a 1947 Strathisla it’s a terrific price for a drinker. Similarly, the Ardbeg 1974 23 year old by Signatory for £360 was also something of a steal.
Looking further down the sale there is the usual mix of solid consistency, some bewildering results – I still don’t get why people are paying £280 for a litre of 1990s Scapa 10-year-old – and a tiny smattering of bargains. A Glenlochy 1980 27 year old by Part Des Anges looks good at £270 and a rare Laphroaig 10-year-old bottled for Japan around 1990 also looks good at £245.
Largely though, scrolling from around the £300 – £80 level of the sale, you’re mostly reminded of just how much has changed on the secondary market over the past two years. Bottles like litres of old 15-year-old Glendronach. The kind of thing you used to be able to pick up for £40-60 for so long, now trading at £130. While at the same time you can still get bottles like Tormore 1983 28 year old by the SMWS for £135. It’s a funny old whisky world. Thankfully it’s still also a lot of fun!
Are you of legal drinking age in the country where you reside?
© Copyright Malt Marketing