As part of its centenary celebrations, Highland Rugby Football Club (Highland RFC) is auctioning a 29-year-old Balblair whisky, generously donated by leading malt whisky specialist Gordon & MacPhail, housed in a bespoke bronze plinth created exclusively for Highland RFC by fine art, architectural and memorial bronze foundry Black Isle Bronze.
Already open for bids, the unique package will ultimately be sold on August 13th at Highland RFC’s Centenary Dinner, taking place in Inverness with money raised going to charities Mikeysline, Alzheimer Scotland, My Name’5 Doddie and Highland RFC so that the club can continue to promote and deliver rugby to communities across the Highlands.
Just 469 bottles of this wonderful dark gold Balblair Highland Single Malt whisky were created from a single Sherry butt filled in 1990. It is part of Gordon & MacPhail’s famous Connoisseur’s Choice collection. Cask strength, it is described as having a soft cinnamon spice which leads to stewed plum and delicate sherbet aromas. The initial toasted malt flavours give way to light fruitcake with a hint of cashew nut. Hints of aniseed and dried ginger linger on the finish. Valued at around £800, it is expected to be a much sought-after bottle that is very hard to come by today.
The plinth was created by Farquhar Laing and his team at Black Isle Bronze based near Inverness. It took around four months to make and recreates a traditional rugby ball placed on a kicking tee and set in bronze. Designed specifically to display a bottle of whisky, one of the segments of the ball is removed, creating space for the bottle. The plinth is valued at around £4,000 which, when combined with the whisky, is a truly one-of-a-kind package.
Speaking about the exclusive package, Roy Dinnes, Vice President of Highland RFC, said: “This is a unique item, bespoke to Highland RFC, and we are extremely grateful to Gordon & MacPhail and Black Isle Bronze for allowing us to auction something very special in our centenary year and hopefully raise money to support charities particularly close to our hearts at the club. The auction site is live, and I would encourage whisky fans, rugby fans and collectors to take a look.”
Stephen Rankin, Director of Prestige at Gordon & MacPhail, added: “We are delighted to be part of the centenary celebrations at Highland RFC. Roy and the team do a phenomenal job promoting the game and coaching and supporting schools throughout communities in the Highlands. I hope this special bottle of Balblair helps raise funds for worthwhile charities, allowing them to continue their excellent work.”
Farquhar Laing, Director at Black Isle Bronze, described his involvement with Highland RFC: “I am a member of the club, a volunteer coach and by son plays for the Under-16s team. You can see our work all over the world, from Dallas in Texas to Dubai and of course here in the UK. Having created the line-out sculpture for Twickenham, we were only too happy to create something special for Highland RFC and hope it goes to a good home and raises a lot of money.”
Anyone wishing to bid for the plinth and the bottle of Balblair whisky can do so by visiting; https://uk.givergy.com/HRCAuction2022/?controller=lots&action=showLot&id=1 or by attending the Centenary Dinner in Inverness on August 13th. Tickets for the dinner can be purchased here and are on sale until August 1st.
The move will integrate the UK market into the global strategy for Gordon & MacPhail and Benromach whiskies going forward. David King, International Sales Director, will assume overall responsibility for global sales with the addition of the UK market to his existing international remit.
David King’s distinguished career in the whisky industry, has seen him hold a number of senior positions, both in the UK and internationally, for companies including the Edrington Group, Berry Brothers & Rudd and Anchor Distilling Co. He later founded DTK Beverages International Ltd, a boutique brand building and strategic consultancy before joining Gordon & MacPhail in 2016.
In his current role, David has refocused Gordon & MacPhail’s international sales strategy for both the Benromach and the Gordon & MacPhail single malt whiskies brand.
Ewen Mackintosh, Managing Director at Gordon & MacPhail, said: “The UK is an important single malt market and this is reflected in the expansion of David’s remit to include the UK as a key element of the company’s global sales strategy going forward. The restructuring of our sales division is part of the company’s long-term plan to build the reputation of the Gordon & MacPhail single malt whisky brand in the luxury sector while continuing to invest in marketing and brand building for Benromach across the world.”
In the UK, Stuart Ellis, UK Sales Manager, will now be the main contact for wholesale customers. Stuart joined Gordon & MacPhail in 2015 after spending more than 25 years in a range of account management positions in the UK market, including running his own distribution and online business. He will continue to utilise his strong experience in delivering effective account management for customers across the UK wholesale market.
The company’s award winning, UK wholesale division will focus on building sales of Gordon & MacPhail and Benromach whiskies alongside select distributor brands. The wholesale business also offers a complementary selection of premium spirits, coupled with product education and a focus on superior customer service.
The restructure follows the announcement in November 2017 of an overall sales increase of 10.8% to £28.3 million. International sales increased by 11.8% to £8.9 million and UK sales increased by 10.4% to £19.4m.
For more information, please contact Annie Diamond on email@example.com or 0131 228 9713.
Stephen will nurture and build relationships for Gordon & MacPhail’s range of single malt whiskies in the global luxury consumer market, focusing on the unrivalled rare and aged expressions within the company’s portfolio.
In addition to conducting premium tastings, attending events and working with trade customers, Stephen Rankin, formerly UK Sales Director, will host high-net worth consumers to help build their knowledge and support their exploration of the range of Gordon & MacPhail whiskies available.
Ewen Mackintosh, Managing Director at Gordon & MacPhail, said: “The appointment of Stephen is the next step in the company’s strategic plan to build Gordon & MacPhail’s growing reputation in the luxury sector.
“Over the next five years, the focus will be on building the premium credentials of the single malt whiskies within the portfolio.
“Stephen is ideally placed to grow the reputation of the brand on a global scale. As a fourth-generation member of the Urquhart family who own the company, his expertise, passion and understanding of both the industry and the whiskies will inspire customers and individuals across the world. He will build on his existing trade relationships and support new partnerships as we continue to support the brand’s reputation as a world leading whisky maturation expert.”
Stephen Rankin said: “It is a privilege to take on this new role as it provides a wonderful opportunity to share the story of our whiskies with new customers and consumers around the world.
“As we increase our profile in the luxury sector, we will be building key partnerships with organisations that share our passion for provenance, expertise, craftmanship and authenticity. We’ve recently invested in beautiful new facilities above our historic shop in Elgin’s South Street. As the emotional home of the brand since 1895, it is the ideal location to host premium tastings for key customers and consumers.”
Last month, Stephen Rankin selected and unveiled Private Collection Glenlivet 1943 by Gordon & MacPhail one of the world’s oldest and rarest single malt whiskies. In February 2018, visitors to Glasgow’s The Whisky Show: Old & Rare will have the opportunity to meet Stephen and sample a unique selection of limited edition vintages.
In March, Stephen will travel to the Young Presidents’ Organisation’s (YPO) global conference in Singapore to deliver an exclusive tasting of six carefully selected whiskies from consecutive decades, bringing together over 200 years of liquid history. In April, he will deliver a Masterclass at Nth 2018, a 4-day whisky extravaganza in the opulent surroundings of the Wynn, Las Vegas. Whisky aficionados travel from across the globe to taste, savour, discuss and learn more about rare whiskies from the world’s leading master distillers and maturation experts.
For more information, please contact Annie Diamond on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0131 228 9713.
24th November 2017
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