In Scotland this week, with son Will….learning about what the whisky business is doing these days. (They’re all doing v well). I don’t really recognise it as the business I knew in the old days.
I got married in Scotland and Barbara’s family origins are up near Inverness. I learnt a lot from her Dad; Old Harry (we still sell his blended malt) who worked as Factor for the Duke of Sutherland and told stories of how, at the Estate annual dinner, everyone had their own individual bottle of malt whisky sat beside their plate. Having done a Hogmanay or two up there; that’s not hard to believe.
In the ‘70’s I thought I’d like to take cases of a good malt or two over to France on my return journeys. B and I set up a new company;‘Scotland Direct’. Didn’t work. Distilleries were forbidding shut dark places. The only people who had a range of malt whiskies in cask were Gordon and McPhail way up in Elgin. So I drove up there in the van with Denis G the Frenchman who was going to do the selling. They were charming to us but wouldn’t sell me a single cask. All were reserved, in those days for the local Lairds. That’s what they said. Maybe they just didn’t like the look of me in my van!