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Issue 10 - The original Mrs doubtfire

Whisky Magazine Issue 10
June 2000

 

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The original Mrs doubtfire

A woman's touch has made Drambuie the force it is today, with a little bit of help form Bonnie Prince Charlei. Tom Bruce Gardyne sheds light on some legendary characters.

Million dollar secret of the Cannie Wee Grannie by Herbert Kretzmer, blazed a 1961 headline in the US Sunday Dispatch. “ ... a little Scots grannie with snow-white hair and forget-me-not blue eyes .. [who] .. seems so frail, so wispy “.

The interview took place up the Eiffel Tower and its subject was Gina MacKinnon who, for all Kretzmer's gushing prose, refused to divulge him the secret of her millions, the recipe for
making Drambuie.

Sales of the famous whisky liqueur were then booming and Mrs MacKinnon was reaping the rewards of years of flag-bearing for the family firm. It was thanks to her, and her late husband Malcolm, that Drambuie was truly propelled onto the world stage. But perhaps one should start with Bonnie Prince Charlie, indeed given the strength of the brand's Jacobite connection, the ‘link with the ‘45', it would be hard not to.

On the 16 April, 1746, the battle of Culloden put a brutal end to Charles Edward Stewart's attempt to regain the throne. Now all was lost and as the Duke of Cumberland's dragoons bayoneted the wounded where they lay, Charles fled to the Western Isles. A reward of £30,000, an incredible £15 million in today's money, was placed on his head. He was accompanied by a much diminished band of followers to be passed from one friendly local to the next as Cumberland's men closed in and set fire to the homes of any suspected Jacobite.

On the evening of the 2nd July with a Captain Malcolm Macleod, he landed on Skye's Troternish ...

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