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Issue 12 - The hunt for liquid gold

Whisky Magazine Issue 12
November 2000


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The hunt for liquid gold

Hundreds of people renning around the Scottish highlands searching for 1000 hidden bottles of single malt? Surely not? Maxwell Macleod decides whteher this is actually whisky myth or legend

First take one thousand bottles of prime Scotch malt whisky, provided free by someone in the industry as an advertising gimmick, and then put them in some remote Highland glen. Then, whisky hidden, you privately publish your first novel which contains clues on how to find the cache with the assurance that whoever finds the treasure will be able to keep it all.

Add a number of tantalising press releases, a dash of juicy hearsay about whisky fanatics getting into a lather and hey presto! You are a published novelist with your name in the papers and, presumably, all set for a hefty advance for your next novel.

A deliciously marvellous recipe for an electricly-charged, literary whisky cocktail and it was invented by a man called Richard Henderson. To make things even more explosive, he announced that there was to be a time limit. If the treasure wasn't found by the end of 1999 all of those hunting for the whisky would be guided to a location that would host the millennium party to cap all millennium parties.

This was the ingenious wheeze of Henderson, a middle-aged former prep school teacher, contrived in the late nineties and resulting in his novel - Chasing Charlie.

It was an idea that certainly caught the imagination of the media that he hates with a passion. Within months of publication it was being widely reported that 15,000 copies of the book had been sold and that the Highlands were alive with what were unfortunately termed ‘Charlie Chasers' - whisky hunters to...

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