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Issue 13 - A family affair

Whisky Magazine Issue 13
December 2000

 

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A family affair

Charles Maclean visits inverarity Vaults a family company which has already earnt quite a reputation for the quality of its whiskies

I first met Hamish Martin five years ago on a remote trout loch in south Ayrshire. I tell a lie: actually I met him the night before in the lodge. He arrived late for dinner with a friend after having driven an impossible distance in impossible time – it later transpired that he had made full use of his Land Rover's off-road capabilities (as I say, this was a very remote place). We sat up all night, the three of us. I was pretending, as usual, that I had the recovery co-efficient of a 20 year old (Hamish was 27 at the time), drinking huge amounts of The Inverarity and as a result spent much of the next day resting on the banks and small islands of the loch.

A year before this, Hamish had established Inverarity Vaults Limited – and herein lies the tale. Ronnie Martin, Hamish's father, was formerly a main board director of the Distillers Company, and later with its successor United Distillers, and had
responsibility for production. Following his retirement in 1990 he was awarded an OBE for his commitment to the quality of Scotch whisky and appointed Professor of Distilling at Heriot Watt University. In other words, he is a most experienced and distinguished member of the whisky trade.

Having completed a degree in Engineering at Strathclyde University, Hamish went to Sandhurst and was commissioned in the 2/9 Commando Regiment. He is, or was, a very keen rugby player and played for the Scottish Schoolboys XV: alas he tore his knee ligaments badly during a game at Sandhurst...

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