Whisky Magazine Issue 69
This article is 6 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.
Copyright Whisky Magazine © 1999-2014. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.
Ian Buxton looks atone of whisky's more influential yet unassuming gatherings.
Why would more than a hundred of the most powerful international executives in the Scotch whisky industry gather in private in a Highland Castle?
Why would they need the last private army in Europe to stand guard?
What is the mysterious ‘Grand Quaich' which forms the centrepiece of their arcane rituals? And who is ‘Fear an Tigh' who presides over the ceremony?
It all sounds quite suspicious, like a Masonic gathering or some secret society or international conspiracy.
Perhaps they are there to force us to drink more whisky, or to put up prices, or for other more sinister purposes.
However, the truth can now be revealed.
I've simply described the activities of the Keepers of the Quaich, an exclusive international society honouring those who recognise the nobility of Scotch whisky by working, writing or speaking on its behalf.
It's not sinister at all, simply an up-market device to promote Scotch whisky and for the industry to honour and thank those who work to promote it. In addition, the society makes charitable donations to good causes which benefit Scotland and its people.
SO WHAT DOES IT DO?
The Keepers meet twice a year at a simple but dignified ceremony in Blair Castle to introduce those who have been invited to join their ranks, followed by a grand banquet in the traditional Scottish style. It's a wonderful opportunity to meet old friends, make new ones and, of course, conduct some business and see a little of Scotland.
At Blair Castle they are greeted by t...