Maclean Foundation launches charity Scotch whisky to support clean water projects

Maclean Foundation launches charity Scotch whisky to support clean water projects

The single malt from Ardnamurchan, available through Royal Mile Whiskies, is the first whisky release from the Maclean Foundation and will raise money for clean water projects in Madagascar

News | 02 Apr 2024

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Scottish charity the Maclean Foundation, co-founded by Scotch whisky commentator and writer Charles Maclean, has launched a limited-edition charity whisky supporting clean water projects in Africa.


The 6-year-old single malt from Highland distillery Ardnamurchan is the first release by the Maclean Foundation, which was founded by Charles Maclean and his sons, world-class rowers Ewan, Jamie, and Lachlan. Charles worked with Alex Bruce, managing director of Ardnamurchan's owner Adelphi, to select the cask for the charity bottling. 


In total 243 bottles, at cask strength of 58.6% ABV, are being made available through Royal Mile Whiskies for £115 per bottle. All profits from sales will go to fund clean water projects in Madagascar.


Charles said: “The Maclean Foundation is my legacy. This is just the beginning of a long-term partnership with the Scotch whisky industry to turn donated casks into clean water.


“The Scotch whisky industry has allowed me to make a living out of something I love, and it has made me very many friends. Inspired by my three sons working together, putting my knowledge and experience at the service of others to create long-term positive change is my way of saying thank you. We believe in our mission wholeheartedly. Big or small, every act of compassion, every act of adventure can make a change.”



Ewen, Jamie, Charles, and Lachlan Maclean with a bottle of the Maclean Foundation's new charity Scotch whisky

Bruce at Ardnamurchan added: “This cask was one of the standouts of our last blending session — we always end up with one or two which are just too individually interesting to go into the vat. This is a quality limited edition produced in an ex-bourbon cask with a seal of approval from our longstanding sensory mentor Charles Maclean, so we expect there to be high demand. 


“The boys' adventurous spirit and Charlie's considered craft is a winning combination. We’re proud to be able to support them on their journey.” 


The release features a wrap-around label from Edinburgh-based branding agency Contagious, with each bottle bearing a QR code that can be scanned for further information about the whisky and the clean water projects funded by its purchase.


This is the Maclean Foundation's third major fundraising initiative since it launched in 2023: in August, the Maclean brothers completed a cycle and row to every distillery currently selling whisky in Scotland, while Charles raised more than £65,000 through an auction of “very rare and highly collectable” spirits including a unique Port Ellen from 1979 and a 36-year-old Glengoyne from the Russell family cask.


Lachlan said: “Access to clean water is a basic human need, yet for many communities in rural Madagascar, it remains a luxury. During our visit last year, we saw first-hand the impact boreholes have on people’s lives.


“It costs £6,000 to build and maintain a clean water borehole that can serve 200 people for up to 100 years. Since 2009, our partner Feedback Madagascar has drilled and installed over 300 boreholes in the region — through our work, we’ll continue to add to that total.”

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