Without whisky Prince Albert of Monaco and Alex Bruce, a descendant of Robert the Bruce would never have met. It was Adelphi whisky, bottled in Charlestown, Fife that brought the two together; the Monagasque royal buys whisky from Alex who manages the company. Scotland’s national drink could be the unsung hero of international relations.
When Alex heard that the Prince,who loves Scotland, was doing a private tour with Princess Charlene, he invited him to plant a tree at the site of Adelphi’s new distillery which will open early 2014 at Glenbeg on the Ardnamurchan peninsula. As the most westerly point of mainland Britain the new distillery is not the most accessible place but Alex believes the site will produce extraordinary whisky. The water there is as pure as it can be, coming straight down from the hills and flows over plenty of peat along the way. Fortunately it also happens to be on the estate of one of Adelphi’s owners, Donald Houston. Both Houston and joint owner, Keith Falconer went shopping for a hogshead of whisky (250 litre cask) in 2004 and came back with a whisky company instead.
Charles Maclean also helps host Adelphi’s annual event when importers from all over the world travel to Scotland to sample the new casks. During the weekend the international guests also sample some of Scotland’s tourist attractions; last year they took a trip on the ‘Harry Potter’ steam train. One of Adelphi’s main importers is Taiwan – one of the most educated whisky markets in the world. The Keepers of the Quaich, an organisation that recognises services to the whisky industry, now has enough members in Taipei to be able to hold a dinner there and Alex, a Keeper of the Quaich since 2006, was invited.
Whisky’s role in international relations have come along way since Joseph Hobbs smuggled it from Scotland to America via Canada during prohibition. Perhaps it wasn’t quite the meaning that Compton Mackenzie intended but these days whisky does indeed make the world go round.