The Duke, who in Scotland uses his official Scottish title The Duke of Rothesay, toured the Highland distillery with the local team. His Royal Highness was hosted by Mick Ord, director of operations, Kwanele Mdluli, distillery manager, and Pom Nijs, assistant visitor centre manager.
During his visit, The Duke met with many members of the Glen Garioch distillery and visitor centre teams, along with Beam Suntory’s chief supply chain officer, David Hunter, president of brands, Jessica Spence, and managing director of gin & Irish, Francois Bazini.
The Duke was given a tour of the distillery, invited to nose new make of the direct-fired distillation as well as whisky from a 1990 bourbon hogshead, and taste whisky drawn from a 1978 bourbon cask. Subsequently, as a gift from the distillery, His Royal Highness was presented with a 1978 bottle of Glen Garioch, signed by master blender Ron Welsh.
During the visit, The Duke unveiled a plaque dedicated to Alexander (Akki) Manson, a direct descendant of the distillery’s original founders. During his life, Mr Manson was known for carrying forward the entrepreneurial spirit of his family and regularly spent time with the local team. Mr Manson’s son, Sandy Manson, Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, accompanied His Royal Highness on his tour.
The occasion was also marked by the signing of a cask containing spirit from Glen Garioch’s new direct-fired still, which will be bottled and sold after optimum maturation of the whisky, with all proceeds being donated to a charity to be named in due course.
The current renovation project at Glen Garioch includes the reintroduction of floor maltings as well as the installation of direct-fired heating to the wash still – traditional methods still used by only a handful of distilleries. To complement this return to tradition, Glen Garioch has developed a highly efficient and safe method for direct-fired distillation, which is expected to reduce the distillery’s carbon footprint by around 15 per cent..
Kwanele Mdluli, Distillery Manager of Glen Garioch, commented: “We were very proud to welcome The Duke of Rothesay to Glen Garioch for the first time. It was an honour to introduce him to our skilled and dedicated team, and to share our beloved small batch Highland malt with him. With our return to traditional processes and our sharp focus on sustainability, Glen Garioch is opening a new chapter in its history. We were delighted to introduce His Royal Highness to our historic distillery and outline our vision for a more sustainable future – and most of all, to share a dram with him. We look forward to welcoming him again soon.”