Janet Sheed Roberts

By Rob Allanson
A treasured living link with the heritage of William Grant & Sons Ltd has been lost with the recent death of Janet Sheed Roberts at the age of 110. Mrs Roberts died peacefully at her home, Hazelwood House, near Dufftown on Friday 6th April, and as the last surviving grandchild of William Grant, she retained memories of the Glenfiddich distillery founder from her youth.

As Janet Gordon she was born in the Cabrach schoolhouse a few miles from Dufftown on 13th August 1901, and both Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities featured in her education. She studied law at the latter, where she met her future husband, fellow lawyer Eric Roberts, who went on to become Chairman of William Grant & Sons Ltd.

At the time of her death, Mrs Roberts was the oldest person in Scotland, and a commemorative release of just 11 bottles of 55 Years Old Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve was produced to coincide with her 110th birthday. These are currently being auctioned on a non-profit basis for the benefit of various charities.

The first bottle realised £46,850 at Bonham’s whisky auction in Edinburgh last December.

Grant’s is a family-owned company which cherishes its history, and the direct and tangible association between Janet Sheed Roberts and William Grant was considered uniquely precious. Her indomitable and enduring spirit will be much missed by her many surviving family members and friends.