The personal collection of ex-chairman of Allied Distillers, Andrew Dewar-Durie CBE, is going up for auction. The collection features special limited edition bottlings giving collectors the opportunity to discover rare ‘industry-only’ bottles from the late 20th century.
The whisky industry saw perpetual changes in ownership toward the end of the 20th century and Dewar-Durie’s career closely tracked those defining moments, ‘After ten years in the army I joined White Horse Distillers in 1968 as an Export Representative, staying with them until 1983. Our brands were White Horse and Logan De Luxe. I then moved to Long John Distillers owned by Whitbread, as International Sales Director. Our principle brands were Long John, Plymouth and Seagers Gins, Laphroaig and Black Bottle.’
In 1987 Whitbread bought Beefeater and Long John Distillers was absorbed into James Burroughs Distillers Ltd. Dewar-Durie became Sales Director and then went on to become Managing Director in 1990. In 1991 Whitbread sold James Burroughs Distillers to Allied Lyons, later Allied Domecq, Dewar-Durie added: ‘James Burroughs Distillers lost its whiskies to Allied Distillers Ltd in Scotland but added Lambs Navy Rum ,Tia Maria and Kahlua to its portfolio. I became its CEO from 1990 to 1991.’
Dewar-Durie then became Managing Director of Allied Distillers based in Dumbarton, responsible for production, sales and marketing for the full range of Allied’s Scotch whiskies which including Laphroaig, Ballantine’s, Teachers, Long John and Stewart’s Cream of the Barley. He took over as Chairman in 1997.
Upon reflection of his career Dewar-Durie said, ‘I have been a very lucky man to have enjoyed such a wide variety of experiences involving so many wonderful people in the Scotch Whisky and International Spirits Business’.
We take a look at some of the bottles which shaped his long and distinguished career.
We have seen single casks of Glendronach 1968 25 Year Old bottled for the US market and for All Nippon Airways, but this bottle aged in sherry cask 2628 and bottled at 49% ABV is exceptional. It was specially presented to Andrew Dewar-Durie by his colleagues on the Board of Allied Distillers Limited at Glendronach Distillery on 28 October 1999.
These two whiskies, Abbot’s Seal 15 Year Old and Durie Dram, were chosen by Dewar-Durie in his role as Chief of the Durie Family. Bottled by Adelphi Distillery Ltd., they were sold only to members of the Durie Family Association. Abbot Durie’s Seal 15 Year Old Malt was discontinued in 2018 but the Durie Dram blend continues to be produced.
Laphroaig 1989 Single Islay Malt Scotch Whisky, distilled in December 1989 and specially bottled in November 2002 to mark the retiral of Iain Henderson, Laphroaig Distillery Manager from 1989 to 2002. This bottle is signed by Iain Henderson. Dewar-Durie overlooked Laphroaig Distillery as part of his role as Managing Director and then Chairman of Allied Distillers in the 1990s.
In 1993 Andrew Elgin, The Earl of Elgin and Kircardine (another old Fife Family) asked Dewar-Durie to produce a special bottle to be given to the guests attending a banquet which he organised in Dunfermline Abbey to celebrate 900 years of Queen, later St. Margret. This is an original sample bottle of the liquid, drawn on 8 October 1993.
Dewar-Durie’s predecessor as MD of Allied Distillers was Alistair Cunningham, who served 50 years in the Company. This bottle and packaging was created exclusively for his retiral and contains a blend of fifty malt whiskies and Dumbarton grain whisky.
After the purchase of James Burrough Distillers by Allied Lyons, bottling of Beefeater was moved from London Road in Glasgow to Dumbarton. Dewar-Durie was present when this Beefeater Last Bottling At Westthorn 1992 was drawn from the final run.
In July 2009, the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs for the first time organised a convention in the Edinburgh Parliament. Dewar-Durie was a member of the Executive and asked Adelphi to produce a whisky to mark the occasion. A limited run of 100 bottles of Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs 12 Year Old from an undisclosed Speyside distillery were sold.
In 1998 the joint venture between Allied Domecq and Suntory marked its 10th Anniversary. Dewar-Durie arranged a celebration event at Hopetoun House in Queensferry, Edinburgh. Harmony 10 Year Old whisky was a limited run created for all the guests.
John MacDonald was Managing Director of Tomatin for a time and a well-known, popular figure within the Scotch whisky Industry. These bottles were given out at his retiral dinner.
In 2011 Dewar-Durie’s regiment, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, returned from a tour in Afghanistan and were invited by the Provost of Dumbarton to March through the town. As an Ex Argyll himself, Dewar-Durie was asked to take the Salute. At a reception afterwards, the Provost gave each soldier a bottle of Auchentoshan 14 Year Old Provost’s Homecoming.
Aquired by Dewar-Durie during his brief stint as CEO of James Burroughs Distillers, this Alfred Lamb’s rum was distilled in Jamaica on 22 June 1939 and matured in three puncheon casks in Dumbarton in the Highlands of Scotland.