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Icons of Whisky Scotland 2015

We are delighted that the voting process for our Icons of Whisky Scotland awards have not only been very popular within the whisky industry but in certain categories the results too, have been very close.

This year we have introduced a new nominations and voting process which has been a great success in helping us to discover those hidden gems.

The Icons reward the people and places behind these great whiskies, and it is our privilege to celebrate all those companies and individuals who deserve recognition for their continued dedication within the Scotch whisky industry. We hope you will join us in congratulating all the winners.

Distillery Manager of the Year

Georgie Crawford - Lagavulin Distillery

Georgie has been involved in the whisky industry since 2002, but it was when working at Talisker in 2007 that she set her heart on moving into production. While undergoing intensive training, she was approached about a move to Islay as the manager at Lagavulin. Georgie was brought up on Islay and was delighted to make the move back. She says, “Being here at Lagavulin is like being reconnected with a big extended family you didn’t realise you had. Everyone looks out for each other and is genuinely interested and passionate about the product we make here, which I love.”

Highly Commended
Michael Heads - Ardbeg Distillery

Other Nominees
Alan Winchester - The Glenlivet (Chivas Brothers)
Alistair Longwell - Ardmore Distillery
Bob Dalgarno - The Macallan Distillery
Callum Fraser - Deanston Distillery
Dennis Malcolm - Glen Grant Distillery
Gordon Bruce - Knockdhu Distillery
Graham Eunson - Tomatin Distillery
John Campbell - Laphroaig Distillery
John MacDonald - Balblair Distillery
John MacLellan - Kilchoman Distillery
Keith Cruickshank - Gordon & MacPhail

Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year

Susan Colville - Benromach Distillery

With a wealth of experience in the whisky industry, Susan is busy making her mark on the Benromach Distillery visitor centre. After studying in Glasgow, she returned to the region to pursue her flourishing career. As Brand Home Manager, Susan is the welcoming face of the distillery, offering tales from her travels and stories of her life growing up in Speyside. The distillery centre team, with Susan at the helm, offers a rare experience. You can enjoy a unique and personalised tour, followed by a dram and chat.

Highly Commended
Jackie Thomson - Ardbeg Distillery
Stuart Cassells - Glenturret Distillery

Other Nominees
Annette MacKenzie - The Glenmorangie Company
Annett Schied - Edradour Distillery
Boa Andersson - Strathisla Distillery
Charlotte Brown - Dewar's Aberfeldy Distillery
Iain Allan - Glen Moray Visitor Centre
Pat Retson - Highland Park
Raphael Marinoni - A. D. Rattray's Whisky Experience and Whisky Shop
Tanya Fraser - Old Pulteney

Whisky Ambassador of the Year

Stephen Marshall - John Dewar & Sons

Stephen has around 15 years experience in the industry in Scotland which began when he joined the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in 2003. Since 2005, he has worked for John Dewar & Sons and has been Global Marketing Manager for the last two years. His passion is endearing, showing excitement as he delves into the history of this fine Scottish export. 2008 saw Stephen launch Dewar’s Discovery, the company’s global education programme. His students learn the art of tasting and the complexities of blending.

Highly Commended
Donald Colville - Diageo
Ann Miller - Chivas Brothers

Other Nominees
Colin Dunn – Diageo
Daryl Haldane - Highland Park
Ewan Gunn – Diageo
Fred Laing - Douglas Laing
George Grant – Glenfarclas
Ginny Boswell - Wemyss Malts
Ian Logan - Chivas Brothers
Ian Millar – Glenfiddich
Iain McCallum - Morrison Bowmore
Jacqueline Sutherland - Wemyss Malts
James Robertson – Tullibardine
Karen Fullerton - The Glenmorangie Company
Louisa Young - Arran Whisky
Mark Watt - Cadenhead's
Richard Paterson - Whyte & Mackay
Ronnie Cox - The Glenrothes
Stewart Buchanan - The BenRiach Distillery Company
Tom Jones – Diageo

Whisky Brand Innovator of the Year

William Grant & Sons

For five generations, William Grant & Sons has been distilling some of the world’s finest brands of Scotch whisky and in recent years added Irish whiskey distiller, Tullamore D.E.W. to its portfolio. William Grant’s dream was to produce the ‘best dram in the valley’, and the company continually strive to innovate with award winning brands. Among these is the ‘more than original’ Monkey Shoulder Triple Malt Whisky, and that’s before we mention the fine array of other spirits including gin, rum and tequila.

Highly Commended
Compass Box Whisky Company

Other Nominees
Chivas Brothers
The Edrington Group
The Glenmorangie Company
Inver House Distillers
John Dewar & Sons
The Lost Distillery Company
Maverick Drinks

Whisky Distiller of the Year

Benriach Distillery Company

The BenRiach Distillery is located in the ‘Heart of Speyside’ and was built by John Duff in 1898. It stands apart from other distilleries in the Spey Valley thanks to the traditional floor maltings and its distinctive pagoda style chimneys. The uniqueness of BenRiach is a result of a combination of skills and ingredients, the distinctive copper stills and the high quality barrels used for maturation. The BenRiach produces an impressive range of Scotch whiskies. Whatever your preferred style, there is something to suit all tastes.

Highly Commended
Glenfarclas Distillery

Other Nominees
Benromach Distillery
Berry Bros. & Rudd
Chivas Brothers
Edradour Distillery
The Edrington Group
The Glenmorangie Company
Ian Macleod Distillers
Inver House Distillers
John Dewar & Sons
Springbank Distillery
William Grant & Sons

Whisky Retailer of the Year - Multiple Outlets

Cadenhead's Whisky Shop

Established in 1842, Cadenhead’s is Scotland’s oldest Independent Bottler. So where better to buy a bottle of house-blended whisky than from one of their charming, old-fashioned stores. Cadenhead’s Whisky Shops are praised for their selection and depth of knowledge on all things whisky. They stock everything from big brand whiskies to the smaller Scottish distilleries. Your bottle will be poured straight from the barrel and they will be happy to let you try before you buy.

Highly Commended
Luvians Bottle Shop

Other Nominees
Robert Graham

Whisky Retailer of the Year - Online

Royal Mile Whiskies


Whether you are after a special gift idea, or just your favourite dram, you are sure to find it in this superb online store. Royal Mile Whiskies offers a fine selection of whiskies from all over the world as well as an A to Z of other spirits ranging from Absinthe to wines. However, the clever interactive map of Scotland featured throughout the site proves that this is far from just a retailer. You need never mix up a Speysider from an Islander again. Royal Mile Whiskies will educate even the most novice of whisky drinkers.

Highly Commended
The Green Welly Stop

Other Nominees
Abbey Whisky
Robbie’s Whisky Merchants
The Whisky Barrel

Whisky Retailer of the Year - Single Outlet

Gordon & Macphail

James Gordon and John Alexander MacPhail opened their first store on 24 May, 1895 on South Street, Elgin. It is still going strong to this day and is known for the aroma of home cooked local gammon and cheese which greets customers on arrival. The store boasts a Whisky Room which stocks around 1,000 different single malts attracting people from all around the world. This ‘Aladdin’s Cave of whisky’ is a must see, especially if you are after the very old or rare.

Highly Commended
The Whisky Shop Dufftown

Other Nominees
A. D. Rattray's Whisky Experience and Whisky Shop
The Drambusters
The Good Spirits Company
The Green Welly Stop
Robbie's Whisky Merchants
Royal Mile Whiskies
Viscount Wines and Liquor

Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year

The Famous Grouse Experience

The Famous Grouse Experience has recently completed a massive renovation project to further improve this already excellent attraction. Following the upgrading of facilities, the new-look visitor attraction was opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge where they were given a tour and bottled their own Glenturret whisky. The attraction celebrates the distillery’s continued use of traditional methods and is recognised for its outstanding level of customer service.

Highly Commended
Dewar’s World of Whisky

Other Nominees
A. D. Rattray's Whisky Experience and Whisky Shop
Ardbeg Distillery
Balvenie Distillery
Ben Nevis
Benromach Distillery Visitor Centre
Deanston Distillery
Edradour Distillery
GlenDronach Distillery
Glenfiddich Distillery
Glenglassaugh Distillery
Glenmorangie Distillery
Glen Moray Distillery
Laphroaig Distillery
Oban Distillery
Scotch Whisky Experience
Speyside Cooperage Visitor Centre
Springbank Distillery
Strathisla Distillery