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SPECIAL REPORT: Whisky Awards announced

International Beverage, Alan Winchester, Malts of Scotland and Ian Millar of William Grant & Sons were recognised in Whisky Magazine's top awards.

The finest products, companies and individuals were recognised at one of Whisky Magazine’s most prestigious awards ceremonies held at the Surgeons’ Hall, Edinburgh on Friday December 2, 2016.

Whisky author and writer Charlie MacLean, hosted a lunch for the Scotch whisky industry alongside Whisky Magazine's managing editor Rupert Wheeler, and Scotland contributing editor Gavin D Smith. Guests made the journey from all across Scotland, including the Islands, to take part in the celebrations.

During the afternoon, three of the magazine’s top awards were presented including:

  • Icons of Whisky Scotland 2017
  • Independent Bottlers Challenge 2016
  • Hall of Fame

Icons of Whisky Awards recognise and celebrate the finest companies and individuals in the whisky industry. With the India and Rest of World regional winners already announced, the time has come to reveal those receiving an award in the Scotland stage.

Regional winners of each category will battle it out against each other for the overall Global title, judged by the magazine’s expert editorial panel and announced at the Whisky Magazine Awards dinner in London.

Rupert Wheeler, managing editor, Whisky Magazine says: "As managing editor of Whisky Magazine, it is a privilege to be involved in these awards. Our Independent Bottlers Challenge rewards the independent companies that play such an important part in producing a unique range of whiskies while the Icons of Whisky pay tribute to the expertise that go into each bottle of scotch.

"Our Hall of Fame recognises those people who have made a longstanding contribution to the world of whisky. I would like to congratulate both Ian Millar and Charles MacLean on being inducted this year. I first met Charlie in Bengaluru, India in 2014 where we were presenting the Icons of Whisky India awards. I have never witnessed a more appreciative audience as when Charlie addressed the haggis. A superb evening enjoyed by so many whisky enthusiasts... that’s what whisky is all about.

"And finally I would like to thank the international panel of judges and our sponsors for helping make these awards so worthwhile and rewarding."


Distiller of the year sponsored by Glencairn Crystal

Winner: International Beverage (Inver House Distillers)

Highly Commended: Beam Suntory


Brand Innovator of the year sponsored by Multi Packaging Solutions

Winner: Tomatin Distillery Company

Highly Commended: Douglas Laing & Co


Visitor Attraction of the year sponsored by Christie’s

Winner: Highland Park Distillery

Highly Commended: Speyside Cooperage Visitor Centre


Craft Producer of the year sponsored by Wade

Winner: Glasgow Distillery Company

Highly Commended: Arbikie Highland Estate


Master Distiller / Master Blender of the year

Winner: Alan Winchester, The Glenlivet Distillery

Highly Commended: Dr Craig Wilson, Diageo


Distillery Manager of the year sponsored by Broxburn Properties

Winner: Keith Cruickshank, Benromach Distillery Company

Highly Commended: Gordon Bruce – Knockdhu Distillery


Scotch Whisky Brand Ambassador of the year sponsored by Procurus

Winner: George S Grant, J&G Grant (Glenfarclas)

Highly Commended: Gordon Dundas, Beam Suntory


Visitor Attraction Manager of the year

Winner: Rikki Scott, Aberlour Distillery

Highly Commended: Leigh Aitken, Lagavulin Distillery


Multiple Outlets Retailer sponsored by Amrut Distilleries

Winner: Robert Graham

Highly Commended: Drinkmonger


Single Outlet Retailer of the year

Winner: Gordon & MacPhail

Highly Commended: Royal Mile Whiskies


Online Retailer of the year

Winner: Royal Mile Whiskies,

Highly Commended: Robbie’s Whisky Merchants,


Travel Retailer of the year sponsored by Steklarna Hrastnik

Winner: World of Whiskies, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports

Highly Commended: The Fly Nip Whisky Shop, Inverness Airport


Supermarket of the year

Winner: Tesco

Highly Commended: Lidl

For full Icons of Whisky results including shortlists, go to



Non-Scotch Independent Bottler of the year

Celtic Whiskey Shop


Campbeltown Independent Bottler of the year

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society


Grain Independent Bottler of the year

Malts of Scotland


Highland Independent Bottler of the year

Douglas Laing & Co


Islands Independent Bottler of the year

That Boutique-y Whisky Company


Islay Independent Bottler of the year

Malts of Scotland


Lowland Independent Bottler of the year

The Vintage Malt Whisky Company


Speyside Independent Bottler of the year

Malts of Scotland



Malts of Scotland

This independent bottler is based in Germany and has distributors worldwide. The company offers a range of highly exclusive whiskies from over 80 Scottish distilleries to the trade, whisky clubs and to individuals. Malts of Scotland provides a cask selection service with a tasting in the warehouse. If required, the team will produce individually labelled bottles complete with club, company or hotel logo.



Charles MacLean

Author & Writer




Ian Millar

Prestige Whisky Specialist

William Grant & Sons

5 December 2016 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, editorial assistant