Tuesday, 25 February 2014 20:19

Raising a toast

Charles Grant Gordon, the father of Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky, died on December 21, 3013. He was 86 years old. He was a passionate yachtsman owning several yachts and participated and competed in the ocean racing Admiral’s Cup. 

The achievements of Charles Grant Gordon, also known as Charlie and often called Mr Scotch Whisky by his peers, were celebrated at recent international memorial services in New York and Scotland.  The services raised a toast to his commitment to innovation and the contribution he made to the global spirits industry.

 

Starting Young

At the age of six, Charles Grant Gordon told his father that he wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a distiller. Before he could do that, he was called for his national service in June 1945 and at 18 joined the Royal Navy to fight during the Second World Water. After the ceasefire Charles or Charlie, went back to his first love – the distillery. However, he never lost his love for travel or adventure.  He had learnt to sail in the early 1930s and it went on to become a lifelong passion that saw him compete in the ocean racing Admiral’s Cup and own many of his own yachts. It was also befitting that he made his last transatlantic crossing at the age of 85 years and that too at the helm. 

Charles displayed the same tireless dedication and commitment when it came to promoting his family company. He along with his brother Sandy turned a small family run company into the one of the world’s leading producers of Scotch whiskies. In fact, it was Charles’ passion and innovative nature led him to launch Glenfiddich, the single malt Scotch whisky. Glenfiddich with its distinctive and iconic triangular bottle marked the beginning of the single malt category. The brand remains the world’s most awarded single malt. He also pushed the global development of William Grant & Sons’ brands, while spearheading the acquisition of an American import house, the first of its kind in the industry, moving control of distribution and sale into company hands.

The pioneering element that Charles possessed is also evident from the opening of the William Grant’s & Sons visitor centre in 1969, the first distillery in Scotland to do so. The visionary was also a large personality to his family, friends and all he met.  Like the spirits he introduced and promoted, he remained spirited to the end!

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