All in the Fam­ily

DINE and Destinations - - TRAVELS - By Sara Wax­man

“There is a fond­ness in so­ci­ety for the fam­ily busi­ness,” said Wil­liam Grant. With his fam­ily of nine—seven sons and two daugh­ters—grant might have built a soc­cer team to play Scot­land’s na­tional sport. But he had nur­tured a dif­fer­ent dream—to make “the best dram in the val­ley.”

The ar­ray of glass bot­tles sparkle se­duc­tively be­hind the bar in my neigh­bour­hood lounge. One stands out in its per­fec­tion, the tri­an­gu­lar bot­tle of Glen­fid­dich, cre­ated by 20th cen­tury de­signer Hans Sh­leger, which he based on three nat­u­ral el­e­ments: wa­ter, air and malted bar­ley.

I order Glen­fid­dich, neat, with a side of wa­ter and earn im­me­di­ate re­spect from the bar­tender. I hold the drink up to the light and ad­mire the golden red hue. Then, the nose. I sense an in­trigu­ingly com­plex aroma of sweet heather honey and vanilla fudge com­bined with rich dark fruits. After this “ap­pre­ci­a­tion,” I slowly savour the smooth, re­veal­ing lay­ers of sherry oak, marzi­pan, cin­na­mon and ginger. It is a mo­ment worth re­peat­ing. And so, after din­ner, I ask for Glen­fid­dich 15 Year Old Sol­era, dark choco­late and cof­fee with cream.

I have tasted cen­turies of his­tory, en­cap­su­lated in this glass of sin­gle malt Scotch whisky.

“There is a fond­ness in so­ci­ety for the fam­ily busi­ness,” said Wil­liam Grant. With his fam­ily of nine— seven sons and two daugh­ters—grant might have built a soc­cer team to play Scot­land’s na­tional sport. But he had nur­tured a dif­fer­ent dream—to make “the best dram in the val­ley.”

And so, in the sum­mer of 1886, the fam­ily be­gan build­ing a dis­tillery, stone by stone. Glen­fid­dich (Gaelic for Val­ley of the Deer) opened a year later and at Christ­mas, the first drops of sin­gle malt Scotch whisky fell from the cop­per stills.

Fast-for­ward to the volatile 1920s. Pro­hi­bi­tion and the U.S. Fed­eral Agents headed by El­liot Ness grabbed news­pa­per head­lines. But in Scot­land, Wil­liam’s grand­son, vi­sion­ary Grant Gor­don, fore­saw the fu­ture and sur­prised the in­dus­try by in­creas­ing pro­duc­tion. The fam­ily pros­pered.

It was not un­til the 1960s and the rad­i­cally chang­ing times that Sandy Grant Gor­don be­came a global tastemaker. The great grand­son of Wil­liam Grant pro­moted Glen­fid­dich abroad, and in­tro­duced the world to the Scot­tish se­cret, sin­gle malt whisky.

In ev­ery gen­er­a­tion, the Grant fam­ily val­ues have gone from strength to strength. As a ges­ture of recog­ni­tion to Grant’s grand­daugh­ter, 11 bot­tles of the Glen­fid­dich Janet Sheed Roberts Re­serve 55 Year Old Scotch were pro­duced. In Oc­to­ber 2012, bot­tle #11 of 11 pro­duced, sold at auc­tion for char­ity for $52,000 and set a new record for Canada.

With this gen­er­ous do­na­tion, Glen­fid­dich made a com­mit­ment to an­other fam­ily, Wounded War­riors Canada, the coun­try’s num­ber one in­de­pen­dent mil­i­tary char­ity. Its pri­mary fo­cus is on men­tal health, and of­fers Canada’s first-ever Vet­eran’s Tran­si­tion Pro­gram. The fundrais­ing is on­go­ing. Two dol­lars for ev­ery bot­tle of the Glen­fid­dich 15 Year Old Sol­era sold across Canada is do­nated to Wounded War­riors Canada. A to­tal of $131,616 was pre­sented to the Pro­gram in No­vem­ber 2013, and this com­mit­ment con­tin­ues into 2014 and beyond.

“A com­mit­ment to fam­ily and a pi­o­neer­ing spirit has al­ways been at the fore­front of our re­la­tion­ship with Glen­fid­dich,” says Phil Ralph, Na­tional Pro­gram Di­rec­tor of Wounded War­riors Canada, “and their fundrais­ing sup­port pos­i­tively af­fects the lives of Cana­dian Forces Mem­bers and their fam­i­lies in a pro­found way.”

And there is more: With the help of Glen­fid­dich’s sub­stan­tial do­na­tions, Wounded War­riors Canada has be­come the leader in fund­ing An­i­mal As­sisted Ther­apy Pro­grams for PTSD through Can Praxis Equine and Coura­geous Companions PTSD Ser­vice Dogs. Par­tic­u­larly, with the Equine pro­gram, they use walk-along ex­er­cises, with horses, to pro­vide prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ences of in­ter­per­sonal com­mu­ni­ca­tion, prob­lem solv­ing and team­build­ing. These ac­tiv­i­ties pro­vide the frame­work through which par­tic­i­pants as­sess and ad­dress their own needs, and be­gin the jour­ney of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. To this day, Glen­fid­dich re­mains the world’s most awarded and best-sell­ing sin­gle malt scotch, and re­mains, all in the fam­ily.

Glen­fid­dich Malt Mas­ter - Brian Kins­man

Above: Beth-anne Thomas, Na­tional Brand Man­ager -Glen­fid­dich presents Scott Maxwell, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor - Wounded War­riors Canada with a do­na­tion cheque worth $131,616.00 from the 2013 Glen­fid­dich Pro­gram.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.