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Aberlour church prepares to launch limited edition whisky


By Sarah Rollo

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A SPEYSIDE church is launching its own limited edition whisky.

St Margaret's, in Aberlour, will unveil the St Margaret of Scotland bottling at this May's Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

Just 260 bottles of the cask strength single malt from Auchroisk will be available, each signed and numbered.

Members of St Margaret's Church Angus Findlay (right) and Chris Peel with two of limited-edition bottles. Picture: Eric Cormack.
Members of St Margaret's Church Angus Findlay (right) and Chris Peel with two of limited-edition bottles. Picture: Eric Cormack.

The whisky, chosen unanimously at a blind tasting by a panel of experts, celebrates the life of St Margaret and also honours the Speyside church, which was once the chapel for Aberlour Orphanage. All profits will go to St Margaret's, which continues to be a lively place of worship.

Born in about 1043, Margaret married King Malcolm III of Scotland and had considerable religious influence. A Patron Saint of Scotland, she is also the Patron Saint of the homeless, orphans, insane, midwives, penitents, single mothers, reformed prostitutes, step-children and tramps.

The church itself was built between 1875 and 1879 to the design of Alexander Ross thanks to benefactor Margaret Macpherson Grant, who also funded the orphanage.

She sadly died before the project was completed, but Charles Jupp, her personal chaplain, became the first rector of the church and warden of the orphanage.

The orphanage, which was home to some 5000-6000 children, closed in 1967 and all the buildings were pulled down, except the church and clock tower.

Member Angus Findlay said: "With the departure of the children, the church of course lost most of its congregation. Many old boys and old girls, their relations and descendants visit St Margaret’s, the only part of their childhood home that survives.

"The small congregation believe that they owe it to them to keep this beautiful building in good order. More funds are always required, hence the launch of the whisky."

Just 260 bottles of St Margaret’s whisky will be up for grabs.
Just 260 bottles of St Margaret’s whisky will be up for grabs.

The tasting notes show luscious fruits on the nose. Hearty Oak spice emerges to balance the initial sweetness, presenting a slowly drying, fruity finish with a hint of dried fruit and nut. Distilled in 2010 and matured in a bourbon cask, it was reracked in a port cask.

The launch will take place at Craigellachie Village Hall on May 1. A bottle will then be auctioned at the whisky auction, also at the Craigellachie Hall, on Sunday, May 3.

Thereafter, the whisky will be available to buy from the Highlander Inn in Craigellachie, priced at £85.

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