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Charles MacLean bottles inaugural whisky for charity

The Maclean Foundation has released its first charity whisky to raise funds for communities without access to clean water.

Charles MacLean and his three sons have bottled an Ardnamurchan six-year-old single malt for charity

The charity, set up by whisky writer Charles MacLean MBE and his three sons Ewan, Jamie and Lachlan MacLean, was created to raise money for clean water projects.

The whisky is a six-year-old single malt from Ardnamurchan; 243 bottles have been created, with proceeds from sales going to clean water projects in Madagascar.

For each bottle of the whisky sold, at least one person will have clean water for life.

Charles MacLean said: “The Maclean Foundation is my legacy. This is just the beginning of a long-term partnership with the Scotch whisky industry to turn donated casks into clean water.

“The Scotch whisky industry has allowed me to make a living out of something I love, and it has made me very many friends. Inspired by my three sons working together, putting my knowledge and experience at the service of others to create long-term positive change is my way of saying thank you.

“We believe in our mission wholeheartedly. Big or small, every act of compassion, every act of adventure can make a change.”

The Ardnamurchan Six-Year-Old sits at 58.6% ABV and has been aged since 2017 in American oak first-fill barrels.

It is said to possess maritime aromas along with linseed oil and a suggestion of ‘vanilla cream biscuit’. Its palate is ‘creamy’ in texture and ‘sweet’ in taste, with a mouth-cooling after-taste of Sichuan pepper.

On the whole, it’s described as ‘classic west Highland’ in its flavour profile, and there is a purchase limit of one per buyer for £115 (US$145) per bottle via the Royal Mile Whiskies website.

On making the whisky, Alex Bruce, managing director of Ardnamurchan Distillery, located in Glenbeg on Scotland’s west coast, said: “This cask was one of the standouts of our last blending session – we always end up with one or two which are just too individually interesting to go into the vat.

“This is a quality limited edition, produced in an ex-Bourbon cask with a seal of approval from our long-standing sensory mentor Charles MacLean, so we expect there to be high demand.”

The charity aims to provide clean water for people in developing countries

‘Clean water for life’

MacLean’s sons are also record-breaking rowers and spent 35 days at sea for the 2020 Atlantic row, raising £205,000 (US$259,411) for the charity – in turn also becoming the first three brothers to row any ocean, as well as the fastest and youngest to do so.

Lachlan said of the project: “Access to clean water is a basic human need, yet for many communities in rural Madagascar, it remains a luxury. During our visit last year, we saw first-hand the impact boreholes have on people’s lives.

“It costs £6,000 [US$7,600] to build and maintain a clean water borehole that can serve 200 people for up to 100 years. Since 2009, our partner Feedback Madagascar has drilled and installed over 300 boreholes in the region – through our work, we’ll continue to add to that total.

“With each bottle sold, we’ll give people clean water for life by funding the drilling and construction of boreholes, creating long-term positive change for communities. Among many other things, this will transform quality of life, reducing the incidence of diarrhoeal disease.”

Last September, the foundation created a whisky auction of ‘highly collectable’ Scotch bottlings and raised £67,934.44 (US$86,000) – the auction included a Port Ellen from 1979 and a 36-year-old Glengoyne from the Russell Family cask.

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