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Charity whisky proves to be the water of life


Profits will fund clean water projects in Madagascar

A new limited edition charity whisky is now available – and every bottle sold will give at least one person clean water for life. 

The Ardnamurchan six year old single Highland malt is the first release by The Maclean Foundation, the Scottish charity founded by author Charles Maclean MBE and his three sons, world record-breaking rowers Bristol-based Ewan,  Jamie (Glasgow) and Lachlan (Edinburgh).

The Maclean brothers’ father Charlie, who is one of the Scotch whisky industry’s most respected figures, worked with Ardnamurchan’s managing director Alex Bruce to select the cask, which was then donated to the charity. 

The 243 bottles bottled at cask strength (58.6% ABV) are available from today via Royal Mile Whiskies for £115 per bottle, with a limit of one per buyer given the expected interest in the release. All profits raised will fund clean water projects in Madagascar, which is among the world’s poorest countries. 

Edinburgh-based whisky writer Charles Maclean MBE, who starred as Rory Macallister in Ken Loach’s award-winning film ‘The Angels’ Share’, 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.”

Alex Bruce, Managing Director of Ardnamurchan Distillery,  which is situated half way along the peninsula in the small village of Glenbeg on Scotland’s West Coast, added: “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 longstanding sensory mentor Charles Maclean, so we expect there to be high demand. 

“The boys' adventurous spirit and Charlie's considered craft is a winning combination. We’re proud to be able to support them on their journey.” 

The Maclean Foundation’s first release is adorned by a unique wrap-around label created by Edinburgh-based branding agency Contagious. The label allows Charlie the space to passionately articulate the story of the whisky which the drinker can explore while enjoying a dram. A unique holographic QR code on each bottle can be scanned for further information, allowing buyers to learn about the clean water project funded by their purchase.

Youngest brother Lachlan said: “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 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.”

This is the third major fundraising initiative since the charity launched less than a year ago:  the Maclean brothers, the first three brothers to row across any ocean, completed a cycle and row to every distillery currently selling whisky in Scotland in August while Charlie raised £67,934.44 for the new family charity through the auction of “very rare and highly collectable” spirits — including a unique Port Ellen from 1979 and a 36-year-old Glengoyne from the Russell Family cask. 

This marks the beginning of a long-term campaign, with many more Maclean Foundation whisky releases on the horizon, all to raise money for clean water projects in developing countries and all available from



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