Scotch whisky stalwart Michael Urquhart appointed as 2021 president of the prestigious IWSC – Scotch Whisky News

Scotch whisky stalwart Michael Urquhart appointed as 2021 president of the prestigious IWSC 

-Former Gordon & MacPhail managing director to take up high-profile industry position-

Michael Urquhart, former managing director of family-owned Scotch whisky and premium spirits specialist Gordon & MacPhail, has been named 2021 president of the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC).

The IWSC’s president represents the organisation’s objective to promote the production of quality wines and spirits throughout the world.

From the beginning, IWSC says it has placed special emphasis on the analysis and independence of its judging process and it is now one of the oldest and most respected industry competitions. It has hundreds of international experts – including buyers, producers, distillers, sommeliers, distributors and influencers – judging wines and spirits throughout the year.

Michael replaces 2020 president Tamara Roberts, CEO of English wine producer Ridgeview. He is the first Scotland-based president since former chair and chief executive of Edrington Sir Ian Good who held the position in 2009. Other iconic members of the wine and spirits industries who have been president include Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, Wolf Blass, Robert Mondavi and Napa Valley winemaker, Warren Winiarski.

Michael retired as managing director of Elgin-based Gordon & MacPhail, the fourth-generation business owned by the Urquhart family, in 2014 and stepped down from the board in 2017 after serving over 36 years in the company.  He travelled extensively throughout the world promoting single malt Scotch whisky bottled by Gordon & MacPhail and also from the family’s owned distillery, Benromach.

Becoming president of the IWSC adds to the many accolades Michael has received as a result of his dedication to the Scotch whisky industry.  In 1999 he was made a Keeper of the Quaich and in 2012 a Master of the Quaich in recognition of services to the promotion of Scotch whisky worldwide. At the end of 2013, The Whisky Advocate, one of North America’s leading drinks publications presented Michael with a Lifetime Achievement Award.  He was also inducted to the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame in 2014.

Michael Urquhart said: “It’s a real privilege, and I’m humbled, to be chosen as president of such a prestigious organisation as the IWSC. I believe this is a reflection of Gordon & MacPhail’s standing in the drinks industry and I thank all those involved in our family business for their support and contribution to our success over the years.

“I’ve always had the greatest respect for the IWSC and the excellent work it does in maintaining and developing the high-quality reputation of the global wine and spirits industry. I’m very much looking forward to getting behind the IWSC and ensuring it continues to work in the best interests of the entire industry.”

Christelle Guibert, IWSC CEO, said: “We’re delighted to be able to name Michael Urquhart as our new president. The president is chosen for their stature and reputation in the wine and spirits industry, and Michael perfectly fits this remit. He has dedicated his life to representing high quality sprits, in particular Scotch whisky, through his family’s business, Gordon & MacPhail. We’re sure Michael will continue to build the excellent, long-standing reputation of IWSC.”

Ewen Mackintosh, managing director at Gordon & MacPhail, said: “We have seen first-hand how hard Michael has worked for our family business and on behalf of the Scotch whisky industry as a whole. This is yet more well-deserved recognition for Michael, and Gordon & MacPhail, and we’re sure he will be an excellent president.”


For more on IWSC please visit:

About Gordon & MacPhail

Gordon & MacPhail is a family owned premium spirits company based in Elgin, Scotland. Owner of Scotch whisky distillery, Benromach and The Cairn, Gordon & MacPhail is also a Scotch whisky maturation expert, the owner of Scottish Gin brand, Red Door and the operator of a wholesale business in the United Kingdom selling premium Scotch whiskies and spirits, along with a high-quality retail outlet.

Benromach Distillery

The company owns Benromach Distillery located in Forres in Moray.  Benromach Single Malt Scotch Whisky is handcrafted using traditional methods by a small team of distillers using the finest Scottish barley and the purest spring water from the nearby Romach Hills. The multi award-winning portfolio of single malts is enjoyed by whisky drinkers worldwide.

The company launched Red Door in the summer of 2018. Created at Benromach Distillery, this award winning, small batch Scottish gin now forms a strategic part of the company’s product portfolio.

The Cairn

Work commenced in July 2020 on the company’s second distillery, overlooking the River Spey towards the Cairngorms.  The new site will add further distillation capacity and brand ownership to the company’s asset base and is a key part of the plans to continue building a long-term sustainable business.  A high-quality visitor experience offering tours and tastings will also attract visitors from around the world.

Gordon & MacPhail Whiskies

Since the founding of the business in 1895, Gordon & MacPhail has sent casks to Scotch whisky distilleries throughout Scotland to be filled with new-make spirit, before being left to mature for many years either at the distillery or in their bonded warehouses in Elgin.  The Gordon & MacPhail portfolio offers some of the world’s most unique and rare Single Malt Scotch Whiskies to discerning whisky drinkers globally.

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