Keepers of the Quaich recently hosted its inaugural AUS/NZ Chapter Banquet Dinner.
On Tuesday the 24th September 2019, the Australian members of the Keepers of the Quaich, eight leading global Scotch Whisky Houses and key industry leaders & media, came together to celebrate and support the profile, future and growth of Scotch Whisky in Australia.
The Keepers of the Quaich is an exclusive and international society that exists to educate, celebrate and grow the Scotch Whisky category globally. The Keepers are the custodians of Scotch Whisky. The Keepers also recognise those who have made an outstanding contribution to Scotch Whisky around the world.
The event celebrated the rich history of Scotch Whisky and the contribution of the leading Whisky Houses, industry personnel and society members in growing and supporting the category in Australia.
Most importantly the event brought the industry together to connect, celebrate, collaborate and inspire the future of Scotch Whisky in Australia.
A ‘Night at Blair Castle’ was held at the historic and culturally significant Cell Block Theatre in Darlinghurst. The venue was transformed into an immersive space inspired by Scotland’s Blair Castle, the traditional spiritual home of the Keepers of the Quaich where new members are inducted into the society.
Uplit sandstone walls, rich velvet drapery and wild greenery, was set against modern décor to help create a magical and authentic atmosphere, designed to complement an evening steeped in tradition, ceremony and ritual, but contemporary in experience.
Guests were welcomed with pre-dinner arrival drinks under the stars, before being led by MC James Buntin, Prestige Whisky Ambassador, William Grant & Sons, and a bagpiper into the venue for a fully immersive whisky and culinary journey.
Colin Rochester, General Manager Australia New Zealand, William Grant & Sons, introduced and welcomed guests to the evening which would showcase the depth and diversity of Scotch Whisky with eight expertly paired whiskies from the world’s leading Scotch Whisky houses – Bacardi-Martini, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman, Campari, Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Spirits Platform and William Grant & Sons, who were the sponsors of the evening.
Brand ambassadors from each whisky house introduced and touched on the history, cultural significance and profile of their houses’ chosen whisky. Guests sampled each dram matched with a sensory food pairing.
MC James Buntin lead a spirted recitation of the Robert Burns poem ‘Address to a Haggis’, a traditional ceremony performed at Keepers of the Quaich banquet dinners, captivatingly enacted by James, the chef, the bagpiper and Michael Samios a Keeper’s of the Quaich society member.
Martin Smith was the guest speaker. He gave an incredible speech on the history and evolution of Scotland and the Scotch Whisky industry. A reminder of the incredibly rich stories, history, characters and craftsmanship that only Scotch Whisky can share.
The evening culminated with the reveal of the “Keeper’s Bar” surprise after-dinner whisky bar and lounge complete with a jazz duet, awaiting guests to enjoy relaxed conversation, fine drams and delicious whisky cocktails were a fitting finale to “A Night at Blair Castle”.
The Keeper’s Chapter Chairman and General Manager William Grants & Sons; Colin Rochester said “tonight’s inaugural Keepers banquet and celebration of Scotch Whisky was a tremendous success and a perfect start to a reinvigorated ANZ Keeper’s Chapter.
Ian Atherton, CEO of Spirits Platform was in attendance and stated it was a wonderful evening in support of Australian members of the Keepers of the Quaich. “It was an honour to be part of the inaugural AUS/NZ Chapter Banquet Dinner”, stated Ian.
Keepers of the Quaich – Scotch Whisky & Food Pairings included haggis paired with The Macallan Rare Cask. The Macallan Rare cask was poured over the haggis, a fitting ode to the Scottish traditional dish.