Murray McDavid

The independent bottling company Murray McDavid was founded in 1994 by Springbank’s Gordon Wright alongside Simon Coughlin and Mark Reynier, the owners of London wine merchants La Réserve, with the Murray McDavid moniker coming from Reynier’s grandparents’ surnames. The company's logo gave a hint...

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The independent bottling company Murray McDavid was founded in 1994 by Springbank’s Gordon Wright alongside Simon Coughlin and Mark Reynier, the owners of London wine merchants La Réserve, with the Murray McDavid moniker coming from Reynier’s grandparents’ surnames. The company's logo gave a hint of their maverick nature - a West Highland terrier along with the motto 'Clachan a Choin', a loose Gaelic translation of The Dog's Bollocks.

Murray McDavid were among the first independent bottlers to commit to bottling their products at a minimum strength 46% and reject the use of colouring or chill filtration. The combination of Wright’s contacts and knowledge of the whisky business with Coughlin and Reynier’s experience in wine broking was a winning one, and the company was soon bottling top class malts from Springbank (of course) and other blue chip distilleries including Macallan, Bowmore, Glen Grant and Laphroaig. 

The latter drew the ire of Laphroaig’s owners Allied Distillers, who refused Murray McDavid permission to use their distillery name on subsequent Laphroaig bottlings, leading to the launch of the famous ‘Leapfrog’ editions in 1999 and 2000. The Leapfrog bottles turned into a marketing triumph for the Murray McDavid brand and Allied soon relented, but Murray McDavid rather spoiled things by naming their next Laphroaig bottlings The DD Cup, spreading a derogatory rumour about the circumstances surrounding Bessie Williamson’s inheritance of the distillery.

Having lost out to Glenmorangie in the sale of Ardbeg in 1997, Murray McDavid bought the dilapidated Bruichladdich distillery in 2000 and began an expensive and complex restoration project. With Duncan McGillivray and Jim McEwan at the helm, the resurrected Bruichladdich quickly became a spectacular success. Reynier and McEwan embraced the emerging trend for wine-finished whisky with great enthusiasm, taking advantage of Reynier and Coughlin’s contacts to source top class wine casks for the majority of Murray McDavid and Bruichladdich’s new releases.

Gordon Wright departed from Murray McDavid to found his own company The Alchemist in 2005, and in 2012 Bruichladdich and Murray McDavid were acquired by Rémy Cointreau, with Reynier leaving to found Waterford distillery in Ireland and Coughlin taking his place as CEO of Bruichladdich. Rémy sold Murray McDavid in 2013 to the commercial whisky broking and bottling company Aceo Ltd, who moved the company to their warehouse at the former Coleburn distillery and have continued to bottle mostly wine-finished single malts.

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