Sunday, January 29, 2017

What will be Donald Trump's next ripples in the Scotch whisky pond?

Donald Trump's ownership of two golf courses in Scotland has provided occasion for bumps with the world of Scotch whisky in the past.  Now that he is President of the United States, are the opportunities for news multiplied?

A few years ago, President Trump was engaged in conflicts with landowners over his Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He built walls between his resort and some of these adjacent landowners (seriously!), and according to at least one account that I have read did indeed send one of them a bill in connection with the work!  One of the defiant landowners, Michael Forbes, was voted "Top Scot" by the Scottish people in the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards.  In typical Trump fashion, he not only lashed out at the landowner with insults but, ignoring the fact that the contest was the result of a vote of the Scottish people and out of the hands of the owners of Glenfiddich, issued a statement reading in part:

“To think that a product like Glenfiddich would recognise a man like Michael Forbes, who
lives in a property which I have accurately described in the past as a total pigsty; a man who loves the attention he has gotten because of his so-called fight with Donald Trump, would receive an award over someone like Andy Murray, a Scot, Olympic Gold Medal Winner, and the first British man to win a Grand Slam title in 76 years.  Glenfiddich should be ashamed of themselves for granting this award to Forbes, just for the sake of publicity. 

"Glenfiddich is upset that we created our own single malt whisky using another distillery, which offers far greater products. People at our clubs do not ask for Glenfiddich, and I make a pledge that no Trump property will ever do business with Glenfiddich or William Grant & Sons. I hereby call for a boycott on drinking Glenfiddich products because there is no way a result such as this could have been made by the Scottish people. It is an insult to both Andy Murray and Scotland itself.

“Glenfiddich’s choice of Michael Forbes, as Top Scot, will go down as one of the great jokes ever played on the Scottish people and is a terrible embarrassment to Scotland. If Glenfiddich had integrity, they would investigate who voted, and would find that the votes formed part of an organised campaign with multiple votes made by a small group of detractors who are angry that they not only lost, but lost so badly.

Wow, sound familiar?

The single malt referenced in Mr.Trump's statement comes from GlenDronach distillery.  Just over 500 bottles of 26 year-old GlenDronach were bottled as "Trump Scotland Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky" to celebrate the opening of Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire, and a few of the bottles were signed by Donald Trump.  Of course, his recent election to the office of President of the United States spiked interest in these bottles, one of which was recently sold at auction for the sum of  £6,000, more than double the pre-auction estimates.  I wonder how much it would have fetched if it had also been signed by Michael Forbes?

Anyone care to speculate about what will be the next occasion in which President Trump is in Scotch whisky-related news?

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