Abbot's Choice Profile

Blended Scotch Whisky

Over the years Scotch whisky has been bottled in everything from miniature golf bags to models of Nessie and Big Ben, so why not use a ceramic monk and employ his head as a stopper? Every time you felt like a dram you could decapitate the poor fellow and then put him back together again. Such was the thinking of John McEwan & Co Ltd of Elgin and Leith.

The blend may have contained Linkwood, which was licenced to John McEwan & Co by the DCL in the mid-20th century.

  • Production type
    Blended Scotch

Abbot's Choice History

According to the yellow, parchment-style labels of Abbot’s Choice, John McEwan & Co was established in Leith in 1863. The firm owned other blended whiskies including King George IV and Chequers, all of which have since been inherited by Diageo.

The brand was originally called ‘McEwan’s Whisky – the Abbot’s Choice,’ and dates from some time before World War II. Among its European markets was Italy where it was imported by the Brescia-based firm of Samaroli, while it was also exported to Latin America.

In 1937 DCL acquired John McEwan & Co and licensed its recently-acquired Linkwood distillery to the company.

A set of ceramic monks are part of the massive collection at Edinburgh’s Scotch Whisky Experience amassed by the Brazilian businessman, Claive Vidiz. The ‘Abbot’s Choice’ trademark was registered in the USA in 1953, and lapsed in 1995.

John McEwan & Co was eventually dissolved in 2010.


  • 1863 John McEwan & Co. Ltd is founded in Leith
  • 1937 John McEwan & Co is picked up by the DCL, and Linkwood distillery subsequently registered to it
  • 1953 The Abbot’s Choice trademark registered in USA
  • 2010 John McEwan & Co is dissolved


Current owner

Previous owner

  • John McEwan & Co

See also

  • Auchroisk Auchroisk Auchroisk Distillery & brand


    One of Diageo’s ‘nutty-spicy’ sites.

  • Benrinnes Benrinnes Benrinnes Distillery & brand


    A highly individual Speyside whisky.

  • Blair Athol Blair Athol Blair Athol Distillery & brand

    Blair Athol

    The home of Bell's blended whisky.

  • Caol Ila Caol Ila Caol Ila Distillery & brand

    Caol Ila

    Islay distillery belonging to Diageo.

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