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Craig Athol Profile
Blended Scotch Whisky
In its brief life the Craig Athol blend sported a variety of different age-statements, from none at all to a 5-year-old, 12-year-old and a special clear-glass, decanter-shaped bottle for a 20-year-old bottling. Today it appears as a rarity on whisky auction websites, often with an Italian strip stamp, and dated from the 1970s and ‘80s.
Craig Athol History
The clue to the origins of this blend lies in the name Athol, or rather Blair Athol, the ancient Perthshire distillery near Pitlochry. In the 20th century it became a core malt in the Bell’s blend and was finally purchased by Arthur Bell & Sons in 1933 as a closed distillery that was not reopened until 1949.
In 1973 the flamboyant Raymond Miquel became the firm’s MD, and it may well have been him who launched the Craig Athol blend along with ‘The Blair Athol Highland Malt’. Both whiskies were labelled with the words: ‘Matured, blended and bottled in Scotland by The Atholl Distilleries Ltd, Pitlochry’, and both were sold in Italy.
Yet they were but a tiny distraction to the Bell’s blend, which surged to become the UK’s most popular Scotch whisky in 1978. Seven years later the company was wrestled out of Miquel’s hands in a hostile takeover by Guinness and subsequently became part of Diageo.