Iona Profile

Blended Scotch Whisky

Not to be confused with the recent Iona bottling of Tobermory malt, this blend would have been lost to the confines of history were it not for the fact that the brand’s creator spent a fair bit on advertising. It is safe to say that Auchentoshan malt would have provided the heart to this less-than-Hebridean dram.

The brand was widely advertised in the south of England during its heyday, and must have been a common sight in pubs, clubs and restaurants.

Iona eventualy disappeared in the 1960s.

  • Production type
    Blended Scotch

Iona History

George and John MacLachlan formed a partnership in 1888 some 20 years after first venturing into business with £100 of capital. They operated the Castle Brewery in Maryhill and later built another at Duddingston near Edinburgh.

In 1903 the company moved into distilling by acquiring Auchentoshan distillery. After incorporation in 1907, Auchentoshan remained with MacLachlans until the early 1960s. The Iona brand was created around 1905 and was immediately widely advertised in the UK national and local (West of Scotland) press. It was also supplied to the House of Lords. Perhaps the most memorable advertising tagline for the blend was: ‘Once taken, never forsaken’.

In 1920 The Graphic carried a fulsome testimonial that ‘those who seek a tonic beverage of the highest Standard, will find it in Iona, combining as it does characteristic quality with distinctive flavour’.

By the mid-1930s the sell had become a little harder with one long-running advert in the Motherwell Times proclaiming that Iona was available at 10½ years of age, 30º under proof and 12/6d a bottle.

The brand was still available in the 1950s but bottles were extremely hard to come by. In 1964 G&J MacLachlan sold Auchentoshan distillery to J&R Tennent, which in turn became part of brewer Charrington united Breweries. The distillery was sold again in 1969 to wine and spirit merchant Eadie Cairns Ltd.

The brand was probably withdrawn sometime in the 1960s.


  • 1903 G&J MacLachlan acquires Auchentoshan distillery and by 1905 had created the Iona brand of blended Scotch
  • 1963 MacLachlans sells its whisky interests and brands to brewer J&R Tennent, which is flipped to Charrington United Breweries
  • 1967 Charrington merges with Bass and Mitchell & Butlers to form Bass Charrington
  • 1969 Auchentoshan distillery is sold to Eadie Cairns Ltd


Maclachlans logo

Current owner

  • Maclachlans 1905 - 1960s

See also

  • Auchentoshan Auchentoshan Auchentoshan Distillery & brand


    Lowlands malt distillery that exclusively triple distils its spirit.

  • Tobermory Tobermory Tobermory Distillery & brand


    Mull's only Scotch distillery.

  • Eadie Cairns Eadie Cairns Eadie Cairns Blender

    Eadie Cairns

    Glasgow-based pub-operator that was formerly associated with distilling and blending.

  • Mansfield Brewery Company Mansfield Brewery Company Mansfield Brewery Company Blender

    Mansfield Brewery Company

    Now a subsidiary of Marstons, this brewer and blender used to create the Ben Royal blended Scotch.

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