This venerable 19th century blend accompanied Shackleton to the South Pole.
Blended Scotch Whisky
Of all its many guises over the years from Sanderson’s Mountain Dew to Sanderson’s Special Reserve, the name survives as Sanderson’s Gold, which is still sold as a standard Scotch blend in African markets such as Cameroon and the Ivory Coast. The name is that of William Sanderson, the famous Leith blender who created Vat 69. The Sanderson’s blend has been part of DCL, now Diageo, for almost 90 years.
William Sanderson was one of the second division whisky barons in late Victorian/ Edwardian Edinburgh. His greatest creation, Vat 69 – launched in 1882, had become one of the best-selling blends in post-Prohibition America before his family firm was gobbled up by the Distillers Company in 1937.
By that point William Sanderson & Son had bought out another branch of the family, fellow Leith blender Robertson Sanderson Ltd, whose whiskies included Sanderson’s Mountain Dew. There was also a Sanderson’s Old Gold, which appears to be the precursor to the surviving Sanderson Gold blend that still carries William Sanderson’s signature.
- 1863 William Sanderson & Son is established in Leith
- 1882 The company creates the Vat 69 blend
- 1885 William Sanderson is a founding partner in the North British grain distillery in Edinburgh
- 1908 William Sanderson dies
- 1935 William Sanderson & Son merges with Booth’s Distilleries
- 1937 The combined company is absorbed into the DCL