MacNair's Profile

Blended Scotch Whisky

MacNair’s was the eponymous blend of Harvey MacNair and Company of Glasgow and London, which owned Benromach distillery during the First World War. Its ownership passed to Hiram Walker, then Allied Distillers and finally Pernod Ricard. In 2012 its new owner revamped the packaging and released it with a competitive price to take on rival blend Label 5 in French supermarkets. MacNair’s Special Reserve is also available in Poland.

Quite possibly a flagship blend for Harvey MacNair & Co. quite early on, of which there is little information available, the modern incarnation is bottled at 40% abv and features a high proportion of malt whisky. 

  • Production type
    Blended Scotch

MacNair's History

Little is known about Harvey MacNair and Co’s early years, except that it was established in 1857. By 1911, the year the firm acquired the Benromach distillery near Elgin, its registered office was 5 Dixon Street, Glasgow, now a hair extension clinic.

The company was eventually incorporated in 1931, and at some point was swallowed up by the big Canadian distilling firm of Hiram Walker-Gooderham & Worts, which actively began buying into Scotch whisky, including Ballantine’s, after the repeal of US Prohibition in 1933.

MacNair’s Highland Whisky was being promoted in Mexico in the 1950s as the perfect base for a Highball Escoces (Scottish Highball), with the promise of no headache to follow. The brand became part of the Allied Distillers portfolio, and thence Pernod Ricard in 2005.

MacNair’s Special Reserve was given a new lease of life in 2012 with a new rectangular bottle and bold, white-on-black label. 

Timeline

  • 1857 Harvey MacNair and Company Ltd. is established in Glasgow
  • 1911 The firm acquires the Speyside distillery of Benromach
  • 1919 Harvey MacNair and Co. sells Benromach distillery
  • 1987 Allied Lyons PLC gains control of Hiram Walker
  • 2005 Allied Distillers and its brands, including MacNair’s, are acquired by Pernod Ricard
  • 2012 MacNair’s is given a modern makeover, featuring in a new rectangular bottle

Owners

Parent company

Current owner

Previous owners

See also

  • Hamish Robertson and Company Hamish Robertson and Company Hamish Robertson and Company Blender

    Hamish Robertson and Company

    Glasgow-based blender and bottler of Consulate and Highland Reserve Scotch whisky blends.

  • Kintocher Whisky Co Kintocher Whisky Co Kintocher Whisky Co Blender

    Kintocher Whisky Co

    Owner of a variety of export Scotch brands and a subsidiary of Acredyke Whisky Ltd.

  • Seven Eleven Seven Eleven Seven Eleven Brand

    Seven Eleven

    Scotch blend created for the Italian market by the Tanist Bonding Company of Glasgow.

  • R Thorne and Sons R Thorne and Sons R Thorne and Sons Blender

    R Thorne and Sons

    Long-lost distiller and blender that operated out of Greenock, London and Dublin.

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