World Whisky Day founder to attempt world record 'distillery dash' for charity

World Whisky Day founder, Blair Bowman, will attempt to visit a record-breaking 60 whisky distilleries across Scotland in one day while gathering a unique collection of whiskies to be raffled off for charity.

Published 4th Apr 2017
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The record attempt by Blair, who has just launched a new book dedicated to whisky, will be in support of international water development charity Just a Drop, which works with communities to deliver accessible, clean, safe water, and health and sanitation programmes to where they are needed most.

Taking place on Monday 15th May, the challenge is one of the many events taking place across the world to celebrate World Whisky Day on 20 May.

Blair and his support team will set off from the appropriately named Balblair Distillery in Ross-shire and finish around 17 hours later at Aberfeldy Distillery in Perthshire.

“It’s going to be a fantastic event,” said Blair. “As far as we are aware, no-one has attempted to set a record like this before and, despite meticulous planning, there is always a risk that we might not get to all 60 of the distilleries on the day.

"We can’t afford for a single thing to go wrong. It just needs a few tractors or caravans to hold us up and we will be under pressure.

“All the money raised will go to Just a Drop, which brings clean water to some of the poorest communities in the world. The word ‘whisky’ means ‘water of life’ in Gaelic, so this seems like an appropriate challenge and hopefully it will help raise a lot of money for such a deserving cause.”

The idea for the event came from Willie Wallace, who has been running whisky tours in Scotland for 20 years.

Just A Drop
Willie and Blair get ready for the challenge. Picture: WWD

Willie added: “When I first started doing whisky tours I always found it difficult to find places to visit on a Sunday.

“None of the visitors centres were open but one of the things our clients enjoyed was going on a distillery hunt. This usually involved spotting a plume of steam and then searching for the pagoda to go with it. It was amazing how often we found a distillery we hadn’t been aware of before.

"It was then I had the idea for this Challenge, so it’s been many years in the planning. I feel sure that, with the amazing support of the distillers and our other sponsors, we can make a difference to the fantastic work of Just a Drop and have some fun along the way.”

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The 60 distilleries taking part in the Great Whisky Distillery Challenge have been asked to donate a bottle of whisky, which will be collected on the day of the record-breaking attempt.

As not all the distilleries to be visited bottle their own-brand whisky, the team hopes to end up with around 50 bottles.

This unique collection of whisky will then be offered as the main prize in a raffle, with tickets costing just £1 each and all proceeds going to Just a Drop.

Scottish Routes, a tour company based in Edinburgh, has also kindly donated two four-day whisky tours for two people to Speyside as additional prizes.

Will Stockham of Scottish Routes said: “Being able to help such a great cause at the same time as promoting whisky tourism in Scotland was something that we just had to be involved in.

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"22 out of the 60 distilleries covered by the challenge have visitor centres that offer a wide range of great tours to suit all levels of whisky geekery.”

Ten more raffle winners will receive copies of Blair Bowman’s new book, The Pocket Guide to Whisky.  Blair has joined forces with Nikki Welch to produce the book, which is based around the innovative WhiskyTubeMap.

Fiona Jeffrey OBE, Founder and Chairman of Just a Drop, added: “The more money raised, the more communities we can support by providing access to one of life's absolute necessities: a supply of clean water, which empowers people to lead healthier, safer and more productive lives, so please dig deep and support this great event.

“As a fellow Scot and founder of a water charity, I also couldn’t be more proud for Just a Drop to be associated with this awesome challenge, as the relationship between water and whisky is so unique. I wish Blair and his team the best of luck and hope he manages to smash the record!”

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