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Ian Urquhart: 1948-2024

Ian Urquhart, a member of the third generation of Urquharts to lead Gordon & MacPhail, has died at the age of 76. Urquhart passed away March 15 in Elgin, Scotland. He was the eldest son of “Mr. George” Urquhart, and led the company as managing director from 1990 until 2007, when he retired to become non-executive chairman of the family-owned firm.

Ian Urquhart was responsible for Gordon & MacPhail’s acquisition of the mothballed Benromach Distillery in 1993 and its subsequent refurbishment. He presided over the distillery’s reopening in 1998 during a ceremony attended by then-Prince Charles, and was on hand when the first spirit flowed from the stills at the family’s new Cairn Distillery in 2022.

Urquhart also served as chairman for many years of the family’s other enterprise, the cashmere producer Johnstons of Elgin. He and his brother Michael were honored with the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in Queen Elizabeth’s 2022 Platinum Jubilee honors for their services to the Scotch Whisky industry. Urquhart also received a lifetime achievement award from the Spirit of Speyside Festival, which he helped create 25 years ago.

Ian Urquhart is survived by his wife Nichola, his son Neil, who currently serves as non-executive chairman of Gordon & MacPhail, his daughter Jenny, his brother Michael and sister Rosemary Rankin, and five grandchildren.

Photo courtesy Gordon & MacPhail.