Charles MacLean

November 15, 2019


One of the founders and Directors of MacLean & Bruce is the world-renowned whisky expert Charles MacLean.

Charles has spent the last 40 years writing and teaching about Scotch Whisky.  With 17 books on the subject under his belt, Charles is recognised across the globe for his expertise, and travels throughout the world for tastings, teachings, judgings, writings, speeches and to conduct memorable masterclasses. Charles advises the major whisky companies on cask selection and flavour profiling,

We asked Charles to give us a few thoughts on our favourite place - and his - Scotland.

Where did you grow up and what was it like?

I was born in Glasgow, but was raised in Kildonan, Isle of Arran, where my family had a holiday cottage. From childhood, my two brothers and I played around in boats - sailing, fishing , lobster-potting - running wild in the surrounding hills and beaches. An idyllic childhood.

Can you remember your first dram?

No. But I do remember being overwhelmed when I was serving drinks at our cottage to my parents’ friends, when my father was commodore of a sailing regatta.

Who is your favourite Scottish hero or heroine?

I would love to have met Robert Burns, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Tommy Dewar, Mary Queen of Scots.

What Scottish foods pair best with whisky?

Depends on the style of the whisky, but haggis, mutton pies, oysters, smoked fish, game.

Do you have a favourite spot or view in Scotland?

So many! Bennan Head (Arran), Maclean's Nose (Ardnamuchan), Loch Nedd ( Sutherland), and the view from my flat in Edinburgh

What is your favourite season?


If you had only one day in Scotland where would you spend it?

Here in the Gloucester Embassy, Edinburgh (This is Charlie’s home!)
 Charles’s three sons, Ewan, Jamie and Lachlan, are shortly to depart on a unique adventure - their aim is to become the first three brothers (and the youngest trio) to row across the Atlantic Ocean for The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, a 3,000 mile rowing race across the Atlantic Ocean from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean.
In doing so the boys will be raising as much money and awareness as possible for two important charities, Feedback Madagascar & Children 1st.

The MacLean brothers, Jamie, Ewan and Lachlan who make up team BROAR, will be the first 3 brothers to row any ocean as they take on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge this December.

Find out more about Charles's sons' extraordinary adventure here