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John A. R. Macphail


1923 - 2004

Rugby internationalist and businessman. Born in Singapore, the son of a Scottish stockbroker, he was educated in South Africa and, from 1932, at the Edinburgh Academy. He played rugby at school and between 1949-51 was representing his country.

Macphail became a leading light of the Scotch Whisky industry, serving as Director of Arthur Bell & Sons in Perth and, from 1962, Executive Director of Robertson & Baxter and Highland Distillers (better known today as the Edrington Group) in Glasgow. He served as Chairman of Robertson & Baxter, and of their charitable owners, the Robertson Trust, until his retiral in 1993. He was also Chairman of the North British Distillery in Edinburgh (part-owned by Robertson & Baxter). He joined the Council of the Scotch Whisky Association in 1964, became its Chairman in 1983 and was a founding director of the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre (now the Scotch Whisky Experience) on Edinburgh's Royal Mile. He was awarded a CBE in 1988.

The John Macphail Rugby Scholarship is offered annually by the Robertson Trust in his memory.


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