South African Keepers of the Quaich series
Introducing Ray Edwards
Today we are chatting to Ray Edwards in our Keepers of the Quaich series, when asked what are his passions? He explains, “My passions are Scotch Whisky and the wild wild outdoors. There is no better setting to enjoy a dram than a chilly evening in the African bush with a blended malt in hand.” His home is located above the Kloof Falls KZN, where he has a magnificent cellar with his collection of scotch and wonderful red wine. Think its time we stop by for a visit?
His passion for Whisky started very early in his life after growing up in a passionate scotch home. His parents enjoying a Vat 69 or White Horse in those days. Attending The Rugby World Cup hosted in the U.K and Famous Grouse being a sponsor (based in Edinburgh) in 1991 enabled him to really get started on his wonderful scotch journey.
We, WhiskyLive SA, were also very fortunate that Ray was most active in the initial years of our Whisky Live shows through his liquor retail career keeping up the momentum. His passion had grown and morphed into malt thus cementing his appetite for Whisky after acquiring the SA distributorship of Tomintoul, Benromach, Speyburn and Balblair for the Tops chain which was headed up by Ray.
Ray was inducted as a keeper during 2009, which he recalls, being #2000 and as part of the induction they attended the spring banquet at Blair Castle.
Blair Castle stands in its grounds near the village of Blair Atholl in Perthshire in Scotland. It is the ancestral home of the Clan Murray.
We asked Ray, what are his most treasured memories or moments; he says “There is no real stand out story from my scotch journey because all the stories and experiences were special, from salmon fishing on the Avon, hip flask in hand, to the many road trips around the distilleries of Scotland, as well as meeting the legends of the industry, dining in their homes and sharing cask tastings with them in the dunnage.”
We do learn that there are some stand out moments; Ray says, “I guess my biggest thrill was sharing knowledge and experiences with young enthusiastic visitors to my show stands or master classes over the years.” All we can say is how lucky are those folk to have had the privilege of sharing stories and hearing the expertise of a Keeper.
Our last question to Ray, was, who is the most famous person you have had a whisky with? Ray tells us that at his induction, Mr John Howard the PM of Australia 1996 to 2007 was the guest speaker. Ray says, “We all enjoyed a dram with him after the banquet but over the years a dram with Rod Sweeney, Peter Gordon and Brian Kinsman of W Grants was wonderful.”
Thank you, Ray, for sharing your story with us – what a privilege and honour to have the opportunity to speak to these incredible Whisky aficionados.
Look out for our stories on two of SA’s Masters Pierre Meintjes and Karen Chaloner to follow next week.