South African Keepers of the Quaich series

Introducing Mike Orrey

Mike went to Cape Town at the age of 17 from the Eastern Cape and studied Graphic Design and Marketing, then started his own Marketing business at 29 year of age. He was fortunate to work with the liquor industry where he discovered Scotch Whisky. He and a friend started the Whisky Life Festival in South Africa which afforded him exposure to the people, brands and stories in this wonderful category.

Today he has returned to Bushman’s River in the Eastern Cape, where he continues to do tastings and spread the gospel of Scotch Whisky.


He was elected to become a Keeper in 2009 but was unable to travel to Blair Atholl Castle, Scotland to the next induction, due to the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland in April–May 2010 and was eventually inaugurated in 2011.

Mike Orrey | Keeper of the Quaich

In 1999, Mike was sent on a ‘J&B 1779 Society’ trip to Drummuir Castle, Scotland whilst working on the brand. Here the love of Single Malts and the art of blending captured his interest. The traditions, the skill, the spirit and the people all made a huge impression and the real love for whisky was ignited.


Years of whisky tastings on the stands at the Whisky Live Festival enabled him to meet and influence many visitors. It was particularly rewarding when the same visitors came back year after year, having started their own whisky journeys and spoke with knowledge and passion about their newest discovery and their ever growing collections.


Mike has been very fortunate to have shared a dram or two with some icons of the Scotch Whisky fraternity. In no particular order; Robert Mc Elroy, Christopher Martin, Innes Shaw, Billy Walker, Dennis Malcolm, Dave Broom, John Gazer, Ian MacMillan, Richard Patterson, Charlie McLean and a few other folk who got lost in the haze of good fellowship and a wonderful dram.


Being a Keeper of the Quaich is a great honour and Mike continues to actively promote the wonders of Scotch Whisky wherever an opportunity arises.

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