It is now pretty general news that tradition was set aside for the naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth with Scotch Whisky and not Champagne.
It was the Queen who decided to break a bottle of Scotch Whisky on the bow of the 65,000 ton ship instead of the traditional Champagne. The ship was built in Scotland so only correct that a bottle of Scotch Whisky should be used. The Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers was invited to arrange for such a bottle and Liveryman
, Mike Keiller, the CEO of Morrison Bowmore, rose to the challenge with a bottle of Bowmore “Surf”. Believing the reference to the sea was applicable.
The Master represented the Company at the ceremony, but at a dinner hosted by the Secretary of State for Defence in London on Tuesday night ahead of the naming. The Lord Mayor of London passed the bottle of Bowmore Surf Single Malt Scotch Whisky into the care of the Commanding Officer of the ship, to mark the formal affiliation of HMS Queen Elizabeth with the City of London. The SofS and the First Sea Lord, both thanked the Worshipful Company of Distillers and Morrison Bowmore very publicly for their contribution to this historic and unique event. The 200 guests also enjoyed a Bowmore 25 y/o at the end of the dinner.
There are those in Scotland who have criticised the choice as Bowmore has been owned by the Japanese whisky distillers, Suntory since 1994. Some wags thought it was rather apt that the launch was attended by a Conservative PM ( SunTORY and a TORY PM !)
The First Sea Lord, Sir George Zambellas was born in Shabani in the then Rhodesia and started school at Shabani Primary. My first wife, Kathy was also born in Shabani and went to the same school !!