Charles MacLean is a writer whose special subject is Scotch, about which he has published 13 books to date, including the standard work on whisky brands, Scotch Whisky and the leading book on its subject, Malt Whisky, both of which were shortlisted for Glenfiddich Awards.
Whisky: A Liquid History, published in 2003 was named ‘Wine and Spirits Book of the Year’ in the James Beard Awards 2005 and ‘Best Drinks Book’ in the International Food Media Awards 2005.
MacLean’s Whisky Miscellany followed in 2004, and he was editor-in-chief of Dorling Kindersley’s Eyewitness Companion to Whisky. Whiskypedia, a key guide on Scotch whisky for experts and enthusiasts alike, was published in June 2009 with revised editions in 2014 and this year.
Charles was founding editor of Whisky Magazine in 1998 and attended launch events for the magazine throughout the UK and Europe. He still regularly contributes articles to magazines in the UK, France and China, and has written promotional materials for all the leading companies and brands.
He was trained in ‘the sensory evaluation of potable spirits’ by the Scotch Whisky Research Institute in 1992 and has presented numerous tastings and talks in the UK and abroad for whisky companies, universities, clubs, and on radio and TV. Charles has judged on the panels of wine and spirits competitions and is the chairman of the nosing panel of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
For ‘his services to Scotch over many years’, Charles was elected a Keeper of the Quaich in 1992 and was promoted to Master of the Quaich, the industry’s highest accolade, in October 2009.
Adding another string to his bow, Charles was recruited as script advisor for the Ken Loach and Paul Lafferty film The Angels’ Share in 2011 and later played the role of a ‘whisky expert’ in the award-winning film.
Charles holds degrees in Art History and Law, is a Writer to Her Majesty’s Signet, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, a Visiting Lecturer to the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, an Honorary Fellow of Massey College, University of Toronto and of Champlain College, University of Trent, and a Councillor of the Clan Maclean.