Tiny Blackness distillery can call their new spirit Mary Queen of Scotch

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A brand new craft distillery has won permission to call the malt it will produce Mary Queen of Scotch after initially being turned down by the Trade Marks Registry.

The copyright watchdog rejected Blackness Bay Distillery’s application to use the name as it feared it would not be authentic Scotch whisky while the title would not respect the famous queen.

But a spirited defence from Blackness Bay Distillery’s owner, Colm O’Rourke, who assured the trademark office that the name would “not be used in a disrespectful or unauthentic way” led to a change of heart.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In a letter pleading his case, Mr O’Rourke explained that the spirit produced would indeed be genuine Scotch Whisky – and explained the connection with Mary Queen of Scots.

The owners of Blackness Bay Distillery are being allowed to name their new spirit Mary Queen of Scotch.. Pic: ContributedThe owners of Blackness Bay Distillery are being allowed to name their new spirit Mary Queen of Scotch.. Pic: Contributed
The owners of Blackness Bay Distillery are being allowed to name their new spirit Mary Queen of Scotch.. Pic: Contributed

The picturesque village of Blackness, on the Firth of Forth, is just five miles from the historic Linlithgow Palace, where the ill-fated monarch was born and lived for several years.

Mr O’Rourke, who is also the landlord of the village pub The Lobster Pot, also convinced the trademark office that the distillery is “fully licensed and certified by HMCR” and will be the genuine article.

Mr O’Rourke and his wife Sheena have both spent 18 months learning the art of distilling and are now in the process of producing a single malt whisky, made in traditional twin copper pot stills.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It will have to mature for three years and a day before it can be called whisky, which means it will be another two years before Mary Queen of Scotch is ready for the shelves.

The distillery was recently granted a licence by Falkirk Council to begin tasting tours, which they hope will attract some of the 50,000 visitors who come every year to visit the famous Blackness Castle, well known as Fort William in the television series ‘Outlander’.

Defending the choice of name, Mr O’Rourke said: “We believe that the name Mary Queen of Scotch would have an appropriate and significant benefit for our product and its popularity with tourists.”

And while few people would use the word Scotch now to describe the people of Scotland, Mr O’Rourke’s research revealed it was commonly used in the past.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “We understand that the use of the word Scotch for whisky became widespread when it became popular in America and a corresponding decline in the use of the word Scotch to describe Scottish people was encouraged by the churches and temperance lobby.

“Burns himself made many references to ‘Scotch people’.”

To Mr and Mrs O’Rourke’s delight the trade mark application has been accepted and published.

If there are no objections within two months, it will be successfully registered.