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The Demeter Whisky Collection Heads to Auction

The auction is the first dedicated to women’s contributions to whisky.

By Kim Ayling

OurWhisky Foundation, the world’s first non-profit dedicated to championing the work of women in the sector, has sent its inaugural collection to auction, offering a series of rare spirits – all of which were created by women.

Named The Demeter Collection (named after the goddess of grain) and hosted by Whisky Auctioneer, the online auction features a total of 18 lots. Many of these spirits are one of a kind and all of them uniquely showcase the meticulous craft that whisky-making requires. All funds raised – including buyer’s fees – will directly benefit the OurWhisky Foundation. 

Included in the line up is The Long View from House of Hazelwood, an exclusive 31 Year Old blend bottled by blender Eilidh Muir; the one-of-a-kind Ardbeg Twenty, which was matured in a mix of first-fill oloroso and ex-bourbon casks, and marks the first Ardbeg bottling to bear master blender Gillian MacDonald’s name; and the one-off Gordon & MacPhail CRN57, a rare 57 Year Old blended malt created by The Cairn distillery manager, Mhairi Winters, and spirit quality manager, Lizzie Haw.

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Becky Paskin ourwhisky foundation founder
OurWhisky Foundation was founded by drinks writer Becky Paskin / ©OurWhisky Foundation

Founded in 2022 by drinks journalist Becky Paskin, the OurWhisky Foundation was built with the aim of creating a more inclusive and diverse industry, with a strong focus on uplifting the voices of women in whisky making. 

The organization’s avenues are varied, ranging from diversity consultancy to change-making surveys and reports – the most significant of which was the Do You Even Like Whisky? report which surveyed over 600 women in the industry. The findings highlighted a widely-known but largely undocumented level of sexism: More than 80% of respondents said they had been asked by both colleagues and consumers if they even like the spirit, and 89% agreed that consumers still widely perceive whisky to be a man’s drink.

OurWhisky also offers a mentorship program to female and non-binary whisky industry hopefuls and has so far connected 175 individuals with some of the most prominent figures in the sector, with the aim of eventually securing promotions and employment.

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ncnean whisky
A bottle of Nc’nean Aon, made by founder Annabel Thomas, is included in the auction / ©OurWhisky Foundation

“Despite her important role within Greek mythology, Demeter remains one of the lesser known of the Olympians, her story largely untold in popular culture,” said Paskin. “Yet her heroic tale of overcoming obstacles to support her daughter, all while sharing her knowledge and wisdom with others, embodies many similar values as the OurWhisky Foundation.”

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“Just like Demeter’s sidelining in pop culture, women’s contributions to whisky have been vastly under-recognized. Through the Demeter Collection, we want to honor the grain goddess and tell the untold stories of women in whisky, while raising much-needed funds to enable the OurWhisky Foundation to support, recognize and empower future generations of women in the industry.”

“Historically, our industry has lacked diversity, and that’s something we’re determined to change,” added Joe Wilson, head curator at Whisky Auctioneer. “To that end, we have been delighted to witness the incredible achievements of The OurWhisky Foundation and are thrilled to host this auction and shine a spotlight on the stories of women within our industry.”

[See also: The Macallan Marks 200th Anniversary with 1949 Scotch]

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