On Jun 14, 1825 John McMurray (b. 1765), his wife Jane, and three of their children: sons Henry and Hutchinson and daughter Esther landed in New York harbor having emigrated to the United States from county Armagh, Ulster, Ireland. From there begins the story of the McMurray family which begat KOTQers Bob, Jay, Chas (Mary), Mark, and John.

The names are known to 1765 with John to Henry to Peter to John Albert to John Kenneth but the story of the broad McMurray clan goes back much further…into their native land: Scotland.

The McMurrays are originally from Moray a village in the Speyside district meaning ‘seafarer‘. The McMurrays were the ‘sons of the seafarer’ and our tasting lineup will follow their historical migration from the failed rebellion of 1160, and the impact its aftermath had on the McMurrays, to the plantation of Ulster in 1608 and the Scottish famine of 1695-1699. All of these events would combine to bring the McMurrays to Ulster, Ireland from where John and Jane would embark to their new world.

We’ll start our journey at the beginning in the village of Moray,

* Glen Moray 12 (Distillery bottling)

explore the general Morayshire area a bit,

* Glen Elgin 12 (Duncan Taylor Whisky Galore bottling)
* Longmorn 16 (Distillery bottling)
* Glen Grant 21 (Gordon MacPhail)

we’ll then move down to the remote district of Galloway deep in the Scottish Lowlands for,

* Bladnoch 12 (Signatory bottling)

whose owner, Raymond Armstong, fittingly comes to Galloway from Northern Ireland.

Given the relationship of the local peoples to their distillery histories and output it is not a stretch to say that Glen Moray (pronounced “Murray” in Gaelic), is the spirit distilled to relect the local peoples of Moray and clan Murray making this the “McMurray family single malt scotch”. Likewise Glen Grant and clan Grant which has a direct connection to our McMurray family tree as, in fact, Peter Kilpatrick McMurray’s (1850-1930) maternal grandmother was a Grant (Mary Grant). So, two single malts in this tasting have a direct, personal connection to the McMurrays.

As an additional tasting element bonus, two of the five single malts are un-chillfiltered (the Bladnoch and the Longmorn) giving the group an opportunity to explore the effect this technique may have on the finished product.

Further recommended ‘reading’ for those seeking to see this journey to its completion (to be completed on individual’s time):

– Northern Ireland’s single malt whiskey ‘Bushmills’
– Kentucky’s ‘Maker’s Mark’ (Pennsylvania’s Whiskey Rebellion, which was quite near where Henry eventuallys settles albeit 45 years later, led directly to the formation of the present-day bourbon industry in Kentucky)