To most of the Scottish population 87 year old Jim McColl MBE is a national treasure, most famous as a presenter on The Beechgrove Garden television gardening programme for almost 40 years.
To whisky enthusiasts Jim McColl has an even more important role. He is the person who was in charge of the waste heat recovery project at Glen Garioch Distillery in Oldmeldrum, where, after the distillery changed to direct firing it was able to use the ‘waste’ hot water to heat a number of greenhouses and poly tunnels. At its peak the distillery produced 200 tonnes of tomatoes for sale locally.
Planning permission was granted for the innovative Glen Garioch Greenhouse Project in 1977. Jim McColl’s involvement came about from his work at the North of Scotland College of Agriculture as a horticulture adviser. The waste heat project was featured at the UK Exhibit of the World Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1982.
McColl’s increasing fame meant that his role evolved and he was invited to move to the Glasgow HQ of Morrison Bowmore Distillers Limited (the then owners of Glen Garioch) to set up a PR and customer relations division. He worked at Morrison Bowmore from 1978 to 1996.
Jim McColl remains a whisky enthusiast to this day and has enjoyed privileged access to exceptional bottles in his role as an employee and local resident of Glen Garioch Distillery. His prized collection of eight special bottles of Bowmore and Glen Garioch is available to buy in our January 2023 auction.
Just 75 bottles of Bowmore 25 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky were bottled to commemorate the Auld Alliance Reception held at Chateau Lagrange in Bordeaux on 20 June 1995. This one was presented to Jim McColl on the occasion.
This bottle of Bowmore 15 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky was released to commemorate the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988. Jim McColl worked for many years organising events, including the Glasgow Garden Festival, to promote both Morrison Bowmore and the Waste Heat Project.
Bowmore Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky was matured in sherry casks and bottled at 43% ABV in 1979 to celebrate the distillery’s bicentenary. The hand blown decanter comes with a certificate of authenticity. Jim McColl’s bottle is number 932.
A bottle of Bowmore Regius Keeper’s Choice 10 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, in a ceramic decanter with a stopper, was bottled to commemorate 100 years of the Student Gardeners’ Course at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, in 1992.
Jim McColl’s bottle of Bowmore 21 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky bottled in the 1990s.
The limited edition bottle of Bowmore 1990 Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a marriage of 39 sherry casks bottled at a natural cask strength of 53.8%.
This one is the second release in a range of three expressions from Bowmore focusing on the casks in which the whisky was matured.
Jim McColl’s bottle of Glen Garioch 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky was bottled to celebrate the bicentenary of the distillery in 1997.
Glen Garioch 1797 Founder’s Reserve Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky was bottled at 48% ABV in 2010 as a limited edition of 125 bottles to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Oldmeldrum Golf Club.