Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

The Sovereign Scotch Order of Whisky

The Order of Malta recently paired up with Scotland’s own Adelphi Distillery to produce two variants of Scotch, proceeds from the sale of which support the Order’s worldwide charitable efforts. Adelphi produced a single malt called ‘The Grand Master’ and a blend named ‘Torphichen’, after Torphicen Preceptory, the headquarters of the Order in Scotland until the Reformation. The last Preceptor of the Order in Scotland lamentably converted to Calvinism, surrendered the Order’s lands to the Crown (which were then re-granted to him specifically), and received the title Lord Torphichen (pronounced Tor-fikken). Unlike most peerages, that of Lord Torphichen can be inherited by any assigned heir. In practice, it has descended through the Chiefs of Clan Sandilands, but in principle the holder could decide to designate any old Tom, Dick, or Harry as the next Lord Torphichen.

This post was published on Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 3:30 pm. It has been categorised under Order of Malta Scotland.
Tim Conroy
1 Dec 2009 3:54 pm


Sounds like it should be pronounced: Lord Tor’Phuk’hem.

Just had a sup of Black Grouse – not half bad!


1 Dec 2009 8:59 pm

Tried to find some here in the US. No go.

Baron v Hetterscheidt
2 Dec 2009 5:08 am

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta stooping to trade?
Surely not.

2 Dec 2009 1:45 pm

Maybe Father M could lay his hands on some.

I’m a Laphroaig man myself – love me that peat! I wonder how the Grand Master would stack up against it.

Andrew Cusack
2 Dec 2009 2:21 pm

Robbo, Laphroaig ties with Glenmorangie as the Cusack house scotch. Sadly I’m out of both at the mo, and had to make do with Glenfiddich last night.

Andrew C.
2 Dec 2009 3:52 pm

Glenlivet, anyone? Never had the stuff myself, but I am in possession of a bottle of 21-year old. Anyone know how it stacks up against the house favorites?

2 Dec 2009 5:32 pm

If you like Laphroaig, try Llagavulin…

Fr. Stevens
2 Dec 2009 11:38 pm

The Glenlivet is very nice, and I really like Oban. Very smooth. Happy Advent.

Fr. Guy Selvester
5 Dec 2009 11:35 pm

And how do we GET it?

Father M.
7 Dec 2009 12:21 pm

Right now you can only get it in Britain. It can be imported into the U.S. but only if you buy several cases. Currently there are different groups in the U.S. associations trying to go in on cases. The British Association had a tasting in Lourdes in May and it was quite excellent. Unfortunately they didn’t bring enough ot sell. Robbo, when I get my mitts on a bottle I will call you.

In regard to the “Baron’s” comment about the Order “stooping” to trade, they have sold wine from their Italian vinyards for years and religious orders have furthered their missions to the sick and the poor by a variety of drinkable offerings since the middle ages.

Fr. Guy, missed you at the Malta Ball last month– it was a delight to be with you last year. Are you coming in for the Ballo di Savoia this weekend?

Captain Chledowski
7 Dec 2009 7:32 pm

Fr M.

Too True. I had a chance to visit Kolossi Castle in Cyprus in 2007. It was the old Commandery of the Knights in Cyprus, and one time HQ after the fall of Acre. They have made and sold a magnificent dessert wine from their grounds there for hundreds of years. You can still buy the wine, but Kolossi Castle was unfortunately seized from the Knights when the Turks invaded. So yes, the SMOM is in the business of trade.

8 Dec 2009 3:52 pm

Fr. M- You took the words out of my keyboard. The professed Knights are aristocrats, sure. But they are also poor religious brothers (and I use the word “poor” in the sense that they are bound to a vow of poverty). Supporting their own order by honest labor is hardly stooping. It is commendable, and very much in keeping with the religious life.

A daughter of Tor'phuk'hem
6 Jul 2010 11:00 am

I’d be very interested to know where you heard/read that the Torphichen title can be passed on to any old Tom, Dick or Harry, As the current Lord only has four daughters, the information might come in very handy!

I now desperately want to track down a bottle of this myself, but I have a feeling that this is one whisky that we would not be welcome to drink, despite being so closely connected… maybe that would make it taste all the better?

K. Dontoh
7 Jul 2010 10:22 am

The Glenlivet- I’ve been familiar with that one since I was about five; this being because I read a book, whose name I forget (something like “Britain as seen by the British”) , that was composed of interviews with various British people, and one worked in the Glenlivet distillery. It’s been my favorite whiskey ever since (of course, I’ve never had a drop of it, because like the man in the book, I’m a teetotaler- another word I first encountered!)
But has anyone actually tried this particular whiskey?

K. Dontoh
7 Jul 2010 10:25 am

I’d be very interested to know where you heard/read that the Torphichen title can be passed on to any old Tom, Dick or Harry, As the current Lord only has four daughters, the information might come in very handy!
Andrew Cusack, 16th Lord Torphichen?

Bruno Sandilands
16 Jan 2011 2:54 pm

A whiskey especially named after Lord Torphichen? My father would have loved this! He was the Master of Torphichen.

Randal Wonsch
15 Jan 2015 1:05 am

Having visited the Preceptory in Torphichen, I must inform you that maybe the pronunciation is what you would use but the natives in the town pronounce the name Tor-Fee-shen – the ch is soft as in Fish not Tor-Fikken.

Phil Sandilands
24 Jul 2015 7:42 pm

Would also love a bottle (or case…) of this in the US. Anyone know how we could get a group together to import it? I knwe of several Sandilands that would jump at the chance.

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