John & Robert Harvey start their whisky journey - founding and operating the Yorker (Yoker) and Dundashill distilleries in Glasgow.
Then in 1881 future generations of the family established Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay (John, Robert and William Harvey) which was run by William Harvey until a fire in 1934 and his death in 1936.
In 1815, during the reign of King George III, Lord Byron married Seaham Hall owner’s daughter, Lady Annabella Milbanke. In celebration of his wedding and in the knowledge of his royal friend’s preference, Lord Byron gifted a cask of scotch whisky, thought to be SPEY Single Malt, to King George III.
The recent tracing of this cask to Kew Palace opened new SPEY connections. Based on this history the relationship with two Royal Charities commenced.
It was in 1856 that Harvey’s finalised the “Harvey’s codex” – which was designed as a family only known recipe for exactly how the whisky was malted and distilled, how the Highland water was chosen as well as the critical wood / casks selection to be used for the maturing of SPEY and also the Harvey’s brand of Scotch whisky.
In difficult years the Harvey family distilleries are sold on. Alex Harvey and members of the family remain in the industry in various capacities, including as traders and exporters with their focus on the Harvey’s Codex standards of distilling, production, branding and bottling Scotch Whisky.
The focus that Harvey’s put onto the quality of the whisky and the bottle presentation paid excellent dividends especially during the 1920’s US Prohibition Era years when Alec Harvey (9th generation), storing and exporting the whisky from Seaham Hall in North East England (intriguingly where Lord Byron got married), developed a lucrative business in Chicago and New York in the USA, with customers, Belle Livingstone, Owney Madden and the criminal set including Al Capone and George Remus amongst others. SPEY became the illegal secret that could not be talked of... only discovered. Owney Madden (Cotton Club) and Belle Livingstone (Country Club) both ran exclusive and private membership-only clubs that offered their clients luxury and barely clandestine evenings of pure pleasure.
Alec's only child, his daughter Doreen married John McDonough in 1955 and a year later they had their first child, also called John and then in 1961 their daughter Linda. Inspired by his grandfather's entrepreneurial spirit and successful foray into whisky trading, John Harvey Jnr. (11th generation) began a long career with Grand Metropolitan-International Distillers and Vintners, eventually relocating to Taiwan before reverting back to the family Scotch Whisky business.
John relaunched SPEY in his adopted home, together with Taiwanese colleagues, building it to the No.3 malt brand in a few short years. Then in 2012, John Harvey McDonough realised his grandfather’s dream of returning to distilling, when Harvey’s bought Speyside Distillery Company Limited, operating the beautiful Speyside Distillery.
The acquisition will safe-guard the supply of SPEY Whisky, this truly exquisite single malt, for generations to come, making Alec Harvey very happy indeed - in the company of the heavenly angels!