By their very name, secret societies inspire curiosity, fascination and distrust. Societies that are steeped in age, rituals and curious customs that (seemingly) have no meaning to any outsider!
Instant recall halts at names like the Freemasons and Order of The Orange Lodge, etc. These Order(s) are just some of many secret societies that still exist today. Although the popularity of these secret clubs peaked in the 18th and 19th Centuries, some of them have succeeded and also thrived.
Many of these societies continue to serve as safe spaces for open dialogue about everything, from academia to religious discourse, removed from the restrictive eye of the state and religious order of the land.
While The Da Vinci Code novelist Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling and closer home, Amish Tripathi and their contemporaries have shone a light upon some of the bigger secret fraternal organisations – aka the Order of Skull and Bones, Freemasons, Rosicrucians , Illuminati, etc. – there are still other, less-known groups that have compelling stories of their own.
The Keeper of the Quaich is one such beautiful story especially for the whisky cognoscenti. KOTQ is an exclusive and international society that recognises those that have shown outstanding commitment to the Scotch whisky industry.
Founded in the 1980s by leading distillers, with an India chapter that’s less than a year old, the KOTQ has a motto, “Uisgebeatha Gu Brath (Water of Life, Forever)”. The society engages in the promotion of Scotch whisky, both with patrons, as well as with the hands that hold the rein to create opportunities for its member organisations.
The KOTQ derives a part of its name from The Quaich, a shallow bowl with two or more handles, which originated in the Scottish Highlands many centuries ago. Its historical use has been as an instrument in hospitality ceremonies, such as welcoming or saying goodbye to friends, and is thus also sometimes referred to as the “cup of friendship” or “loving cup”.
Drinking from a Quaich is a symbol of trust, friendship and love, especially among warring clans in olden Scottish days, akin to the Native Indian-American pipe!
The Indian chapter of the KOTQ has been quite busy over the last few years. Last year world-wide Scotch sales climb – the number of 700-ml Scotch bottles exports hit record levels, growing to the equivalent of $1.28 billion, up by 3.6% over the previous year.
The Indian market was among the top three in terms of volume, with 112.6 million bottles sold in 2018. A lot of it has to do with the efforts of the KOTQ.
In the words of Mr Peter Prentice, Chairman of the Society and Global Director of VIP relationships at Chivas Brothers, “with India well on course to becoming the world’s leading Scotch whisky market, the Indian chapter is a veritable jewel in the society’s crown.”
While secret societies keep their work under wraps, the KOTQ comprises of dedicated and passionate people around the world who are proud to be part of a select society dedicated to achieving greater appreciation of the magnificent spirit.
The work of the India chapter is showing off in the upsurge of Scotch whisky popularity in the country. “With so many whisky enthusiasts in India, I know the KOTQ has a great future,” said The Duke of Argyll, who is Patron of the society!
Their great job in the making is showing up on the racks of leading bars across the country!