Belonging to Macdonald Greenlees, it became one of DCL’s admixed brands whereby Scotch malt whisky (or in one case Irish pot still whiskey) was blended with Canadian grain spirit in order to get round Canadian protectionist measures of the 1930’s. Sandy Macdonald, with 40% malt content, was the best of the bunch.
These brands were not sold in Britain at that time but were aimed at the lower end of the Canadian market. It may also have had a role during Prohibition.
However, as a blend Sandy Macdonald is said to date back to 1840 when it came into existence with the setting up of Alexander and Williams, as whisky merchants in Edinburgh. This eventually became Macdonald, Greenlees and Williams (Distillers) Ltd., subsequently falling to DCL ownership in 1925. The company remained a significant DCL subsidiary for many years but, along with the brand, has quietly disappeared from the market under current Diageo marketing strategies.