DISTILLERS, which under the Guinness enthusiasm for more powerful

marketing, has been pushing Scotch whisky as the

ultra-swank drink of the developed world, has plans for special sales

events of ''limited editions'' of its rarer malts. The Diary hears that

these events have been fully subscribed for the next 10 years, such are

the appetites of the cognoscenti. There will be de luxe drams for those

prepared to pay extraordinary sums.

The company matures the supreme malts in casks until the best bottling

time for each.

I shall not be bursting forth to purchase Royal Lochnagar (not for the

''limited editions'' I understand) even though I know where it can be

purchased for just over #100 a bottle.

Incidentally, a cask of Royal Lochnagar, distilled in a small place

close by Balmoral Castle, is maturing there specifically for Prince

Charles. It is to be delivered to him in the year 2000, when it will be

12 years old, to be auctioned for his favourite charity.

Another cask of it, to be un-bunged in the same year, is more

mysteriously for ''The City of Glasgow'', I'm told. Whether this is to

celebrate the millennium or the conclusion of the Elspeth King tirravee

by then is not known.

Bookies by degree

A DIPLOMA course for bookies? Who would have laid odds on such an

innovation a few years ago?

The trade, of course, has been improving its premises, facilities and

quality of personnel in that time and now William Hill (Scotland) is

submitting 12 of its betting shop managers for a special course which it

has arranged with Napier College, Edinburgh. Actually, if they succeed,

they gain an award that is academically rated as somewhere between a

diploma and a degree.

Each student (a few of them already have university degrees) will

spend about 12 months under the tutelage of staff at Napier. Another six

months will be devoted to providing a form of thesis. Most of the study

will be done at home (a minimum 300 hours of it) while they are still

working but they will be required to undergo 12 days of tutorials in the

college itself.

After scanning the learning package, which they will receive at home

every two or three weeks, they complete an ''assessment module'' and

return it to a tutor there, who marks it and feeds back the result.

Retail management is the vocational name of the game. Part of the

exercise is transforming, in one enormous case study, J. Smith Domestic

Electricals into a bigger outfit called Supascreen.

The course begins in Napier on June 26 when Hill's regional manager,

Liam McGuigan, will give an inaugural talk to the pioneering 12, who

were chosen from a list of 80 applicants.

What odds they all stick it out to the end? Or could there be an

objection lodged by some of the wives of the married ones?

A wing and a prayer

THAT liberal-spending, much-travelled couple, Vera and Gerald

Weisfeld, who in less than 20 years built their empire of low-price

clothing stores, What Everyone Wants, to the point where Amber Day

thought it worthwhile to pay #48m for it last week, came to their

decision as a result of a mishap in an airliner some time ago.

An engine on the plane on which they were travelling exploded shortly

after take-off from Rio de Janeiro. Passengers prayed. The pilot managed

to land it safely. The Weisfelds, both in their 50s, disembarked with

mutual thanksgiving and determination that in their remaining years they

would enjoy life to the full.

Returning home, they later asked Angus Grossart of bankers Noble

Grossart to scout the market for potential buyers of WEW.

Mrs Weisfeld intends to devote more time to her charitable works.

Accounts in shreds?

OOPS. Less careful readers of the prospectus for the recent Rangers'

#8.5m bond issue may have missed the reference on Page 15 to two years'

missing audit papers. Present auditors Grant Thornton, as part of their

accountants' report, point out that previous auditors, Alexander Sloan &

Co., ''were unable to locate the audit working papers for the two years

ended 31st May 1986''.

These particular accounts, covering a period before David Murray

bought control of the club, were qualified because Rangers did not

charge depreciation on certain heritable properties, in accordance with

an accounting rule known as SSAP12. What about these Ibrox losses? one


The Grant Thornton letter continues: ''It has not been practicable for

us to carry out sufficient retrospective procedures to form a view on

the losses for the two years.'' What can have happened to the Sloan

papers? Surely not the skip or the shredder?

Ian Murgitroyd, the chartered patent agent featured on this page

recently, had an altogether happier encounter with a skip. His library

boasts a complete run of the Trade Marks Journal, running right back to

the first trade mark ever registered in this country, the red Bass

triangle, recorded in 1876 and still in use today.

And how did Murgitroyd come by this valuable resource? A relation was

doing some research in the Mitchell Library and saw staff about to dump

the lot -- a duplicate set from the defunct Stirling commercial library

-- in a skip. Some swift negotiations and a few hundred pounds later,

and the set was his. Anyone been offered some secondhand Rangers audit


Profit from loss

AMID the national wake, the weeping and gnashing of teeth that

followed Scotland's 1-0 defeat by Costa Rica in the World Cup, two chaps

in Edinburgh were smiling. In a typically jazzy Christmas card last

year, Michael Kelly Associates of Glasgow invited all recipients to

partake of free entry in a competition to become a ''half-millionaire''

-- in Italian lire -- by predicting the correct score in that game. More

than 1000 entries were submitted.

Two executives of Cala Properties shared the prize; in other words,

#125 each. They were Stewart Mackay, MD of the company's Scottish

section, and Robert Miller, its land planning director.

Did they consider they were being unpatriotic when they plumped for

Costa Rica? Robert said: ''I'm an Irishman and, looking at the way

Scotland were playing . . . etc., etc. Anyway, we both thought that

nearly everybody else would be selecting Scotland to win by a

comfortable score and should go for a long shot.''

Property men are demons for making money, even in their spare time.

Designs in a name

''RUMJUMS'', as they are known among the architectural set in

Scotland, have won the contract for the prestigious new factory for

Motorola, the US communications and electronics giant at Easter Inch,

between Bathgate and Livingston. I refer, of course, to Robert Matthew,

Johnson-Marshall & Partners, architects of Edinburgh, the Middle East

and other parts.

Motorola, who will be making the latest portable phones and other

hardware there, are aware of the need, after hard negotiating to secure

permission to build on a good, greenfield site, far removed from East

Kilbride, to get a high-class and aesthetically pleasing architectural

job performed on it.

The commission, I believe, is particularly welcome at this time for

''RUMJUMS'', who in the past have had considerable experience in

hospital and industrial design. The firm has experienced some

difficulties at its Edinburgh headquarters and been compelled to prune


Bags of passion

SIR GORDON MANZIE has resumed his acquaintanceship with Glasgow, where

he once spent time as a senior civil servant, trying to build up

Scottish industry. He has become a non-executive director of Altnacraig

Shipping, the successful BES company started by Ross Belch, former boss

of Scott Lithgow.

Fairly recently, Sir Gordon retired as chief executive of the

Government's Property Services Agency (PSA). Before that he was regional

director of the Department of Trade and Industry in Scotland until its

functions were taken over by the Scottish Office whereupon he became an

Under-Secretary there. He's well-known and respected in industrial

circles in the west.

Truth to tell, however, he remains an Edinburgh man through and

through. He took a close interest in his old alma mater, the Royal High

School, for many years. Such a dedicated supporter of Scotland's rugby

team is he (regularly he once travelled from Whitehall to attend home

games at Murrayfield) that I suspect he will be one of us getting up in

the dark to watch it on television against New Zealand. After today I

hope he is not liable to appear baggy-eyed at the next Altnacraig board


Plane with no cheer

BRITISH Midland seems at present to be making money from the recently

reintroduced charter flights between Glasgow and Pisa in Italy, partly

due, of course, to the World Cup.

Late last Saturday night a contingent of Scottish supporters, jocular

but well-behaved, disembarked at Pisa en route to Genoa and its

precincts. Passengers, mostly holidaymakers and Italian expatriates,

took their seats on the same aircraft for the return journey.

As aperitif time approached, a BM stewardess explained to a few in the

forward section that because of the drouths of the outward-bound Scots

there was no water, ice or lemon and the catering services at Pisa could

not replenish them at that time of night. There were a few other

shortages, too.

An elegant, blonde lady, sitting in the row behind, inquired: ''But

you've got enough fuel, all right?''