3 May 2013

Whisky Insiders Interview - Stewart Laing

Hunter Laing & Company

Company Director


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I first entered the whisky business in 1963 when I was a Commercial Apprentice at George Ballantine and Sons in Dumbarton. I remember my first wage was £5.00 per week and I thought I was King of the World.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
My biggest highlight to date is actually two occasions. The first being presented to HM The Queen at Buckingham Palace having won the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement and the second being the current situation I find myself in being able to work with my two sons Scott and Andrew for the first time at Hunter Laing & Co. Ltd.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
I well remember the first whisky I tasted. I had seen my father do tastings both commercially and indeed at home and he let me try a single malt that he was looking at. It was a North Port and I really, really liked it.

What does whisky mean to you?
Whisky has always been in my life. Indeed my father was in the whisky business when I was born and whisky has accompanied me all the way through to the great age that I now am.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
The answer is basically “alive”, alive and kicking and still working with my sons.

What was your last dram?
I had the pleasure last week of tasting one of our new Old Malt Cask releases and it was a lovely Caperdonich 1984.

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
I have always been very partial to smoked salmon with pepper and a nice blend. A wonderful combination!

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
Any blend along with good company and generally in the evening.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
That is a really tough question but in a relatively small way I foresee a growth in the sale and enjoyment of aged single grain Scotch whisky.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
To be honest I really do not know. There is such a wonderful selection of truly wonderful malts, that if one I really liked was not available I truly believe I would find another.

Many thanks to Stewart Laing. Who will be the next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!