How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I have been working in the whisky industry for over a decade now. My first job was as a tour guide at Glenturret distillery in 2003 where I worked seasonally whilst studying for my degree, I then moved into the industry full time when I graduated. I have always had a passion for whisky and I have been fortunate enough to turn that passion into a career.
What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
There have been numerous, but a real highlight for me is the role that I have played in launching The Macallan 1824 Series. The launch of a new range of whiskies is incredibly important to The Macallan, so to be an integral part of the team from the commencement of the project has been a great experience. In addition to that, it has given me the opportunity to travel and speak with whisky fans from all over the world, including some of my personal industry heroes.
Can you remember your first dram and indeed what it was?
My first ever dram was a Glenturret 12 year old.
What does whisky mean to you?
Whisky is a very important part of my life. My initial passion for whisky has enabled me to follow a career path that I could only have dreamed of before. One of the things that I love about whisky is that it means so many different things to different people, although its enjoyment can be a universal experience.
To me whisky represents passion, quite simply I love it and everything it represents. I enjoy the convivial nature of the drink, the way it evokes fascination and intrigue in people and the different interpretations that people take from it. Whisky has played an important role in my life, as my chosen career path, it has brought me many wonderful experiences but it has always been at the heart of my adventures so far.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
I’d like to see myself still heavily immersed in the whisky industry. In whatever role I am working in in five years I would still like to be involved in education, as I think it serves as the building blocks for an industry as interesting and surrounded in myth and legend as this one.
What was your last dram?
My last dram was actually The Macallan Gold as part of an Old Fashioned. Prior to that my last single dram was The Macallan 15 year old fine oak.
Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
My absolute favourite whisky and food pairing combination is whisky and chocolate. I find this pairing effortless and since these are two of my favourite things, it’s a no-brainer really.
I must admit that I have tried some interesting combinations to find the best complementary pairings and through trial and error have found some that I think really do work well together. Two of my favourite are The Macallan Gold paired with milk chocolate infused with toffee and The Macallan Sienna with rich dark chocolate and spicy orange.
What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
My favourite time to enjoy a dram at this time of year is in the evening sun in the beautiful Scottish countryside. I love to sit with friends and enjoy the long nights whilst looking around and appreciating that the glorious dram in my hand is a product of the country that I live in and love.
What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
I think that the whisky industry will continue to grow in the coming years and that innovation will play a major role in attracting new enthusiasts. There are many different ways to make great whisky and I think that the coming years will see the industry more open to experimentation. Innovations in the market by The Macallan and other distillers will see whisky being appreciated for its quality, character and flavour first and foremost.
What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
Right now The Macallan Sienna. It continues to surprise me with its rich character and alluring complexity. I get something new from it every time I drink it.