27 October 2010

Whisky Insiders Interview - Andrew Nelstrop

The English Whisky Co.

Managing Director


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
Since 2005.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Seeing queues at the distillery door for the launch of our first single malt.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
It would have been in my early 20s but I’ve not a clue what it was. I would imagine something hanging in the optics of a bar, but it definitely would not have been at all glamorous.

The first dram to really kick start my interest in whisky was given to me by a cooper. He had some new make that he had put in a red wine cask; it was a very pale pink and tasted glorious. I never did find out whose new make it was, but it was enlightening to suddenly understand that whiskies do not need to be 12yrs old and dark brown to be great to drink.

What does whisky mean to you?
Apart from being proud to own England’s only whisky distillery (soon to be joined by other’s I think), I love the muck and mystery that surrounds whisky. Does a dent in a still really change the character of the whisky?

Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
I would like to see our whisky being widely available in most countries. We will never be a bulk producer, but I would like to think that anyone who wanted a bottle could have it delivered from somewhere within their own nation.

What was your last dram?
A Jameson’s, I quite like it, which was lucky as it was the only whisky available in the pub I was in last night. This morning, I shall have to try and get them to stock English!

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
I tend to drink whisky as an after dinner drink and rarely with food.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
I have a couple of friends who are whisky nuts, they have better taste buds than I do and have tasted just about every whisky going it seems, I love sitting in the evening listening to these two discuss whether a Port Dundas or a Nikka is better. I am convinced that it will never dawn on them that every whisky is perfect, you just need to find the one you like most.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
More closures in Scotland, I Am struggling to see how the huge increase in Scotch distilling capacity, can’t result in the closure of some of the less efficient distilleries. I hope it doesn’t happen but history does tend to repeat itself. 20% vat won’t help either.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
My own obviously. English Whisky, Chapter 6.

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