5 February 2011

Whisky Insiders Interview - Chris Morris

Woodford Reserve

Master Distiller


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I have been working in the industry for 35 years this May.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
I have been fortunate to have had a great many highlights so choosing one is a difficult task. However being named Brown-Forman’s Master Distiller back in 2004 would have to trump them all.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
My first dram would have been a sip of Old Forester. My mother seemed to always have a glass of it sitting on the kitchen counter when she was fixing dinner. We had a little ritual going , as I would go through the kitchen while she was cooking I would ask for a sip, only one, and she would let me take one.

What does whisky mean to you?
Whiskey stands for a couple of things in my book. On a large scale it represents a Scotch-Irish-Scots Irish culture that spans the Atlantic Ocean. Here in Kentucky it represents a part of our state’s history, culture and society. It also represents mankind’s ability to create something wonderful out of basic, non-descript ingredients. And that creation, whiskey, is crafted for people to enjoy. Whiskey is meant to enhance the lives of everyday folk.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
I would like to be right where I’m at in 5 years time. Every day is a challenge when one is working with a brand like Woodford Reserve. The dramatic growth of the core brand and demand for the Woodford Reserve Masters Collection keeps me energized and requires that I keep learning “on the job”.

What was your last dram?
Woodford Reserve on the rocks.

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
I really enjoy sipping a glass of Woodford Reserve neat accompanied by a cheese and cracker selection. The salty cheese profile really accentuates the smooth, rich character that makes Woodford Reserve so special.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
My favorite time and place for a dram is when I am out with friends or colleagues at a nice bar or restaurant.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
I wish that we could foresee future trends but I believe the next “big thing” on the whiskey horizon will be a return to classics. The industry will go through a period of experimentation and innovation but in the end the great brands and tastes that are our foundation will win out.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
Woodford Reserve on the rocks.

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