10 March 2011

Whisky Insiders Interview - Eddie Ludlow

The Whisky Lounge



How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
Nearly 15 years. Doesn’t sound long compared to the big boys, but then I'm only 38.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Setting up the bigger events, like the first Newcastle, York and Manchester Whisky Festivals. Being a judge on the IWSC spirits panel is a privilege and a hoot too! I still get a buzz out of tastings for a handful, and still enjoy the thrill of discovering a new whisky or bottling.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
My memory is appalling (just ask my wife) so this is really tough. I can maybe remember one or two of the first drams that really moved me. The old Springbank 21 and The Macallan Gran Reserva.

What does whisky mean to you?
A lot. I love it but I love my family more. Seriously, there do seem to be people out there who seem to think that there is nothing else in life. Advice? Get one.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
Sane and still driven.

What was your last dram?
Can’t remember if it was a Balvenie Port Wood or a Berry’s Caol Ila. Either one is a winner, although I’d love to try a NCF version of the Balvenie. (Cue my friends at Grants/First Drinks rolling their eyes!)

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
Glenmorangie Astar with Crème Brulee. Very young, heavily-peated malt goes really well with dark chocolate too.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
With friends or with folks who know a good thing when they taste it. Actually scratch the thing about friends as I have one or two who really have no idea when it comes to whisky and wind me up by putting Coke in it!

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
A Johnnie Walker sponsored Titanic replica? There’s a thought. I think distilleries experimenting further with different peating levels as we’ve seen a bit of already, possibly different yeasts as in some Bourbons. I think there is still a lot of mileage in maturation and there are still plenty of distillers who need to jump on this bandwagon. More Indie bottlers maybe too.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
Unfair. I (and you, and others reading this) have tried so many things and been ‘touched’ many times, but to narrow it down to one whisky is impossible. Probably Ardbeg 1974 Provenance to be honest. There is something about those 70s Ardbegs and particularly the 74’s. I hate to be the one to perpetuate this, but it is true and I defy anyone to argue otherwise.

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