23 May 2011

Whisky Insiders Interview - Doug McIvor

Berry Bros & Rudd

Spirits Manager


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I began working with Milroy’s in Soho, London in 1990. I had worked in the wine trade for a few years but always had a special love for single malt whisky. In those days Milroy’s was half wine and half whisky. I was actually employed as a wine salesman so you can imagine my delight to end up working with whisky. By the time I left in 2000 the shop was selling almost exclusively whisky.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Working for Berry Bros has been fantastic as the ethos is quality driven and the resources are there to invest in great spirits. I suppose that winning the World Whiskies Awards prize for Blue Hanger Blended Malt on two concurrent occasions and also the Independent Bottlers’ Challenge for the last two years have been the biggest highlights.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
I’m supposed to be politically correct here as we try to encourage responsible drinking but it was actually Teachers when I was six years old. I was giving a Dave Allen impersonation to the grown ups at a party and insisted on having a lit cigarette in one hand and a glass of whisky in the other. To complete the act I took a drag of the cigarette, knocked back the whisky and ran like hell.

What does whisky mean to you?
It’s a dear friend and not everyone gets the chance to work in a creative way with the world’s finest spirit. The flavour range is amazing and with each sample I nose and taste I discover something new. Also, I’ve made a lot of great mates throughout the whisky world.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
I very much enjoy what I do now so more of the same please! As long as I’m keeping the quality high and seeing more people enjoying Berrys’ whiskies I’ll be happy.

What was your last dram?
I enjoyed The Glenrothes 1995 with colleagues in Hix in Soho last night. I love the wood integration and teasing character of The Glenrothes. First class Speyside malt and yes, BB&R own the brand.

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
I tried a Berrys’ Own Selection 1971 Invergordon single grain with fresh parmesan and that was a revelation. The two entities combined and just exploded on the palate.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
Late night at home with some Pink Floyd.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
When one of the emerging economies, such as China, really falls in love with whisky the boom could be massive. It’s just a matter of time.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
A Caol Ila!

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