30 May 2011

Whisky Insiders Interview - Ludo Ducrocq

William Grant & Sons

Grant's Global Ambassador


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I started working as a Distillery Tour Guide in Dufftown in 2000, became Senior Tour Guide in 2002, Global Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich in 2004 and I joined our blended whisky team in 2009.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Like many of my industry counterparts, I have met celebrities, top politicians and military heads, been invited to judge whisky competitions, been involved in the selection or blending process of some of our whiskies and interviewed on live TV. But I never feel better than when esteemed colleagues ask for my opinion or advice – be them our Master Blenders, marketers or the owners of the company themselves.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
I wish I could as I am often asked this question. I was brought up in the largest whisky market in the world and I remember regularly drinking whisky with my friends in France. However, our selections were mostly motivated by price. The first brand I remember enjoying with my dad was Lagavulin.

What does whisky mean to you?
Whisky has given me an enjoyable and rewarding career, introduced new friends and been by my side on important personal events. Best of all, I met my wife on my first distillery tour. I also have other passions such as football, Formula 1, astronomy and of course, my family.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
Like many whisky enthusiasts, I would like to own a distillery or blend my own whisky. If a bank is reading this, please get in touch.

What was your last dram?
The Belgian Owl. I was given a bottle by my friend Etienne, who owns this distillery in Belgium, a few months ago but only just got round to opening it at home. It’s sweet and creamy – lovely!

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
I prefer whisky on its own but whisky and food pairing events can be a lot of fun. I would find it difficult to turn down an evening involving Grant’s and sushi, chocolate, cheese or desserts.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
Before lunch in a nosing glass in our blending room if I need to write nosing and tasting notes. After dinner at home in a heavy tumbler if I am relaxing. I also love drinking whisky outside, in the open air – I get so much more out of a dram then.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
Irish whiskey. The challenge for small Scotch whisky producers is to expand without becoming mainstream. They need to remain small to appeal to connoisseurs but also need to become more mainstream to appeal to the majority of whisky drinkers and build a sustainable business.

As they become more mainstream, they have to compete with a large number of well-established brands. The niche and mainstream Irish whiskey categories are a lot less competitive and they are seeing impressive growth.

Of course, Scotch whisky will also continue to grow especially as new markets open up, we are still only scratching the surface in China and India.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
I honestly don’t think there is one but I can’t remember running out of whisky in my house.

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