9 September 2011

Whisky Insiders Interview - John Glaser

Compass Box Whisky Co.

Founder & Whisky Maker


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
Since 1994. Prior to that I worked in the wine industry.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
So many great moments. How about this one: Sharing my whiskies with Olivier Leflaive and his staff at his winery in Puligny Montrachet on a beautiful sunny autumn day several years ago. My two passions merging.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
No, but I can remember the one that moved me the most. Drinking Talisker from a 2L glass sample tube direct from the cask at the distillery on a freezing morning in January 1995. After that, I knew I’d be in the whisky business forever.

What does whisky mean to you?
For me, it’s what my life centres around. It’s a calling, it’s a craft, it’s something that represents an appreciation of the truly fine things life has to offer; also, as it’s a business, it is rewarding intellectually when you achieve business success.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
Inside a warehouse in Scotland sampling whiskies we have laid down from day one into our own, quite special casks.

What was your last dram?
A cask strength sample of our 'Oak Cross' vatted malt that has been resting in an experimental cask for the five of its 15 years. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. I wish we had 100 casks like this, instead of just one.

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
I love drinking whiskies with great cheeses.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
Tough question, there are so many appropriate times and places.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
It’s already upon us, the multitude of small whisky distillers popping up in every corner of the globe. This movement, or revolution, if you like, unprecedented in history, will evolve whisky ever more rapidly in the coming decades.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
Asyla. But ask me next year, these things change; whisky is ever changing as are our tastes, which is why whisky is so rewarding.

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