27 February 2012

Whisky Insiders Interview - Daryl Haldane

Highland Park

Global Brand Advocate


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I started as a bartender when I was 19, my first ever cocktail competition was with whisky up at Drammuir Castle. I’m 27 now so around 7 years.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Getting the Highland Park role is definitely my biggest highlight.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
This is an honest answer ‘100% coincidence’ The irony is that it was actually Highland Park 12 year old. I was in the White Heart in the Grassmarket, Edinburgh and it complimented my bowl nachos with extra salsa. I was 19 and on a date, the date was terrible but the whisky was memorable.

What does whisky mean to you?
Being from Fife we have always been brought up around whisky. It’s a part of life from births to marriages, stag nights to weddings, burns night and of course funerals.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
In a Hollywood movie doing a whisky tasting and winning an Oscar for it would be pretty amazing!

What was your last dram?
I was at the in-laws on Sunday and they cracked open a bottle of Talisker 10 year old. So I had to have a splash.

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
I love ice cream. Pistachio ice cream and whisky are great, anything with a good American Oak content works for me.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
Surrounded by friends and family. But sometimes it’s great if there is a language barrier. You just nose, drink, nod, smile and it seems to make you a lot of friends. I don’t know of anything in this world that has this power…beach volleyball?

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
Cocktails have been bubbling away nicely but people are still scared to mix whisky at home and feel they need to conform to some unknown whisky drinking law that pre dates dinosaurs.

Mad Men changed this a bit so I think whisky cocktails will be featuring more as consumers become more aware of what can be done with whisky. I think grain whisky is another interesting proposition.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
Generally I really enjoy the American Oak influenced whiskies. I am besotted with Highland Park 21 year old but I am torn with the release of Thor. It has that American Oak influence but with more smouldering Orcadian smoke. I’ll go for Thor.

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